Retailers, Brands Take Sides in PlayStation 4, Xbox One Launches

Xbox One PlayStation 4

The latest videogame console war recruits Toys 'R' Us, Taco Bell, Doritos, Mountain Dew, the NFL

Retailers are rallying around the launch of Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation videogame consoles, both launching in November — and some are ready to take sides as the release of the systems heat up a new console war.

■ Microsoft got the jump in August when Pepsico’s Doritos and Mountain Dew brands began promoting the Xbox One, giving away thousands of consoles as part of the largest campaign in the brands’ history. The two gamer-friendly companies have been closely associated with the Xbox 360 brand for years, promoting the console and the company’s franchises like “Halo.”

■ Toys ‘R’ Us put Microsoft’s Xbox One on its “Fabulous 15” list of its pre-holiday recommendation of products it believes kids will be most excited about, according to the company. Also on the list are toys featuring characters from Universal’s “Despicable Me 2,” Disney Junior’s “Sofia the First” and “Doc McStuffins,” Sesame Street’s Elmo, and Activision’s “Skylanders SWAP Force” game and figures. The items appear in circulars and on the company’s website. The PlayStation 4 is still mentioned in a separate “Hot Toy” list.

■ Taco Bell has thrown its support behind the PlayStation 4, with the fast food chain hyping the console through a six-week promo that launched Sept. 26 and runs through Nov. 10, offering consumers the chance to “play the future first,” and win one of over 4,000 PS4s. Effort is backed by TV, radio, social media and in-store marketing. Taco Bell sparked to the idea to promote the PS4 because “our fans love gaming,” according to Chris Brandt, the chain’s chief marketing officer.

The move is a shift for Taco Bell, which helped launch Microsoft’s first Xbox in 2001, and has hyped franchises like “Halo” in the past, exclusive to Xbox. But Sony wanted to work with Taco Bell again after promoting its PS Vita with the eatery last year, according to Guy Longworth, PlayStation’s senior VP for brand marketing.

Sony is first out of the gate, releasing the PS4 on Nov. 15 with a pricetag of $400, while Microsoft launches the Xbox One on Nov. 22 for $500.

Of course each company is spending heavily around the roll outs, but the support of major retailers — most of which are backing both launches in order to reach a larger consumer base — will boost the profile of the consoles. It’s been seven years since the two companies went head-to-head with new consoles (although the Xbox 360 launched in 2005 and the PlayStation 3 bowed in 2006).

Still as each device looks for an edge over the other, having a retailer put the spotlight on one is clearly an advantage. Worth noting is that Walmart’s “Top Toy List Chosen By Kids” did not mention either game console.

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They’re also hitting consumer on all fronts, with Sony having already gone after men watching the NBA finals and Microsoft using its relationship with the NFL to target football fans (see its latest ad below). Neither company is revealing their overall marketing spends for the launches.

Sony and Microsoft will need all the help they can get, since most consumers only buy one gaming console.

So far Sony looks to have the edge in upcoming sales.

According to a recent Reuters-Ipsos poll, 26% of those asked if they would buy one of the consoles before the holidays said they will likely purchase a PlayStation 4, with 15% choosing the Xbox One. Among those under 40, 41% picked the PS4, while 27% chose the Xbox One.

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  1. Velma says:

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    wishing in favor of blogging.

  2. Dan says:

    The PS4 is cheaper but depending on how you look at it, it can both be huge or negligible. I myself am spending £10 more on the PS4 for the mega bundle which gets you:
    The system
    A headset
    2 controllers
    The camera
    Killzone shadow fall

    So for me it’s not cheaper, but better value for money. However, £80 difference is a big difference for those that don’t want a camera. I know a lot of people that have pre-ordered the Xbox that won’t even touch the camera after setting everything up. In fact, I don’t know anyone that’s interested in Move or Kinect apart from me. And not only is it £80 cheaper for the base price, but you’re getting a more powerful system and free games every month with PS+ (which isn’t free obviously, but both subscriptions are comparable price wise and Sony have already confirmed a handful of games coming to PS+, one of which I was looking forward to buying). So the PS4 is the better option for people on a budget. But for those not desperate to save money or ‘spend the rest later’ or those interested in Move/Kinect should definitely not consider the PS4 for the price tag alone. But both are great systems and no one is going to be instantly regretting their purchase.

  3. Dug R says:

    Just thought I would point out that the PS4 is not actually “cheaper”, it’s only $100 less because you have to buy the camera seperately

    “cheaper” is what people got when they went with PSN over XBL, they got what they paid for then also…

    • mikefw9 says:

      It actually IS cheaper. The playstation 4 camera is $59 if you even want one. I personally don’t want one so it’s even cheaper.

      Now “cheap” is what Microsoft did on the 360. I’m an xbox fan (never owned a sony system) and I love halo and xbl but the hardware is atrocious. Red rings of death and numerous hardware problems have plagued the 360 unlike the ps3.

      • Dug R says:

        Yes the camera is cheaper…but I still haven’t seen a single review that puts sony’s camera anywhere close to comparable in cabability.

        The point is if Sony had that in the box the difference in price would be negligible at best, so to say it’s “cheaper” is not being totally realistic.

