Sony’s advertising machine leaves something to be desired

The Last of Us, Naughty Dog, Sac City GamerThe PlayStation brand hosts a bevy of first-party studios and exclusive properties that give its systems a wide array of diversity.

2013 has already seen the reintroduction of one of its most popular icons, Sly Cooper in a new title, and it received a respectable critical evaluation from most outlets.

But did you even know it came out? Because its publisher didn’t seem to know.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time didn’t so much land into the marketplace as much as it was unceremoniously tossed out on its face. The main reaction among gamers hearing the news of its release was,”Holy crap, it’s out?”

To be fair, not all of Sony’s first-party games have received zero advertising. Most of them just have bad advertising. For example, have you seen the PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale television trailer?

Does this communicate a Smash Bros-type fighting game centered around four player cooperative gameplay that is viably fun online or on the couch? No! It tells you everyone hates some big bald guy with a huge sword and feathery wings.

And their misuse of live-action trailers doesn’t end there. Have you seen the latest trailer for the upcoming God of War: Ascension?

This trailer also shows nothing of the actual game, instead alluding to an emotional tale of loss and regret that turns into rage, but no gameplay. Unassuming potential customers will have no idea what this game is even about; they just a see young girl turn into ash that grafts onto this buff dude who looks strangely similar to the guy in that one ad with that thing made of yarn.

Obviously, the entrenched fans of these series and characters will know who and what these characters and games are, but that does not include every fan. Readers of IGN, Polygon, and the like will know these games and characters because we’re hardcore enthusiasts. But what about the people who just casually like God of War? The people who played Sly Cooper when they were younger and enjoyed them immensely, but don’t have their ear to the industry like us, will be completely bypassed. In an industrial climate where every publisher needs to reach a broader audience, Sony should be marketing these games aggressively and intelligently.

Even everyday visitors of gaming press sites didn’t notice Thieves in Time’s arrival. How many casual fans of console gaming and Sly Cooper missed the memo?
Even everyday visitors of gaming press sites didn’t notice Thieves in Time’s arrival. How many casual fans of console gaming and Sly Cooper missed the memo?

Instead, they’re contributing to this self-fulfilling prophecy where developers, like Lightbox Interactive and Zipper Interactive, get shut down for not reaching enough consumers. Whose fault is that? The developers making the game or the publishers selling the game?

I don’t want any of these games to fail. They all have their qualities and audiences whom would love these games. I don’t have a PS3, but I don’t need one to notice Sony is failing their developers and their customers. Developers are getting shut down left and right because of numerous reasons, one of which is falling profits. And when less developers remain to innovate in the industry, it hurts every gamer.

The Last of Us launches on June 14 of this year. Infamous 2 dropped in June of 2011 and sold a paltry 639,000 even with a substantial marketing backbone and an already installed fanbase from the previous game in the franchise. The Last of Us is an original property. Naughty Dog has a phenomenal track record in gamers’ eyes and their pedigree could wisely be utilized.

But, given Sony’s track record over the last several months, I have little hope for their marketing wisdom.