What’s Captifying The World: Nintendo Halo Effect Triggered By Ps5 Release
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What’s Captifying The World: Nintendo Halo Effect Triggered By Ps5 Release

The Clash of the Consoles

November marked two of the most highly anticipated launches of 2020 – PS5 versus Xbox Series X. 

The timing of the ‘available to buy online-only’ launch could not have been better, as consumers of 2020 spend more leisure time at home due to the global pandemic. 

With this in mind, many retailers such as Walmart experienced website crashes almost immediately after it opened orders for the PS5 on launch day. Best Buy also said these next-gen consoles won’t be available to buy in-store throughout the entirety of the holiday season; it’s buy online or not at all.

Who’s winning the battle so far?

Captify analyzed billions of searches over the past three months to understand how console share of search has shifted and uncovered some unexpected trends around these new releases.

Captify’s search data saw that PS5 commanded the majority share of search in the lead up to its release over the past three months, with September as the strongest month. Despite the last Xbox launch being 7 years ago, Xbox Series X’s share of search remained surprisingly flat for this release.

With all attention on PS5 and Xbox Series X, Captify unveiled an interesting and unexpected insight showing  Nintendo Switch’s share of search increased by an impressive 18.5% from September to November, which contrasts with the level of search interest for both the Xbox Series X and PS5 actually declining during the same period.

Why? Because Nintendo Switch truly capitalized on a Coronavirus gaming boom ahead of its competitors’ hot product launches:

– Lockdown gaming trends: Animal Crossing became a haven for consumers to escape the challenging day-to-day of a pandemic and seek solace and comfort in a virtual world. Ring Fit Adventures also successfully tapped into gyms closing and consumers exercising at home.

– Soaring sales: Nintendo announced it sold more than 735,000 Switch and Switch Lite consoles in October 2020, up a whopping 136% compared to the same month last year, and hit the second-highest October sales for any gaming console besides the Nintendo Wii.

– New global lockdown restrictions: have reduced entertainment options for many consumers – suggesting there will be continued demand for gaming over the year-end shopping season and beyond.

Emerging audiences for gaming

New and growing audiences emerged across entertainment during lockdown, from Business Travelers, Outdoor Enthusiasts to Grandparents. For the first time, entertainment and connectivity are considered necessities for many.

By analyzing console search affinity across audiences, Captify discovered gamers are most likely to search for Nintendo Switch over next-gen consoles (Xbox Series X and PS5), which reinforces a shift in gaming audiences towards more casual gamers. PS5 is also sparking interest around more mature audiences, such as C-Suite.

Captify insights also showed critical affinity between Xbox Series X, PS5, and a Streamer audience, which reflects the acceleration of cord-cutting and online video adoption during the global pandemic, in addition to the increased demand for faster connection speeds when gaming and streaming at home.

A quarter of searches for Xbox Series X and PS5 were then followed by searches for Nintendo Switch, an unlikely comparison as they are very different platforms. This further suggests an ever-growing overlap between core gamers and more casual gamers, that have emerged during lockdown.

Ever-evolving audiences mean that gifting will look very different this year. For gaming specifically, self-gifters are predominantly searching around the Xbox Series X and PS5, while Nintendo Switch is a significant gifting target for others e.g. family and friends.

Share of search changes, just like consumers

With the impact of the global pandemic – consumer habits and purchase behaviors are ever-evolving, audiences are emerging across verticals, and in some cases for the first time. 

Tracking share of search over time enables brands to predict future scenarios, capitalize on new audiences, and react to opportunities for conquesting competitors. 

To understand how a new release might impact your brand’s share of search, get in touch.

*Data sourced from Captify’s US network from 09/15/20 to 11/15/20

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