Launch Day Woes for PS5

Launch Day Woes for PS5

The arrival of the long awaited and desired PlayStation 5 is officially upon us – that is if you were one of the lucky few who managed to get their hands on one!

The brand new PlayStation 5 was set to be the biggest technology release of 2020 and vouched to introduce ‘a new era of gaming’ with a world of new digital features. After a gap of seven years since the PS4 came around, Sony, the technology giants threw everything at the launch of the new successor which included multiple large scale marketing strategies. The most notable of which was replacing all London Underground signage with recognisable PlayStation branding, including the boisterous decision to showcase this on Oxford Circus – right outside the flagship store of major rivals, Microsoft.

With the whole gaming world anxiously awaiting the launch, what could possibly go wrong? Well, what about a worldwide supply shortage resulting in a frenzy of outraged customers??

All of the leading online retailers such as Argos, Curry’s and John Lewis found themselves in the predicament of being sold out of the unusually large games console before lunch time had even struck. Upon realisation of just how in demand the PS5 was, Curry’s were quick to implement a virtual queuing system which grew strenuously to more than 150,000 people. When the flood gates opened this soon descended into chaos and acrimony when those who managed to brave their way through the queues learned their unfortunate fate that they were to be without the console due to insufficient stock. *Now I know I might fall on the dramatic side but to the outraged customers, this is what their ordeal felt like, (trust me…I have four older brothers)*

To add to the frustration of customers, the high online traffic volumes caused many websites to crash entirely meaning that no purchases could occur at all. John Lewis was among one of the brands who attempted to combat this with an automatic apology to customers, reminding them of the “much-anticipated launch of the new Sony PlayStation.”

As if it was not bad enough that Sony clearly misjudged the supply and demand ratio for those ordering on launch day, even some of those who were savvy enough and PRE-ORDERED the console as early as September were left unhappy as they battled with delivery issues. This sparked rows over who was to blame with gaming retailer, Game issuing an email to customers blaming the courier service for the delivery delays.

To defend themselves, the trusted delivery service Yodel issued a statement outlining their role, “Yodel does not work directly with Game…we have been consistently clear on the order volumes we are able to carry for them and it is deeply disappointing that Yodel’s name has been incorrectly used in an email to customers on the status of orders.” The jury is still out on who’s at fault there…

Things went from bad to worse when some of the fortunate few who managed to bag themselves one of the highly sought after PS5 realised the position of power they were in. Before long, the consoles could be found creeping their way onto second-hand sale sites such at HUGELY inflated prices. For the disc edition that’s RRP is £449.99, bids could be found as high as £1400,00. That’s a 211% INFLATION!!

Throughout the entire ordeal, the absence of an update from Sony left gamers feeling very in the dark. Although asked for a statement, the technology gurus refused to comment. Odd. Only just now, has Sony Executive, Jim Ryan left us with a short and sweet answer that left very much still to be desired, “Everything is sold. Absolutely everything is sold.” This doesn’t make things look too hopeful for those who missed out.

To conclude, I wish you luck if you choose to endeavour in the hunt for the lucrative PS5 but please, please, do not be one of those people who will fall for the crazy Ebay prices…

Eimear Delargy is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter

Victory ‘Among Us’

Victory ‘Among Us’

‘Among Us’ is the game of the moment. There’s very few who haven’t heard of it by now. Despite the fact it came out in 2018 it’s taken off over lockdown as perhaps the biggest games on PC and mobile of recent times, with The Guardian (2020) reporting that ‘Among Us’ has attracted more than 85 million players in the last six months. This is very believable as it cannot be ignored how it has swamped social media platforms with memes and love stories coming from the game which have been posted on the ever popular TikTok.

‘Among Us’ essentially is a virtual game of Wink Murder, with the aim being to find the Imposter ‘Among Us’ in the game which accommodates up to 10 players. It’s fair to say it becomes a little bit of a blame game, the aim being not to get caught if you’re the imposter. The popularity has shocked the games developers Innersloth so much that they have abandoned plans for a sequel, with the solution being combining resources to improve the original.  This has worked out in their favour as the improvements are firm fan favourites in the gaming world and the downloads are testament to that.

Game Rules

Players are told at the beginning if they are an imposter or a crew member. Whilst the crew member carries out tasks like pairing up wires and cleaning air ducts, the imposter walks through the corridors of the malfunctioning spaceship the game takes place in trying to break equipment and kill the innocent crew members. Whenever a body is found a meeting is called. This is a monitored time where all players discuss and try to decipher who the imposter is. This is the fun part! The crew do this by comparing alibis and reporting suspicious or ‘sus’ behaviour they’ve observed. This is when the imposter has to work hard to cover their tracks. When the vote comes around if the crew are correct and detect the imposter it’s victory for the crewmates, however if they are wrong the game continues until they detect the imposter or else the imposter kills the entire crew. It’s quite straightforward!

Where did the hype for this game come from I hear you ask? Many claim it’s down to the influencing ability of Twitch Streamers persuading their viewers to play and download the game due to them making it appear so fun! For those of you who don’t know what Twitch is, it’s a live streaming platform which is predominately used by gamers. This has led to many rushing to play across the free mobile app and/or the £3.99 PC version. For some the game has turned into a night out (probably with the times that are in it) as people are playing it on private Discord Servers with friends. For those of you wondering what Discord is, its another big winner in the gaming world since COVID-19 struck. It has been a good means for many to connect over lockdown and social distance and bond through gaming. Although, that’s maybe a blog for another time!

