The release of the much-anticipated Xbox One was undoubtedly a highlight of this year's E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), which was the first in years to create substantial excitement in the industry. Sony's PS4 was also unveiled at the conference. The two devices, which are in competition with each other for the unofficial title of the Next Big Thing in the electronics world, represent major enhancements to the gaming industry and focus heavily on increasing the socialization of each platform through gaming and content experiences. Both have improved on game quality, video application expansion, and improved measurement.
I was among the first to test out the newest device from Sony, the PS4, which is being marketed as a gamer's best friend. From a marketer's standpoint, the PS4 offers an opportunity to impact both teen and adult gamers with immersive and relevant ad experiences. PS4 is priced at $399 -- $100 less than the Xbox One. And President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Jack Tretton, said that the company is "focused on delivering what gamers want most without imposing restrictions or devaluing their PS4 purchases."
But most of the hype this year was centered on Microsoft's latest brainchild, the Xbox One, which is set to become the new all-in-one living room device. The new and improved Xbox features seamless integration with cable feeds and a strong focus on socializing TV experiences. It seems that Xbox intends to capitalize on the "cord-cutting" movement which is currently in flux. A growing number of consumers are ditching set-top boxes for cable feeds and turning to gaming consoles or similar devices for their TV data, and Xbox will certainly stand to benefit from that.
And now that Xbox is expecting to be the center of livings rooms around the world, they expect to cater to a larger demographic -- more families, people over the age of 35, and of course, TV junkies.
But will the Xbox One really change the way consumers watch TV? Probably not. Cable companies are a roadblock that prevents devices such as an Xbox One, Apple TV, or Roku from taking over the television market. Cable providers will need to be sold on why they should use these new technologies rather than traditional set-top boxes to supply consumers with the signals they need to view TV. That said, these new devices are proliferating the content space and both the PS4 and Xbox provide multiple opportunities for advertisers and marketers.
Xbox continues to offer a strong and growing platform that has piqued the interest of content developers as a result of Xbox One's new living room features. Marketers should test and learn in advance of what may be exclusive, high-price-tag opportunities in the future. PS4 provides an opportunity to impact both teen and adult gamers with immersive and relevant ad experiences that meet the needs of this user base. If looking to reach this emerging audience, PlayStation is a recommended buy alongside Xbox. I get the sense that both PlayStation and Xbox are making major strides in measurement and content relationships that will expand gaming console's inclusion as part of the media mix for innovative advertisers.
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