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Times have changed, and the Playstation, if you haven’t noticed, has been more than a game console for a while now. The Playstation stepped its game up- no pun intended- through features that serve entertainment on a silver platter. You can use the console to play music as well as movies. While these practices are as old as time, a later addition to the SONY family called “Playstation Vue” created quite a buzz among fans.
The PlaystationVue was launched in March 2015 in mainly North American states.
PlayStation Vue was one of the first services that opened the door to cordless subscription television. PlaystationVue was one of the earliest live streaming TV services that went head to head with Cable TV. With over 85 channels, Vue provided to US markets not only regular channels but also supported local broadcast stations. Although it was a remarkable innovation, the Playstation Vue shutdown in January 2020. Sony tried to find a replacement, but upon failing to find a buyer, they canceled the service altogether.
The exact reasons why the PS Vue failed is hard to determine but there are a few things that certainly contributed to its failure. Some of the things that certainly hurt the service include:
- The Name
- Poor Marketing
- Poor Communication
Of course no one can know all that went into the failure of the PS Vue but these things certainly had a large affect. We will look at each of those in detail below.
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WHY DID PLAYSTATION VUE FAIL?
The release of PlayStation Vue came loaded with many misconceptions that heavily affected sales. However, the biggest issue that Sony spent all its time on was the misconception that came with its name. The name “Playstation Vue” apparently made an obvious statement that Vue could only be used on a Playstation game system. In reality, Vue was compatible with many systems like Chromecast and Amazon Fire and Apple TV.
This significantly hindered the progress of Vue.
The name, “Playstation” in terms of gaming was widely known and using the same brand to power a TV streaming service created confusion among the buyers.
As a result of this, most of Playstation’s marketing went into clearing up these myths. Consequently, Sony didn’t spend much time promoting the product and convincing people to sign up for it. With the prevailing confusion and competition, Vue didn’t leave a very impressive mark among the masses.
Simply naming the service something simple like Sony Streaming could have had a large effect on how popular the service was and could have allowed the service to become popular.
Around the same time when Vue was dealing with its crisis, the Cable TV market was also dealing with a crisis of its own. People had already started looking for replacement subscription services, and providers did not disappoint. Directv, YoutubeTV, AT&T, and Comcast were launching their services, and unlike Vue, their promotional effects went entirely towards getting people to sign up for the services.
As more creators came out with streaming services, they became increasingly possessive over their movies and shows. They progressively became unwilling to share their content with the competition and the cost of online content also began to increase.
Additionally, while Vue was looking to expand its services to more support systems, like Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku, it had become a crucial time as this is primarily when people started to look for subscription services. With Vue remaining largely unavailable on many services, people often ended up not being able to access the service. Despite its amazing features, an almost year-long wait to have Vue on popular support systems made it difficult for people to discover it and use it long term.
I personally used the Playstation Vue streaming service until I found out that Youtube TV had unlimited recording capabilities for TV shows for the same price that I was spending for Playstation Vue! I switched over in the beginning of 2018 so I was one of those people who switched over to the competition.
Although Vue had a lot of original fans, it lacked subscribers. Perhaps we can owe this to Sony’s poor marketing strategy. Even with its unique and never-before-seen features, Sony failed to advertise them accordingly. Where Vue succeeded in service, Sony lacked in marketing.
The PS Vue never had its own promotional Social Media platform. Instead, Sony used the normal Playstation account to spread Vue-related news. In a digital world where social platforms like Twitter and Instagram are the main propagators of news and clout, it was disappointing that Sony didn’t use them to their advantage. This not only badly advertised the product but also added on to the popular notion that Vue would only work on the PlayStation console. (As you would expect, this confused customers and potential customers who already thought you needed a PlayStation game system to use the service.)
Good communication forms the basis of any good relationship.
Perhaps the failure of the PS Vue was because fans and subscribers always remained confused and ill-informed about their product. Sony was simply a poor communicator. Sony failed to have an online forum to address issues and announcements related to Playstation Vue. The bad marketing and communication made Vue seem like a product that simply wasn’t worth subscribing too.
Whenever Sony made a new addition or removal to the channels it offered, it neglected to inform the users. Often, they would simply wake up and find the channel miraculously gone- with no prior warning. This did not go well with subscribers as the stability of their favorite channels and shows always being there is important. It was agitating, especially when done without any reason.
To learn more about why the PS Vue failed check out the video below.
These are some of the reasons why the PS Vue failed but it certainly wasn’t all bad things when it came to the PS Vue. There were plenty of good things about it as well which we will discuss below.
What made Playstation VUE great?
Several features gave the PlayStation Vue quite a bit of an edge over other streaming services.
Although the system of subscription television was relatively new, the PS Vue managed to harness several features and created a single, integrated service that provided the TV channels that everyone loved quite efficiently. While Vue’s core package boasted more than 85 channels, more than 75 of them come in HD Quality and ensured that users get the superior viewing experience they deserved.
The service also had a lot of local news and weather networks which was important to many people. Video streaming on the Vue spanned over a wide range of content and was quite easy to access.
Playstation Vue also enabled multi-channel viewing. Through this option, you could split your attention between two different channels at the same time. Multi-channel viewing is highly convenient because it allows you to juggle between your favorite shows and movies without making a choice. Of course because of the marketing issues mentioned above many people were unaware that this option even existed.
With Vue, the hassles that came with searching for your favorite shows were at an end. Vue had a feature called Explore. Through the explore feature, you could apply filters to your search and choose your preferred genre, length, ratings and so on and Vue would do the rest. It showed you a list of options featuring content that matched your preferences
There was also a Favorite Channel option available, that placed your favorite channels and movies front and center. The Timeline feature picked out recommendations for you based on your viewing habits and displayed it on the home screen.
All of these features and many more should have propelled the PS Vue to long term dominance but the poor naming, marketing, and stiff competition ultimately were too much for the Vue to survive and they had to close down the service.
When a service or company fails it is rarely a single thing that causes the closure. This is true with the PS Vue as well as there were a few different things that caused it to ultimately fail.
The largest contributing factor was most likely the poor name choice. That decision caused Sony to have to spend a significant amount of money just telling people that they could use the service on more than Playstations and it also forced them to not use that money to advertise the streaming service’s features which further hurt the business.
Ultimately no one is sure why exactly the PS Vue streaming service failed but the above reasons certainly had an adverse effect on the service.