Personally, I’m not a gamer. I’ve never been a gamer. However, this game has won me over. After weeks of refusal to download the free mobile version of the game I finally caved about a week ago. FOMO hit me! I felt like I had to see what the hype was about after numerous persuasive comments from my American friends and my flatmates to give it a go. Before this the only mobile app games I liked were that of my childhood such as ‘Animal Crossing’ and the ever iconic ‘Angry Bird’ due to their simplicity. In my opinion, ‘Among Us’ is by far the most fun- that is possibly due to my love of Drama and its similarity to the classic theatre game Wink Murder. So far in my week and a bit of playing the game I fortunately have not been the imposter but rather a crewmate. I am proud to admit that I have successfully helped in spotting the imposter. Obviously the imposters playing in the public games I have partaken in weren’t great at deceiving me!

All that’s left to say is if you haven’t tried it yet, join the crew and don’t be the imposter ‘Among Us’!

Holly Lucy Mc Allister is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter and LinkedIn

Fortnite- Online Game or Marketing Machine?

Anyone part of the online gaming world (or anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last two years) will know in simple terms what Fortnite is. The word itself conjures up images of poorly animated cartoonish characters wielding over the top weapons and wearing far too many clashing colours. Ringing any bells?

KL1

Last Tuesday night, a meteor hit the imaginary island and catapulted users into a black hole of nothingness for 48hours straight. Twitter went commando with a bare page cleared from all tweets and Instagram followed a similar theme. Players were left with nothing for two days. No game, no explanation, no light at the end of tunnel. And of course, the coverage followed.

The whole affair was exciting, and something never done before by Publisher Epic Games, but going off the map certainly isn’t a new PR tactic. 2016 seen Kendall Jenner delete her Instagram for a small window of time and Taylor Swift went down a similar road by unfollowing everyone and deleting all her posts to create a cloud of mystery in lieu of her upcoming album release. So what made Fortnite’s brief hiatus so special? Their stunt last week got me thinking, what makes Fortnite a standout brand without following the usual pattern of declination after a games initial peak period?

 

Everyone’s Welcome

One of the reasons Fortnite really made it to the big leagues is owing to the fact that the game was released on multiple platforms and all versions were playable to eachother, a big deal in the gaming universe. This meant that someone gaming on PC could team up with their friends on Xbox and play together, creating a much more widespread gaming experience that easily went viral. Accessibility was key to Fortnite’s success and means anyone with any gaming device is welcome to don a weird outfit and fight some strangers online with the virtual company of their friends.

 

They never stop upping their game

Fortnite was originally released without much pomp and circumstance in July 2017 and since then has regularly brought out new ‘skins’ (outfits for sale), modified their maps and changed the rules depending on when are when you are within the game. The map/set is constantly evolving in order to keep the users on their toes. Nobody is getting bored and the playerbase is growing in numbers as long as the game is alive and breathing. Two years later fans are still drooling for the constant Easter-eggs hidden within the maps.

 

Relevancy above all

Truth be told I had never even heard of Fortnite until Thanos was introduced as a limited time character. Game producers took advantage of the fact that Avengers: Infinity War was doing so well at the box office and used the information that the writers of the blockbuster were such big Fortnite fans to utilise the world’s biggest current villain as a prop in their game. Arguably, the dances done by the characters are more contagious than the games itself. Playgrounds around the world have been taken over by ‘flossing’ and ‘Electro Shuffles’ and videos of these weirdly difficult to master dance moves were constant hits online. Teacher and parents were annoyed and many schools throughout the world banned the dances. But in a world where coverage is deemed important- all press is good press. Right? The crossovers never end with regular appearances from whatever/whoever is relevant that week. These include Marshmello, The MCU, John Wick and Fifa and can come in the form of new skins, limited edition soundtracks or even a quick change in the map. The inclusion of hyped up happenings in the real world makes Fortnite a pro when in comes to effective brand promotion.

People love free stuff

Let’s be honest, we all want the goods and we want to pay a good price. Ideally nothing. As it stands Fortnite is free and has no upfront costs whatsoever meaning getting started is quick and easy. This means that the younger generation don’t have to beg for credit card details from unwilling parents and the game stands at an all time high in terms of accessibility. Now as always there is a catch. While playing, gamers can purchase virtual items via ‘V-Bucks,’ an online currency unique to the world of Fortnite and by doing so make their character more unique in style. This doesn’t necessarily give any advantage when playing but the more outrageous a character’s outfit, the more noticeable a player is, and to some gamers that means as much as winning.

 

Ga-Ga for Gaming

Not immune to this epic multiverse are celebrities. A-listers such as Finn Wolfhard, Joe Jonas and Drake can’t stay away it seems with the latter breaking a Twitch record for ‘Most viewers of all time,’ partly owing to the rapper advertising the stream on Twitter to his 36.9million followers. Even celebrities that aren’t interested are getting involved. Lady Gaga recently tweeted, ‘What’s Fortnight?’ racking up 200,000 retweets and 900,000 likes. Honestly who knows if any of these stars are #spon but even if there aren’t any pockets being lined, the celebrity involvement is definitely working.

 

Kate Lagan is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter- @PredisposedtoPR and Instagram- @klagan19