As we rapidly approach the launch of the PS4, anticipation is being ratcheted up considerably. Even though most of us are trying to play it cool, the fever is starting to spread... fast. And as that magical date approaches, we find ourselves being constantly baited and teased with what the next generation of gaming will bring. That's also part of the problem.

Don't get me wrong. I gobble up every bit of gaming news I can find. From time to time, I can even appreciate the unconfirmed rumor. But for quite some time now, I've had this creeping feeling that gamers are being "played". Yes, played.

Just what do I mean by that? Well, I've probably referenced this before, so if you recognize it for the second time, please bear with me. How many of you remember watching the Wonder Years? Do you remember how Kevin Arnold would pine over Winnie Cooper (the unattainable girl)? Remember how Winnie could have gotten Kevin to do just about anything she wanted? Kevin spent so much time being in love with just the idea of Winnie, that he often ignored what was right in front of him. Becky Slater. Still don't see the connection?

Then again, who WOULDN'T do anything for this girl? My oh my Winnie... how you've grown.


Okay, when your heart/emotions are tied up with something, it becomes much easier for you to be manipulated. The reason for this is because your brain is loving the high of happiness. You don't want that feeling to go away. And the greater the high, the more you fear the loss of it. It's like flying. No one fears falling if their only two feet off the ground. But if you're up in the clouds? There's already the understanding that you simply couldn't survive it. And the human brain senses this.

So when you're anticipations run high for the next step towards digital nirvana, you are in a very, very fragile place. The companies that will deliver the next gen experience keenly understand this. That's why I grew highly suspicious when Sony made it's most recent announcement that the much-anticipated PS4 would be lacking support for .mp3's and other content. In my opinion, the announcement was made so coolly, with such a casual air, and yet, Sony HAD to know that it would ruffle some feathers. So then, if Sony knew that it would make people upset, why do it?

Trolling. It was a mass trolling from a corporate level. Sony already knows that the PS4 is tagged to be THE hot item of the holiday season. They KNOW they are going to sell an awful lot of units. But what they wanted to know next is what else they can sell you.

If you've ever worked in retail or even the service industry, you know that most companies do not find it sufficient to simply sell a single item. No matter how high their profit margin is, most companies heavily push their employees to sell a bundle of products. So, it's not enough that you just bought a laptop. No. Instead, they would like to sell you a laptop, a mouse pad, anti-virus software, a wireless mouse, an extended warranty, and screen wipes. So what happens is that what would have been a $500 transaction suddenly balloons into being a $800 transaction. Every company does it.

A perfect example of bundle selling, and capitalizing on scarcity.


I think Sony never had any intention of permanently omitting support for mp3's and DLNA. But the announcement was a strategic way of scaring people enough to get them emotionally invested. Now that Sony has promised to provide these features through updates for the PS4, many gamers may find themselves suddenly feeling amorous, even grateful towards Sony. The feeling of relief that will come with Sony's act of "goodwill" might be an excellent tool for getting gamers to purchase more entertainment content, specifically music and movies, through Sony.

Sound farfetched? Consider this. Not too long ago, Jeff Bezos, CEO of stated that the reason why he didn't feel that the Kindle would be significantly threatened by the iPad was because the mobile entertainment war was about content, not hardware. He was right.

The truth of the matter is that no matter whether you get an Xbox One or a PS4, either way you're probably going to have a blast. The only deciding factor in all of this will be the software. And that's going to be a very tough battle. Almost every company involved with electronic entertainment has expressed a strong interest in being your go to destination for happy times.

It all boils down to this.


Who doesn't offer streaming of movie and tv shows anymore? Who doesn't support social media? Is there anyone who still desperately relies on a cable box or pay-per-view for entertainment content? If there are, they are few. The internet is blowing traditional broadcasting media out of the water.

Now the trick is to lock you the customer into one service, one brand, one product. But how do they do it?

In sales, it's called the takeaway approach. Car salesmen do it all the time. They approach you with a big smile and shake your hand firmly and heartily, like they're your best friend ever. They let you take a test drive, knowing full well how that new car smell and performance will have you falling in love to the point of being helpless. Then, once you're attached. They hit you with the terms. And if it looks like you're hesitating, they'll remind you that someone else is interested in the same car, and they'd just hate to see you miss out on "a great deal". Suddenly fear kicks in. You're afraid of losing out, of looking stupid, so you jump in head first. That's the take away, and it's a ridiculously effective way to direct and manipulate your habits as a consumer.

In the aftermath of a global recession, the battle for shoppers precious dollars has become vastly more difficult. Competition is thick, and the margins for error are nearly non-existent. Most people, are still extremely cautious with how they spend their money. And those who produce and market entertainment products and media often find themselves dealing with a public that rarely wants to pay much for anything at all. Creating fears of scarcity, has always been a tried and proven method for herding consumers towards greater spending Ever wonder why the big three never, ever seem to be prepared for the inevitable console shortages???

To be fair, it's not just Sony who is guilty of this. As I said before, almost all companies do this to some extent. But what makes it distasteful, is that it creates an environment where loyal paying consumers are reduced to being cattle. The tactics are based on the assumption that most people will respond to things emotionally, and complete forego using any sort of reason. It's a lack of respect for the guy/girl opening up his wallet.

What do you think? Am I overreacting? Or do you sometimes feel that you've been TROLLED?