Destiny’s out next week, and I’m sure there are a few million people out there champing at the bit to get their hands on the game. The smart money is on the PlayStation 4 version outselling the Xbox One version, but when you think about it, though, how much of that will be down to the advertising? Activision and Sony have been sitting in a tree with a major partnership on both exclusive content and the advertising campaign behind it.
It turns out that this precludes Microsoft from joining in the advertising fun, and if their new website, destinyfragrance.com, is anything to go by, they don’t like being left out one bit. (Yes, that website is real; it’s even on Xbox UK’s facebook page)
I actually quite like what Microsoft have done here, with a witty little workaround to the close ties between Sony and Destiny that kind of says, “Hey, this advertising deal stinks,” and points out that you can absolutely get Destiny on Xbox and play with your friends who are also on the greener side of the fence. The only problem with it is that it whiffs of hypocrisy.
My admittedly quite poor memory is telling me that it can’t remember a Call of Duty advert with a PlayStation sting slapped on the end. The problem is that I can’t find any videos on Youtube of CoD TV adverts specifically which have Xbox branding at the end, with that part being replaced by links to other promotional videos online. What I can find, however, are FIFA adverts.
For FIFA 13 and before, the TV adverts posted on Youtube were bookended with PlayStation branding, but all of that changed last year as part of a major deal which saw FIFA 14 bundled with Xbox One consoles at launch and Xbox stings added to the TV adverts instead. Here’s one of several examples of the new status quo:
Sony and Microsoft both cut these sorts of advertising deals all of the time, often in line with some exclusive content, but up until now neither side has really exhibited such an open disdain for not having their console be the one up in lights. Is this a sign of panic in the Microsoft advertising department that they have found themselves missing out on linking up with major new properties like Watch Dogs and Destiny, two burgeoning new game series which could come to define this generation of console?
The policy so far has always been that if your competitor signs a big deal of this sort for one game series, you go out and sign your own deal for a different one, or jump in with a better offer when the contract expires. Yet, with the PlayStation 4 already at an advantage over the Xbox One in sales, for the uninformed public to always see the PS4 alongside adverts for such games is a very powerful message that will make it increasingly difficult for Microsoft to swing the momentum back in their favour.
With that in mind, let’s enjoy a shiny new Destiny trailer which doesn’t feature actual gameplay from either console:
You know what? Whichever console you might plan on getting Destiny for next week, I hope you have a wonderful time exploring the solar system with some friends.