When it comes to investor relations, big brands like to big themselves up. It's only natural, of course; for companies to attract more interest and therefore more money, it makes perfect sense for them to paint themselves in the best light possible.
However, during Sony's most recent Business Segment Meeting, its section on the Game & Network Services (i.e. the PS5, PSVR 2, and PlayStation Network) showcased a chart that frankly made us furrow our brows in collective confusion. We're not alone, either, as Stephen Totilo from Axios has also voiced doubt over the validity of the data on Twitter.
The chart in question measures the overall brand momentum for the three top dogs in gaming: PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox (granted, the latter are labeled as 'Brand B' and 'Brand C' respectively, but it's fairly obvious who Sony is referring to), as provided by 'SIE Global Brand Tracker of Brand Momentum'. As a gentle reminder, of course, 'SIE' here refers to Sony Interactive Entertainment, so this is Sony's own internal data.
Looking at the chart in detail, the PlayStation brand clearly enjoys the highest consistent level of brand momentum, with Nintendo in second place, and Xbox trailing behind in third. PlayStation's momentum also sees the most variation over the course of four years, peaking at the launch of the PS5 around Q2 FY2020.
Xbox sees a similar bump in momentum around the same time given that the Series X and S launched just nine days prior to the PS5, yet the numbers are undoubtedly significantly lower. What's particularly perplexing, however, is how Nintendo's momentum has seemingly flatlined since 2018, despite periods of significant success and recognition within the industry, including the launch of Animal Crossing: New Horizons in March 2020 during the start of COVID-19 (also highlighted by Chris Brandrick on Twitter), the arrival of the Switch OLED Model in October 2021, and the launch of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet in November 2022.
Are we really to believe that Nintendo's brand momentum remained level throughout this entire period? Hmm. Of course, brands comparing themselves favourably to their direct competitors is nothing new, but we do question the accuracy of this particular Sony suggestion. It would be interesting to see a similar metric provided by both Nintendo and Xbox and see how it compares.