About Those PS4/Xbox One Launch Ads
You’re invited to a perfect day. Come on, let’s drink sangria in the park.
The TV spots for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are catchy and effective. They stir up emotions of excitement for the future of the consoles. Unfortunately, there's a little too much emphasis on the word “future.”
Sony’s Perfect Day ad features three games: Elder Scrolls Online, Driveclub, and Killzone: Shadow Fall. If you own a PS4, you can only play one of these games. Elder Scrolls Online and Driveclub won’t release until early next year. Granted, Sony delayed Driveclub after production of the commercial began, so that’s not entirely the ad’s fault. Still, it opens with a re-enactment of a combat scene straight out of Tamriel.
Microsoft is equally as guilty here, so don’t think I’m letting them off the hook. Their ad, Invitaiton, begins with a Titan from Titanfall interrupting a business meeting inviting a businessman to jump in and play. Why, I’d love to play Titanfall, Microsoft. Oh wait, I can’t until March. Shoot.
Savvy gamers are (presumably) completely aware that these games aren’t out just yet. Unfortunately, it’s not safe to assume that everyone is just as savvy as you and I. Remember the Call of Duty 3 TV ad? Sadly, the internet doesn’t, but I do. The commercial featured CGI footage, not in-game footage. Somebody thought it was indicative of in-game graphics. Spoiler alert: it wasn't. That person sued and won; now you usually see disclaimers for ads that promise things such as “not in-game footage” or “video comprised entirely of in-game footage.”
This brings me back to a point I was often told during video production class in regards to storytelling: always assume the viewer isn’t fully knowledgeable the topics at hand. In this case, the topics at hand are release dates. We’d have to assume that there are viewers out there that don’t know when Titanfall or Elder Scrolls Online come out, because I assure you, there are people that don’t know when they come out. Both ads perpetuate that the two previously mentioned games are available on day one. I mean, why wouldn’t they be? They’re featured on a console’s launch ad, so why wouldn’t they be available alongside a console’s launch? It’s only logical, as some people will undoubtedly see it.
Thankfully the wait for these games will be no longer than a couple months, but it’s still a pretty shady move. In addition, it highlights a problem that both consoles suffer from: a lack of must own launch games. Ryse: Son of Rome, Knack, and Killzone: Shadow Fall aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire. Forza Motorsport 5 has fewer tracks and cars than its predecessors. Resogun, the PS4’s premiere launch game, isn’t exactly the most marketable thing in the world.
Here’s to hoping that gamers can wait for the big games to finally hit. Here’s to also hoping nobody sues anybody. I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened, though.