RED DEAD REDEMPTION REVISIONThis handout is to be used in conjunction with the Red Dead worksheets you filledout and the Red Dead Prezi that can be found here http://tinyurl.com/6axflzkIt’s not the complete answers or completely exhaustive but hopefully it should giveyou an idea what you should be talking about in you exam.What you must do is push yourself to think of the significance or consequence ofeach aspect of production and use of a concept.So don’t just say ‘Rockstar used RAGE to make Red Dead’ – think why is thissignificant. So ‘Rockstar used RAGE to make Red Dead which allowed them tomake incredible looking graphics, which in turn help them market the game andmake it stand out from the competition.’TECHNOLOGYRockstar made use of:Playstation3, Xbox 360RAGEEuphoriaThe internet for gameplay, updates and for distribution (digital distribution only afterthe main release, however).Internet for marketing.Innovative way of creating and recording the music.Use of social media (Facebook) for the Gunslingers.Technology not made use of by RockstarOnline streaming (OnLive, Gaikai). What would be the implications to the businessmodel if they did?Mass online distribution. The main launch was still a packaged good.If you get asked a question about digital media technology remember that videogames are by their design a ‘digital technology’. However, the way they used to bedistributed (in carts, on discs) or marketed in ways that weren’t digital.MEDIA OWNERSHIPWho owns what in videogames? Licenses, brands, technology, software, hardware,the intellectual property (IP). What effect does this have on the industry.Rockstar are owned by Take Two. While Rockstar make the majority of their ownbudgetary and creative decisions it is Take Two’s stock price that is effected by thesuccess of Rockstar’s games. Interesting fact that shows how dependent Take Twoon Rockstar, 2010 is the first time Take Two recorded a profit in a year that a GrandTheft Auto wasn’t released – this was thanks to the performance of Red Dead.Rockstar own the developers, Rockstar San Diego, so won’t have issues over who
owns the Red Dead IP and who can make money from it.Rockstar own the Red Dead brand (after purchasing the name and original gamefrom Capcom) therefore they don’t have to pay any license fee to any othercompany to use their IP.Rockstar have created all the content within the game therefore there is no issueregarding using other companies IP.The technology Rockstar used to create the game was primarily RAGE, which istheir own game engine. This mean they don’t have to pay to license this software offanother company, however it would have cost them a lot of money to create RAGEin the first place.As Rockstar created and own RAGE, they have the RAGE support staff in-house,therefore any technical problems can be solved quickly. This helps in development.If Rockstar had to wait for outside support this could cause delays.Rockstar did use NaturalMotion’s Euphoria animation engine, so would have had topay to license to use this software.MARKETINGDuring the marketing phase Rockstar used their own website to continually updatepotential consumers about the various features of the game. The cost of this wouldhave been relatively low unlike having to pay for coverage on other company’s sites.DISTRIBUTIONRockstar do not own the consoles Red Dead is played on – the PS3 and the Xbox360 - Sony and Microsoft do respectively. Rockstar have to pay these companies touse their systems to run their games. The actual cost isn’t known but it is between$3 to $10 per game sold. So if a game is sold for $40 the console manufacturerstake a chunk of that.EXCHANGERockstar own their own online shop so they don’t have to split any revenue earnedfrom sales from that particular outlet. However, other retailers (HMV, Amazon) willusually buy each unit for approximately £30, but taking into account the cost ofgetting the product and point of sale marketing, the publishers will only see around£16 of this. That’s why digital downloads are so attractive to publishers as they takethe retailer out of the equation.CONSUMPTIONOnce it is in the customer’s hands you could argue that they now ‘own’ the product.However, they are not allowed to whatever they want to do to the product – forinstance those gamers who hacked Red Dead and unlocked all the feature werebanned from playing Red Dead online.
Consumers can claim ownership of the product in more theoretical sense by using itto create other experiences – this could be through using it as inspiration for fan artto creating Machinima movies with the game.Some other issues with Media OwnershipPublishers have to pay for ‘licenses’ from other intellectual properties such as films(Bond, X-Men, Spider-Man), sports stars and events (FIFA, Tiger Woods), cardesigns (Gran Turismo), TV shows (X Factor), songs Guitar Hero. These all costmoney – more you spend on licensing that may attract sales, the less you have fordevelopment.Developers allow consumers to access their technological IP - Valve who makeTeam Fortress and Half Life give fans access to their development tools so they cancreate their own maps and games.Apple allows developer to get the Apps Software Development Kit (SDK) for free sothey can make Iphone apps (but then take 30% of the revenue).With OnLive or Gaikai publishers may not have to split the money with retailers asconsumers will just stream their games over the net hoThere can be disputes between developers and publisher about who owns the IP.The developers may have created the game, but the publisher legally owns therights to the ideas. E.g. Infinity Ward created COD: Modern Warfare, but thepublishers Activision own the names and the game. They recently had a falling out,the Infinity Ward wikipedia page explains it well.MEDIA CONVERGENCEWhat happens when different types of media come together? What newexperiences do we get? What are the advantages?DEVELOPMENTRockstar created their own soundtrack for the game, one that used traditionalinstruments, but is unlike other types of music (soundtracks, pop music) as it isdynamic – changing tone and intensity depending what the games player gets thegames characters to do.Due to the convergence of games and the internet Rockstar had to create amultiplayer option for Red Dead Redemption. This means more work for thedevelopers and the support teams to monitor the online servers, but creates morevalue for the consumer.A positive for games and internet converging for the developer is that they canrelease new content and sell it to the fans enabling them to get more revenue ratherbasically the same game (see Red Dead’s DLC).
