Does PS4 need the faces and mascots of PlayStation's past?
The Mascot Complex
Here’s a question that gets tossed around like sticks in a storm: who is the face of the PlayStation brand? Many argue that third-party exclusives are what made PlayStation relevant, therefore characters like Snake and Cloud take precedence over the likes of Spyro and Crash. Regardless of who would win the popularity poll, it’s quite obvious that third-party exclusives hold shallow weight in this day and age. Snake is sneaking his way over to the competitor’s market next-gen, as is Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series.
As for Spyro and Crash, Sony may or may not have the opportunity to lasso this iconic pair and claim their return. Despite Activison’s tainting of the duo’s image, many gamers reluctantly await their homecoming as seen with the constant vocal petitioning for including the pair in the roster of PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale (a game that will very hopefully see a sequel, if not a reboot). Toro Inoue is arguably the brand’s historical representative, but his presence is only felt regionally in Japan. So then we may be left with PaRappa, or Ratchet, or Sackboy. But listing all of these names must make anybody question why there’s a striking inability to determine a champion. Does PlayStation really need a mascot?
PaRappa The Rapper - one of the original PlayStation mascots
The consensus is often no. Perhaps PlayStation’s mascot is a family of faces. For the core gamer, this is a considerable strength because the genre variety is enticing and unmatched, but unknowingly, it is a weakness for brand recognition because non-gamers don’t have a face to match the brand with. Though surely Sony receives continuous brand recognition by delivering on quality software, the games, not by relying on the magic of an iconic representative. So one could think, why summon a ghost whose face is now buried somewhere in a swept away history when we can move on to bigger and better horizons?