Nintendo vs. Sony – Brand Architecture


This report builds and examines the brand architecture of two brands – Nintendo and Sony – in the video game market including both games and console. The two brands are chosen as they compete in very similar markets and yet have very different brand personalities, positioning and targeting group. Nintendo has 3DS and Wii while Sony has PSV and PS4. Nintendo and Sony are among the most valuable brands in the video game market, and this report will bring out the stark differences in the brand architecture of these two brands. The goal is to observe how consumers can have vastly different perceptions of and relationships with very similar products owing to the differences in brand architecture. I will also give a real personal experience as an example to emphasis the differences.


Brand Architecture

The first step is to develop brand pyramids for both brands.

Brand Architecture for Nintendo


Brand Architecture for Sony


Brand Comparison

As we mentioned, both brands compete in the very similar markets as the video game and game console market. However, the differences in the brand personalities appeal to very different target audiences in the same market. Due to the impact of Sony’s PlayStation, Nintendo received a slightly drop trend of its units sale, and decided to abandon the traditional gamer’s market. Nintendo gave up the development in high tech for the game console but dedicated to serve a much broader customer base, in which most of them may not touch video games before[1]. It resulted in the current brand image of Nintendo that it is just for fun during family time and everyone can approach it. While, Sony stacked on the traditional hard-core players and invested its high tech a lot, such as visual reality.


I have an example here from my real personal experience with the same game on both Brands’ console. Monster Hunter was once a popular game on the PlayStation console of Sony developed by Capcom. It is well-known as its moving action hard core playing mode and the various attractive equipment in beautiful nature environment vision. In 2012, Capcom stopped work with Sony and decided to put the game on Nintendo’s Wii and 3DS only. The reason for that was Capcom tended to support Nintendo to succeed in the completion with Sony in the Game console market[2]. It showed how confident Capcom was for the popularity of Monster Hunter. And it was true that most of the loyal players lust like me switched from Sony’s game console to Nintendo’s just to follow the game’s new version. While, from my personal experience as, I believe it was a bad decision of Capcom. First of all, the game consoles of 2 brands have different key board positions that makes a lot of old players uncomfortable with the new setting. Secondly, the low resolution of Nintendo 3DS made the game looks like a total different even down grade version. From the analysis above, we can understand that I’m the targeting client of Sony and may not feel a relationship with Nintendo even for the same game.


Brand Value

It’s very difficult to measure brand value. From the unit sales data of the game console market (2008 – 2016)[3] we can find that the whole market is shrinking. Nintendo shrunk from 53.56 million units in 2008 to only 6.66 million. While, Sony kept around 20 million. The market share chart provides a clearer sight that Nintendo’s market share was captured by Sony year by year.


Nintendo tended to open the market in a broader group, however the result didn’t show a success. Perhaps the traditional hard-core players are those who will keep on spending on the games and game consoles.




[1]Nintendo’s Strategy – the ongoing battle with Microsoft and Sony

[2]Capcom explains why the Monster Hunter series migrated to Nintendo 3DS

[3]Global unit sales of current generation video game consoles from 2008 to 2016


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