        Developers cannot today make a game that utilizes the full potential of either system, until they figure out how to sell more copies (i.e. MS’s much maligned subscriber paradigm that got scrapped) then they simply cannot afford to make a quality game. Both sustems will be overpowered until people stop thinking about simply what is “cheaper”

  4. Dan P says:

    I think both bring up good points but you seem to be forgetting a few key things about.each system. sure sony may have more.exclusives than microsoft, but exclusivity is what sony has been about since the original playstation. being an owner of both consoles (ps3 and 360) ive noticed a few great things about each console. sony clearly had the more powerful system, however, it wasnt until the last of us.came out that any game.developer actually used all the power within. microsoft absolutely has the upper hand with its xbox live. sure its.60 per year, but that is 60 dollars well spent. ive noticed that the 360 and now the xbox one are both geared.towards community. if you look at PS+, the marketplace is really cluttered, the online portions of most games are unappealing, and the 50-60 dollars you spend on it are ,generally speaking, not worth it.

  5. Dan is dead wrong. says:

    dan get your facts together before venting your false opinion.

    1. ps3 with 600 on launch. Blu ray player wifi, not behind a paywall.

    2. 50 percent surveys the original Xbox is that release had the red ring result in an extension warranty and loss of Microsoft profit. didn’t have wifi didn’t have Blu ray and to get the most out of your experience you had to pay the additional 50 60 dollars for Xbox Live.

    3. Sony will not lose as much profit with the ps4 as it did with the ps3.

    4. you make it sound like sony has very few games. I am detecting a major xbox Fanboy in here.

    what exclusive Microsoft has compare to sony? Must I make a list of games coming out this year and next year for the PS4 exclusive along with DLC contents exclusive to Sony.

    • Dan says:

      Lmao that’s hilarious. If anything I’m a Sony fanboy, I don’t own an Xbox and never will. So here’s my reply to each of your points:

      1. However you look at it, the PS3 was far more expensive than the 360. Sure you had to get loads of crap for the 360 to match what the PS3 offered (online gaming, blu-ray etc.) But the base price is what matters to the majority of people and it’s a big part of why the PS3 suffered in the early years (2006-2009)

      2. That’s all true and benefited PS3 gamers such as myself, but a lot of people had blu-ray players or didn’t have internet access or didn’t play online and then those benefits of the PS3 wouldn’t benefit them therefore wouldn’t be an extra cost. Also even with the RROD, Microsoft made their money with subscriptions, they made far more money from this generation than Sony did even though Sony have just about outsold them in consoles.

      3. I never once said they would, they even stated months ago that the PS4 wouldn’t be sold at as much of a loss as the PS3 was…

      4. I know Sony have a lot of exclusives and I love a lot of them such as:
      Uncharted 2
      Uncharted 3
      The Last of Us
      Infamous 2
      Heavy Rain
      Killzone 2
      Killzone 3
      ModNation Racers
      Motorstorm Apocalypse
      And will be getting Beyond: Two Souls

      But none of that changes the fact that Sony had a slow start to this generation and Microsoft made more profit. But at least it’s PlayStation with the headstart this generation, I can’t wait for Uncharted, Killzone and Infamous to get the recognition they deserve.

  6. Dan says:

    I think when people are saying “PS4 wins hands down” they’re:
    1. Declaring their preference
    2. Probably don’t like Microsoft or Xbox very much
    3. Believe this is (which it is) Sony’s generation to lose. And what I mean by that is this:

    The beginning of last generation, Sony didn’t have a leg to stand on. They had the much more expensive machine with the much later release date with very few exclusives, nothing to offer online and even though it was more powerful, the multiplatform games ran worse on it. And throughout the generation, Sony managed to fix most of those things. Especially with PS+ and releasing titles like Uncharted, Infamous and The Last of Us. And that’s where the power difference not only shined through, but made a lot of people wish they had a PlayStation just for those games. It was Microsoft’s generation to lose and they let Sony take it. At one point they were 5 million sales ahead (not long after the PS3 release) and they still managed to fall back and now the consoles are even in sales.

    This generation it’s Microsoft has the more expensive console and Sony still has the power advantage, but also has the more developer-friendly advantage and sure, Microsoft have launch exclusives, but you don’t know how long they can keep on bringing us constant exclusives for – Sony own 13 developers, 2 exclusives a quarter will be standard. And with Sony evolving the PlayStation 4, it shows they have prepared for this generation way more than they had with the PlayStation 3. And if Sony can come back from 5 million sales down to even sales with an unprepared console that was considered a huge flop for years, then if Sony are given the headstart in this generation, as long as they don’t get lazy – they’ve won hands down.

  7. Sunny says:

    @david the fact you would say that implies that you haven’t read the article. PS4 is not said to be a “hands down” winner more in the lead due to recent polls. Now if that’s being a ‘fanboy’ then please allow me to continue my fanboy reality…

    • Shelby.Zer0 says:

      Perhaps you should have actually read what he said. He didn’t say ‘the article says’ rather he commented on what people are saying about the console war. Then he backed up his statement on what’s being said with facts about what has been going down between Microsoft and Sony after the last battle to be number one. I for one also believe Sony has it this time around IF all that is being said about the two systems is true…. but i guess it has all yet to be seen until both are released.

  8. Leonardo says:

    Who cares who outsells who? Some people like playstation. Some like xbox. Some like both. Play the next gen and enjoy one of them. Or both.

    • Sunny says:

      His just supporting his console.. I prefer ps4 to Xbox one does that make me a fanboy? No. If I supported Xbox over ps4 would it make me a fanboy? No. P.s I prefer ps4

      • David says:

        To declare a winner at this point, to claim a “hands down” winner is not only a definitive sign of a fanboy, but it is also pure ignorance. I don’t care what console you prefer, it is nothing more than fanboy ignorance.

  9. lotrfan says:

    There is no real competition. PS4 wins hands down.

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