AS LEVEL EXAM SECTION B INSTITUTIONS AND AUDIENCES Video Game Industry – Essay StructuresCandidates will be assessed on their ability to illustrate patterns ofproduction, distribution, exchange and consumption throughrelevant case study examples and their own experiences asaudiencesCandidates may cover the following material in their responses tothe question:• Production practices which allow texts to be constructed forspecific audiences• Distribution and marketing strategies to raise audienceawareness of specific products or types of products• The use of new technology to facilitate more accurate targeting ofspecific audiences• Audience strategies in facilitating or challenging institutionalpractices
Discuss the ways in which media products are marketed and distributed, within a media industry you have studiedIntroduction:Explain how marketing and distribution are vital elements in launchingany new media product.Explain you’ll be analysing BOTH AUDIENCE (the consumer) ANDINSTITUTIONS (the companies)Describe the media industry you’re focusing on and the two verydifferent media products (Wii Sports on the Wii/Braid on the XBOX 360)Paragraph One – Analysis of Wii Sport Institutions: • Describe Nintendo (multi-national company, hardware and software manufacturer etc) • Describe their audience and the types of games they create • How did Nintendo market Wii Sports – include worldwide focus, millions of dollars spent, use of celebrities, aimed at whole family, family friendly, cross-media advertising (magazines, TV, Internet) etc… • How was Wii Sports distributed – not sold separately (explain why), bundled with the console (explain why), not able to download (why), released across the world, first released in Japan then America and rest of world (why Japan first). Explain it was very successful (quote sales figures)Paragraph Two – Analysis of Braid Institutions: • Describe James Blow and Braid (individual programmer, designed at home for $180000, Microsoft allowed it to be put on to Xbox Live Arcade, etc) • Describe Braid’s audience (very specific, male teenagers/men in twenties (why) • How did Microsoft then market Braid – compare to Nintendo! Only advertised on Xbox Live Arcade, reviews in magazines promoted game, only advertised in magazines when it became popular, very little money spent, • How was Braid distributed – Not available in shops as a packaged game, only as a download on Xbox Live Arcade (why), cost of game, compare to other games on Xbox Live arcade (did it do better or worse).Paragraph Three – Analysis of Wii Sport Audience: • Describe Wii Sport Audience
• Focus on how it was marketed to a specific British audience – what celebrities were chosen and why, times on TV (prime time slots, family audiences), adverts in mainstream magazines (not just games magazines), prime time radio slots, built up interest in gamers by pre-releasing details of console/game before release. • Focus on how it was distributed to a specific British audience – Only bundled with game so created audience interest (free game, better value), excellent way of demonstrating new control system, family orientated games so everyone could play, etc…Paragraph Four – Analysis of Braid Audience: • Describe Braid Audience • Focus on how it was marketed to a specific British audience – Compare to Nintendo! Audience liked technical, difficult games, non-mainstream title attracts these gamers, like a club of friends, games blogs promoted game, social networking sites promoted games (fans marketed it!) • Focus on how it was distributed to a specific British audience – Only available online so easy to but for audience, Xbox Live Arcade used mainly by hardcore gamers (the target audience!), easy to share (recommend by friend, download straight away),Conclusion:Sum up main points: • Both games marketed and distributed very differently, but both succeeded • Both games marketed and distributed unlike many games on market Mass media for Wii Sports, specific audience for Braid). Explain how media products are consumed by audiences in a media area you have studied How important are new technologies in targeting specific audiences, focusing on the media industry you have studied?
