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Production Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-cars, often shortened to SARPBC, SARP or Battle Cars, was developed entirely on the Unreal 3 engine. The free engine, developed by Epic Games, is utilised in literally dozens of other current-gen games – most notably the Gears of War series and Unreal Tournament 3. The game took three years from initial conception to final product. During this time, the game developed from its initial idea of a game where you battle in an arena with cars (hence its name) to the car football game you see today. The game has enjoyed relative success, with developers claiming that the game is one of the most played PSN downloadable games, and is played more than even some fully-fledged Blu-Ray games. The game is available exclusively on the Playstation Network online store, and cannot be bought either on other consoles (or PC) or on disc. There were three maps which shipped with the original copy of the game: Urban, Utopia and Wasteland. However, updates have doubled this numberto bringthe total to 6. Due to complications with Sony’s European Playstation department (SCEE), the game was delayed by a huge four months in the EU; the US’ October 8th release was far before Europe’s February 12th. Psyonix’s first standalone title. Other than this, Psyonix makes its money from doing contract work in games developed by other companies. Their most notable contract work was developing a map in Epic Games’ Gears of War.
Marketing Due to a tiny budget, the game’s marketing relied solely on the internet. No TV adverts, no banners on popular websites, Interviews,gameplay trailers, and forum posts have all been used to raise awareness of the game, but its most used marketing technique is viral marketing. Due to having an in-built replay upload feature, anyone with the game can upload a replay directly to YouTube. This means that there are videos of the game’s gameplay all over the internet (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sarpbc&aq=f) . The replay feature ties viral marketing with word of mouth advertising. Both free, both effective. The game was revealed in September 2008 on the popular gaming website Joystiq. Announcing it through such a website meant that their target audience would see it, due to already being on a gaming website. Updates have been released in order to keep the game fresh and relevant. Every time Psyonix releases a new patch or a map, the game receives free marketing on gaming website. Free maps both strengthen their brand’s loyalty with its customers and advertises it to potential new ones.
Distribution There are many reasons that SARPBC was a PSN only game. Due to wanting creative freedom, developers Psyonix chose to release their game through themselves, not with the help of a publisher. Self-publishing wouldn’t have been an option if Psyonix had to pay for distribution etc., so the online only model worked perfectly for them. DLC has been released in the form of patches. Naturally, these are online only as well. The game was released with an in-depth demo. This was to show potential customers that buying the game was a risk worth taking. Being a new, not yet trusted games company, consumers may be reluctant to take the risk of purchasing a game from them. The demo shows this would-be customer that the game’s quality is of an acceptable level. It also shows the customer that the developer has full faith in its product; they are not afraid that letting people play their game will put them off.
Exhibition The game has received a niche following since its release. This is partly due to gameplay clips being shareable online through websites such as youtube. This means that, as well as the game obviously being playable on a television through a Playstation 3, any interesting goals can be uploaded. This increases the longevity of the game as players strive to get more and more interesting looking goals. Aside from being online, the game is almost impossible to see. It is nowhere near TV advertisements or billboards, due to the small budget of the developers and the niche market their game appeals to.
Consumption The game is available exclusively on the Sony Playstation 3. It is not available on the Playstation’sBlu-Ray format in any form. This cements the game as a ‘pick-up-and-play’ game; it is easy to start, maximising its appeal to customers of all ability and age, but mastering it is very difficult. This steep learning curve is one of the game’s unique selling point. There are no aim-helpers online, just raw physics, making the game extremely challenging.