Nintendo and Sony Experience Attention Gains, For Very Different Reasons

It’s now been a month since Nintendo dropped its latest video game innovation at this year’s E3 Expo – the Nintendo Wii U, its next major console release.  After being criticized by “hardcore” gamers for the last 5 years for offering a system with relatively underpowered graphics and an innovative, but limited controller system, Nintendo fought back with the Wii U.  Offering full HD quality graphics was a given – but the Big N’s new control scheme was a bit of a surprise.

Rather than offering a more basic gaming experience to encourage people of all ages to play, Nintendo is going in the opposite direction. Using technologies refined in both the Wii and Nintendo’s portable unit, the DS, the new Wii U controllers feature a plethora of buttons and joysticks, full motion control, and a 6.2” touchscreen.

I figured the launch of a new home console system (something that only happens every 5 years or so) would drive a major spike in Online Attention to Nintendo.com, and I wasn’t disappointed. Online Attention (% of all time spent online that was spent at Nintendo.com) spiked up 124% for Nintendo the day of its E3 Keynote, compared to the average for the 20-day period charted below.

However it turns out that one thing gains more attention than console launches –a company desperately trying to make up with an angry customer base. On June 3, Sony launched its “Welcome Back” program for users of its Playstation Network, online services designed to allow players to game over the internet and also a storefront for downloadable game and video content.  This program was an effort to make up for the fact that Sony’s services were offline for well over a month due to a damaging hacker attack that rendered the Playstation Network inoperable and also exposed customer’s private information to the hackers.

The launch of this program, which offered customers a number of free downloadable games among other perks, drove 4 days of sustained interest increase similar to that seen by Nintendo on the day of its E3 Keynote.  However, on the day of Sony’s Keynote formally announcing the Playstation Vita portable console and a Playstation-branded 3DTV, Online Attention to Sony’s Playstation site actually decreased 23% compared to the day before.

So while Sony definitely saw more Online Attention during the E3 time-frame compared to Nintendo, they were drawing it for all the wrong reasons. I’m sure that Sony is looking forward to future conferences where hopefully the attention will be on its products and services and less about managing a major PR issue.