Open Letter To Sony: Watch It With The Adverts
Like many of you I’ve been playing with the PS4 quite a lot over the past couple of weeks. It’s undoubtedly a brilliant console. Well done, Sony, well done.
But there is concern.
See, over the weekend I was perusing the What’s New section only to find in amongst the Trophy unlocks, the captured screenshots and the fact that Rob was playing Battlefield 4 (again), was an advert for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.
It irked me. Not because I dislike The Hobbit (I don’t) but for what it represented, and I felt compelled to let Sony know that I – and hopefully you lot – won’t accept much more than the odd tile in our What’s New section. So here it is, an open letter to Sony:
Open Letter To Sony About The PS4
Dear Mr/Mrs Sony,
Firstly, congratulations on your PS4. I see that it’s done very well for you, and thanks to a combination of a flurry of excitement and smart decisions on your part it is well deserved. The PS4 really is a great machine.
But something does need to be addressed; advertising.
Many, myself included, fell out of favour with the Xbox 360’s Dashboard when Microsoft began focusing more and more on shilling things we had no interest in.
For every advert for the latest game release, there were three for a brand new TV show or film. It became too much, especially when considering most were paying for an Xbox Live Gold account.
Similarly, through the What’s New feature of the PS4 you’re able to target a fairly large group of users; I get it, it’s prime real-estate for advertisers, and as a result it’s likely quite valuable to you.
Currently these tiles aren’t too intrusive. Initially it appeared these were just the same posts you send through email, and it’s certainly not too bothersome to – every so often – find a tile devoted to a film I might enjoy.
But this is a precarious step you’re standing on. It’s easy for us to accept the odd innocuous advert every so often, but don’t mistake that for our approval.
Now with PS Plus linked to multiplayer gaming more players than ever will be subscribing to the PlayStation Network, and you need to remember that.
PS Plus is a highly respected service, and rightly so. Combining that with multiplayer gaming was a bitter pill most could accept because of the value it represents. While it doesn’t pay off for PS4 just yet, we know it will.
But it is still a paid service, and that needs to be respected. For the same reason so many smartphone apps come with paid-for versions without the advertising, it’s disrespectful to your customers to be profiting on top of the income they are already paying you.
It will upset many if these adverts do become bothersome.
But there’s a point to be made even more vital than of benevolence for your customers, and that’s of the PS4’s functionality.
Because if this What’s New feature turns into a feed of advertisements then, yes, you will get some vocal criticism from those who were previously loving your console.
The worst, however, will be how few people will actually make use of the feature. Fill it with adverts and perhaps you’ll be free of the scalding, but you will make an otherwise excellent feature completely useless.
You’re on top at the moment, Sony, but things can quickly change in this industry, and you’d be surprised how passionate people can get when you start infiltrating their console with corporate advertising.
Do the right thing, keep advertising to a minimum.