We analyse Microsoft’s brand awareness and social media activity following the launch of the Xbox One, as well as looking at purchase intent for the console amongst gamers.
Following Microsoft’s first revelations of its new Xbox One on 21 May, research by YouGov’s Technology and Telecoms team found that nearly a quarter (24%) of British adults were aware of Microsoft launching a new product, which rose to almost two in five (39%) of those planning to buy a new console in the next 12 months.
This is compared to less than one in five (19%) of adults who were aware of Sony launching a new product, rising to 35% of those wanting a new console.
The research also revealed that, of those who were aware of Microsoft launching a new product, 43% of adults mentioned a games console (i.e. the Xbox One). This rose even more significantly to 69% of console owners who were aware of Microsoft launching a new games console.
One in five (20%) adults were also aware of a new operating system being launched by Microsoft, referring to Windows 8.1, which is the next most common response but is still less than half of the amount who were aware of the Xbox One, meaning Microsoft’s brand awareness following 21 May was driven by the unveiling of the Xbox One.
In a separate study, YouGov Technology and Telecoms also asked about consumers’ intention of purchasing a new console and found that, of those who own a console or are expecting to purchase a console in the next 12 months, nearly one in five (19%) say they expect to get the Xbox One while 45% of console owners and potential buyers saying they plan to get the Playstation 4.
Sony gamers are also more loyal, with nine out of ten (90%) Playstation 3 owners expecting their next console purchase to be the Playstation 4, while 9% say they will buy the Xbox One. Conversely, just over two-fifths (41%) of Xbox 360 owners say they will purchase the Xbox One next, with 21% saying they will buy the Playstation 4.
As well as using research by YouGov Technology and Telecoms, we can also use YouGov’s social media analysis tool, SoMA, to explore Microsoft’s social media activity in the month following the first revelations of the Xbox One; that is, how many people heard about the Microsoft brand on Twitter.
Microsoft fully unveiled the Xbox One on 10 June at the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) event, where it announced restrictions surrounding gameplay. On the day of their press conference, Microsoft’s Twitter reach was 21.6% of the UK Twitter population, with this staying above 15% throughout the three days of the event.
Microsoft later u-turned over its decision to impose restrictions that required an internet connection to play at all times and prevented the use of older games capabilities on its new Xbox One. This announcement on 19 June saw the greatest peak in Twitter reach during June, with 33.5% of the UK Twitter population hearing something about the brand on this day.
While SoMA tracks the Microsoft brand as a whole, as well as individual services like Windows 8, the tool allows us to see exactly what was heard by those who were exposed to the Microsoft brand on Twitter. Looking specifically at the day in which Microsoft’s Twitter activity saw its highest peak on 19 June, the two most popular words were ‘Xbox’ (22.8%) and ‘One’ (21.4%), with other popular words including ‘drm’ (13.9%) and ‘policies’ (7.9%).
SoMA is also able to track the sentiment of what is heard about a certain brand. On 19 June sentiment was largely negative in relation to what was heard about Microsoft on Twitter, with nearly two-thirds (63%) tweets being negative in sentiment. Only 13% were positive and 24% were neutral.
It will be interesting to see the impact further announcements about the Xbox One will have on Microsoft’s Twitter activity, as well as what effect the release of the console itself will have.
YouGov Technology and Telecoms will also be going into field again in the future to examine consumer perceptions towards the Xbox One once it is available.
This research comes from YouGov Technology and Telecoms’ Xbox NP2 Phase 1 survey, which interviewed 1,210 respondents between 21st and 23rd April 2013 (of which 1,142 were a nationally representative sample of UK adults aged 18+, plus a 104 boost sample of those looking to upgrade or purchase new console in the next 12 months). This article also uses data from SoMA (YouGov’s social media analysis tool).
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