LEVEL DESCRIPTORSLevel 1Explanation/analysis/argument (0-7 marks)• Shows minimal understanding of the task• Minimal knowledge and understanding of institutional/audience practices – generalopinions or assertions predominate• Minimal argument evident, with little reference to case study material• Of minimal relevance to set question or a brief response (under one and a halfsides of answer booklet)Use of examples (0-7 marks)• Offers minimal use of case study material• Offers a limited range of or inappropriate examples• Offers examples of minimal relevance to set questionUse of terminology (0-3 marks)• Minimal or frequently inaccurate use of appropriate terminologySome simple ideas have been expressed. There will be some errors of spelling,punctuation and grammar which will be noticeable and intrusive. Writing may alsolack legibility.Level 2Explanation/analysis/argument (8-11 marks)• Shows basic understanding of the task• Basic knowledge and understanding of institutional/audience practices – factualknowledge will have some accuracy• Basic argument evident, with some reference to case study material• Some relevance to set questionUse of examples (8-11 marks)• Offers some evidence from case study material• Offers a partial range of examples from case study and/or own experience• Offers examples of some relevance to the set questionUse of terminology (4-5 marks)
• Some terminology used, although there may be some inaccuraciesSome simple ideas have been expressed in an appropriate context. There are likelyto be some errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar of which some may benoticeable and intrusive.Level 3Explanation/analysis/argument (12-15 marks)• Shows proficient understanding of the task• Proficient knowledge and understanding of institutional/audience practices – factualknowledge is mostly accurate• Some developed argument, supported by reference to case study material• Mostly relevant to set questionUse of examples (12-15 marks)• Offers consistent evidence from case study material• Offers a range of examples from case study and/or own experience• Offers examples which are mostly relevant to the set questionUse of terminology (6-7 marks)• Use of terminology is mostly accurateStraightforward ideas have been expressed with some clarity and fluency. Argumentsare generally relevant, though may stray from the point of the question. There will besome errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar, but these are unlikely to beintrusive or obscure meaning.Use of terminology (0-3 marks)• Minimal or frequently inaccurate use of appropriate terminologySome simple ideas have been expressed. There will be some errors of spelling,punctuation and grammar which will be noticeable and intrusive. Writing may alsolack legibility.Level 4Explanation/analysis/argument/theory (16-20 marks)• Shows excellent understanding of the task• Excellent knowledge and understanding of institutional/audience practices – factualknowledge is relevant and accurate• A clear and developed argument, substantiated by detailed reference to case studymaterial
• Clearly relevant to set questionUse of examples (16-20 marks)• Offers frequent evidence from case study material – award marks to reflect therange and appropriateness of examples from case study and/or own experience• Offers examples which are clearly relevant to the set questionUse of terminology (8-10 marks)• Use of terminology is relevant and accurateComplex issues have been expressed clearly and fluently. Sentences andparagraphs, consistently relevant, have been well structured, using appropriatetechnical terminology. There may be few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation andgrammar. EXAMINER’S COMMENTS ON EXAM When commenting on video games many candidates prefaced their answersby talking extensively about the interactive, multi-use nature of games consoles,talking about internet access for multi-user play, and free game downloads, aboutfilm viewing via DVD/BluRay and storage for music, video and pictures. Certaingames were popular like GTA which related how cinematic graphics and freeroaming game play allowed the convergence of genres – racing & gangster to makesuccessful products. There were some popular and positive responses by candidateswith focused case studies, such as Grand Theft Auto 4 & Rockstar games.Candidates were able to comment on GTA franchises and the relationship with theNintendo Xbox and the Sony PS3. The Nintendo Wii was a popular source ofevaluation in relation to the question set. Good answers contained detailed information concerning the use of newmedia technologies in the development of games, institutional distribution andmarketing. The distribution discussions in the better candidates’ responsesconsidered how social networking sites were utilised in the pre-publicity of the gamesrelease. These answers also used terminology to enhance their points; consideringsynergy, convergence and audience expectations. Candidates appeared to havebeen fully briefed on the need to place their product in both an institutional andcultural context. There were some very encouraging responses to this question. Moreable candidates referred to the online capabilities of the consoles, which allowed forcredited marks. The majority of weaker responses focused on a particular piece of gamingsoftware such as Call of Duty 4 or Halo 3. With such a narrow focus it was thereforevery difficult for candidates to address technical convergence. As a result candidateswrote at length about the game play, the marketing and release dates withoutmentioning technical convergence.