The PS5 Reveal Was Marketing Genius

It broke the record of the most watched gaming stream in YouTube history...


Matthew Enubuje

3 years ago | 4 min read

Of course, the console design looks like everything under the sun — WiFi router, espresso machine, and even a reverse oreo. This was enough to generate interest, but there were more marketing tactics making the reveal legendary. The PS5 reveal easily competes with the CyberTruck and iPhone X reveal.

From start to finish, Sony strategically captured and delivered to all the audiences in their ecosystem. Console reveals are usually events where the host is over-speaking on what nobody cares about; Xbox leads in this format.

This time, Sony generated as much buzz a console reveal can and added months of longevity to the PS5 hype.

Here are the four key things which made this the best electronic reveal in 2020.

1. Started With a Strong Incentive

Within the first five minutes of the reveal, they let you know there will be a PS5 version of the most-played game on PS4 — “Grand Theft Auto 5.” The incentive is you get “Grand Theft Auto 5” for free if you get the PS5 at launch. This is a smart move to retain the PS4 majority audience.

Plus, no gamer likes missing out on free stuff and it’s the first time a high-end game comes with a console at launch, for free — this could cause spikes once pre-orders go live.

2. Made Two Versions

By announcing two versions, Sony compounded on the community divide between those that prefer inserting a disc and those who feel it’s outdated. Both sides have reasonable arguments to which is better and ultimately, the debates contribute to long-lasting PS5 noise.

Sony is also subtly influencing their audience to pick the digital version as it will most likely be cheaper. Business-wise, it’s a smart decision as the whole PlayStation ecosystem will spend less in distribution and therefore retain more revenue.

3. Black Spiderman

During the reveal, the trailer for “Spiderman,” it at first seemed like Spiderman had an ambiguous skin tone (rips in the costume) until the mask completely faded. That video sequence build-up to Miles Morales was likely an attempt to get hype from the black community — for good reasons, too.

The tough experiences the African American community has been through make them rightfully feel upset. Brands have been using social platforms to respond to their feelings and this reveal was an opportunity for Sony to do so.

But also, African American audiences have an unmatched social curation ability, to the point that there’s a Black Twitter (it exists within Twitter). Based on Twitter engagement research, there were conclusions that Black Twitter users are more likely to engage in content than any other demographic.

In addition, black people represent 13% of America and happen to have a buying power equivalent to the GDP of countries. It’s smart money to include them in your marketing campaigns.

4. Used the Power of Mystery

Sony didn’t reveal the PS5 price and release date and this will create neverending discussions about it. Bitcoin is a good use case of this as content is still being created on who the creator is, and won’t stop until they’re identified. Likewise, PS5 price and release date content will continue.

This allows Sony to keep PS5 in the loop of trending news. However, there’s possibly a reason why Sony was forced to not release the price which I’ll explain later.

Back to the PS5 Console Design

As much as Xbox and PC fans despise PlayStation, they couldn’t help but make their own versions of the PS5 design or post images of objects it looks like. This resulted in gaming sites curating those images and giving the PS5 more publicity. As they say, all publicity is good publicity.

Sony got its competitors’ fanbase to promote their product without them knowing.

This will also happen when Microsoft does a reveal on its new console, too — when two giants dominate an industry for long, they begin to indirectly cross-promote.

Was Sony Given a Good Deck of Cards?

The world during the PS5 reveal:

  • Most people were at home
  • More people are now online
  • Nothing big streaming at that time

The timing of this reveal was perfect for Sony as it had literally no competition. It owned gaming that day as the PS5 reveal is now officially the most-watched gaming stream in YouTube history.

Without a doubt, the pressure is on Microsoft to deliver the same quality in their next reveal. If not, Sony will continue to have more than 50% of the market share for the next decade.

The Reason Why Sony Didn’t Release the PS5 Price

Their reveal was set up perfectly for pre-orders to go live when the stream ended. Without pricing, they couldn’t reap this benefit the same way Tesla did with the CyberTruck. Sony lost guaranteed sales and possibly for a good reason: The economy is still recovering.

We’re purportedly going through a v-shape recovery and until it happens, price points remain unclear. It’s risky for Sony to rely on market projections or their initial PS5 price when there’s economic uncertainty. Also, Sony’s decision to wait gives them the opportunity to collect and review data on the public’s reaction to price guesses made over the internet.

I expect Sony to make a marketing move to release pricing info once there’s more economic clarity.

Use These Tactics for Your Business

These tactics aren’t limited to console reveals — businesses can use them in product videos, social media posts, and ad campaigns.

Also, knowing your audience is a must as it confirms whether the tactics will work or not. For example, making a funny-shaped product is pointless if your audience doesn’t create and share memes.

This article was originally published by Matthew Enubuje on medium.


Created by

Matthew Enubuje

Crypto & Marketing Writer ~ Copywriting or ghostwriting enquiries: matt[at]







Related Articles