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Longworth: Building PlayStation Nation on Facebook

Guy Longworth|Senior Vice President, Sony
Friday, 18 May 2012 | 10:29 AM ET
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Joel Saget | AFP | Getty Images
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It’s hard to believe there was once a time when companies marketed their products without Facebookand Twitter. When we launched the PlayStation Facebook page in January 2009, the Facebook platform had roughly 150 million active members and was available in 35 languages and 170 countries.

Today, having grown to over 901 million active users, Facebook is available in more than 70 languages. Over this time, PlayStation has enjoyed and supported Facebook’s growth as much as any other brand, and PlayStation now has nearly 23 million likes on our Facebook page. With millions of PlayStation gamers worldwide, we are the seventh largest brand on Facebook.

Now it’s less about awareness and more about engagement for PlayStation. We strive to offer gamers unrivaled gaming and entertainment experiences across the PlayStation ecosystem, and Facebook is an important and powerful partner that extends and enhances the reach of the PlayStation experience. In several weeks we will convene at the Super Bowl of our industry: the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Facebook will be an integral part of how we will share E3 with all our fans and consumers.

This year, we will produce three days of dynamic content, ranging from live interviews on the showroom floor to games and contests designed to share the E3 experience with millions of gamers. Such an undertaking would not be possible without Facebook.

Here are three reasons why Facebook is central to connecting us with the PlayStation Nation:

1. Facebook creates a visually appealing experience that promotes discoverability.

Gamers expect a similar visual experience online as they find on their PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PlayStation Vita. Facebook empowers PlayStation to spotlight the visual content that our gamers crave. As with the PlayStation.Blog, gamers on our Facebook page can easily discover and quickly share visual content.

Recently, we have begun to pioneer Facebook integration directly into video games, bringing a whole new level of connectivity within PlayStation Nation. The blockbuster hit Uncharted 3:Drake’s Deception for the PS3is one of the first video games to feature a Facebook feed that allows gamers to discover which of their friends is currently playing the game, as well as find in-game video clips and screenshots of customized characters and team emblems uploaded by their friends.

Interactions on Facebook are also connected to the console game. For example, when players pick up duplicate treasure items in the title’s multiplayer game, they have the option of sharing them on their Facebook friends' wall after their match is over. Their friends then have the option of clicking on the wall post to collect valuable bonus in-game cash for their multiplayer account in the PS3 game.

This layer of social and cross platform integration within Uncharted 3 enhances the overall gameplay experience, creating a deeper kinship within PlayStation Nation as they quickly find fellow gamers and share in-game and user-generated content.

By creating this effortless experience between Facebook and PlayStation, gamers are rapidly making more connections within PlayStation Nation and watching and sharing more PlayStation-created content than ever before.

2. Facebook provides unmatched sharing capabilities.

The gaming community is a culture of sharing. Gamers actively seek ways to interact, both on and off the console. At PlayStation, the strength in our brand is the tight-knit relationship with our active and fiercely loyal community of gamers across platforms. In building our own community platform, we were early to recognize the power and potential of Facebook. We were one of the first to fully integrate Facebook – a competitive advantage we still enjoy today.

Over the years we’ve created a seamless flow of consumer engagement between the PlayStation.Blog, which averages 10.5 million views per month, and Facebook. By leveraging the bond between Facebook and the PlayStation.Blog, our ability to connect with the gaming community is extraordinary. For example, live-streaming the E3 press conference inside our Facebook page and cross-pollinating with E3 content on the PlayStation.Blog, will extend our reach to the millions of PlayStation fans who can’t be there in person.

3. Facebook’s Scale and Global Reach

Eighty percent of Facebook’s monthly activity occurs outside the U.S. and Canada, with people around the world using the platform as part of their daily routine. The incredible scale and global reach of Facebook is why the platform is an important part of bringing new gamers into the PlayStation Nation.

Thanks to the PlayStation.Blog and Facebook’s combined global reach, PlayStation is one of the most connected brands in the gaming industry. Leveraging Facebook features like geo-locating and geo-tagging, we’re able to personalize our engagement at a regional level and enthuse new gamers worldwide to visit customized PlayStation.Blogs and localized Facebook content in countries around the world.

E3 is the chief opportunity to excite and captivate the attention of new gamers around the world. Through Facebook, we’re able to identify and speak directly to these new gamers and keep them coming back to PlayStation.

Throughout our planning process for this year’s E3, Facebook has been at the forefront, effectively becoming a second screen of community content, much like a cable channel, where the content is discovered, shared and localized for a worldwide audience.

Community platforms like Facebook have democratized the relationship between brand and consumer, The massive growth and support for PlayStation on Facebook is proof that consumers want a closer, more engaging relationship with the important products and brands in their lives.

Guy W. Longworth is Senior Vice President, PlayStation Brand Marketing Sony Computer Entertainment of America. At PlayStation, Longworth is responsible for all aspects of PlayStation marketing, including product marketing, brand development, PR and promotions. Longworth has more than 20 years of consumer marketing experience at companies such as Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods and Kellogg’s.

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