Sony's Ingenious Destiny Deal With Activision = PS4 Victory
Let's face it: Over the years, Sony's marketing and PR efforts haven't matched up with Microsoft's (especially not in North America). Many will point toward poor advertising of first-party PlayStation titles as opposed to the all-out media blitzes franchises like Halo and Gears of War have enjoyed.
But Sony seems to learn from their mistakes. Recently, they've made a much stronger effort in the realm of marketing, which has become evident in all forms of media, from the Internet to TV. Now, with the biggest new IP of a fresh generation on store shelves, we have to acknowledge that Sony made a supremely great deal that may solidify the PlayStation 4's #1 spot.
Of course, this isn't an absolute guarantee. There are no absolutes in any business. But it's so significant that it's well worth noting and there's a reason why Sony treats the Destiny release as a first-party launch.
It's not just about a slick-looking bundle, nor will that exclusive content seal the deal
As we all know by now, those who purchase Destiny on a PlayStation console will receive timed exclusive content that will remain exclusive to PS3 and PS4 for "at least one year." And let's not forget the initial exclusivity for the alpha and beta tests. On top of which, there's that very attractive Glacier White Destiny-themed PS4, which has proven to be an insanely popular pre-order item in recent months. Destiny itself is the most pre-ordered new IP in the history of the industry, but we'll revisit that point in a moment.
For the time being, let's talk about the aforementioned bonuses. One could easily argue that they're not big enough to cement PS4's lead in the new generation. And they'd be right. The point is not that such incentives are relatively minor, nor are we concerned with what sort of bonuses PlayStation owners will enjoy in the future. It's the here and now that's important: Sony is securing a ton of early adopters for this franchise, and it's an IP that's supposed to have a ten-year lifespan, remember?
This was a critical maneuver. The incentives are designed to make consumers spring for a PlayStation version of the game now so their loyalty is assured down the road. Years from now, will Destiny fans really want to switch platforms after playing on a PlayStation system for such a long time? Nope.
Destiny is big...really big...and it'll continue to be really big
This is the exact opposite of "flash in the pan." This isn't just a huge title that releases and then, in a few months, it hardly gets any attention at all. This is an ongoing, shared-world, MMO-like experience with countless ways of securing a steady stream of income. You can believe this franchise will never see a subscription plan or lots of microtransactions if you like; it's just ridiculously naive to believe that. The bottom line is that in the years to come, Destiny will remain very relevant, and Sony has convinced a fair percentage of early adopters to side with PlayStation.
The result should be clear, and I think Sony saw this coming a mile away: There's a darn good chance that Destiny will become the single biggest game of the new generation, simply because of its longevity. The PlayStation brand wanted to get its foot in the door at the start of that longevity, and it was a successful and ingenious move. The PlayStation 4 already has a significant lead over the Xbox One but given this edge concerning Bungie's blockbuster, it will be all the more difficult - perhaps even impossible - for Microsoft to close that gap.
Seems to me that Sony is finally, finally making its presence felt in the marketing space.