Media convergence affects the way producers and consumers interact – this can beseen in how Rockstar were able react to consumer grievances to the game by fixingproblems with the game with numerous downloadable updates.MARKETINGRockstar combined gaming and Social Networking to create their Gunslingersgame, that used Facebook to spread word of their game.The viral marketing used convergence so you had information on old mediamarketing (building mural, magazine articles) being spread by new media: fan blogs,websites and social networking.Rockstar collaborated with Hollywood movie director John Hillcoat to create a 30minute film that used the games engine from the game. This is movie expertise andstorytelling, combined with videogame technology and eventually broadcast on TV.CONSUMPTIONMedia convergence affects the way producers and consumers interact. Consumerscan now create content from the game (mods, machinima) and share it with otherconsumers thanks to the internet – therefore becoming producers themselves.Consumers can play against the developer (Rockstar) thanks to the Social Clubevents.Great example of the power of cross media convergence – FarmvilleWhen games and social media meet you get games such as Cityville, Farmville etc.And they can only exist because of media convergence as they are:Distributed via FacebookMarketed via Facebook (predominately through Facebook paid for ads and viralmarketing) Consumed (played) on Facebook.The gameplay is also dictated by social networking as it’s all about showing off yourfarm to friends on Facebook. Proof that media convergence can change theindustry. SYNERGYThe interaction of two or more agents (media organisations or products) to ensure alarger effect than if they acted independently.Synergy is primarily a marketing strategy designed to maximise the amount ofcoverage and impact of any exposure the brand/product/game etc will get at specifictime, but it can also be seen in terms of distribution and production.PRODUCTIONRockstar had to develop two versions of the game – for the PS3 and Xbox360 – inorder for a simultaneous release. That meant they had to tweaked their game to suittwo system and get approval for their from two companies (Sony, Microsoft), this
would have created more work and cost more money than if they were making agame for one console at a time. Releasing games simultaneously on differentformats is a costly process.MARKETINGSynergy can be achieved in marketing by releasing information over a number ofdifferent media types simultaneously – to maximize the impact. So for the first lookat Red Dead, Rockstar released a trailer, organized a weeks coverage with websiteIGN and did a feature in the magazine Game Informer. These three different typesof coverage all came out at the same time.Then for each new trailer or update on the official website new images and art workallowing different news sources to produce coverage.Rockstar used synergy by collaborating with other artist such as director JohnHillcoat for the short film and music artists such as Jose Gonzalez for the music. Byworking together they both benefited – Rockstar get more ‘artistic credibility’ andGonzalez and Hillcoat have their work exposed to new audience. Also the presscoverage for the collaboration helps spread the word about Red Dead.The short film was premiered on US and UK television at the time of the launch.Rockstar used synergy with their marketing with the retailers, namely HMV, Amazonand the US retailer Gamestop. All the voting for extra content that consumers got forpre-ordering the game help promote not only the game itself but also the retailers. Aperfect example of two agents coming together and both benefiting.DISTRIBUTIONSimultaneous release means that the distributers have to organise discs andpackaging for thousands of copies of the game, for the various formats. Logisticallyand financially, this is a big undertaking. If successfully done it can lead to a bigopening weeks. If not it can lead to shortages (consumers frustration) or (if the gameis unpopular) masses on unsold discs. (Because of this, digital distribution(downloads, OnLive) is an attractive option for publishers as they wouldn’t have tocreate as much boxed copies.)At the time of the launch Rockstar also main other products available for launch.The official soundtrack was available to download from iTunes.Rockstar launched the Red Dead clothing (T-Shirts, shirts ) on their own website.Other issues with synergyIf games are released to coincide with the release of a film/TV show, this brings itsown problems: a strict deadline that can’t be avoided. You can’t have the HarryPotter game coming out six months after the film.Some examples of effective synergyThe Rio version of angry birds.Coke and FIFA collaboration for the 2010 World Cup (see marketing powerpoint).
PROLIFERATIONWhat are the problems/positives of having loads of games and game machines?Positives for institutionsLots of different consoles give chance for innovation (DS, Wii, etc) – make differenttype of games.The fact that you can play games on the phone and internet mean smallercompanies can make different types of games and not compete with the console bigboys.Games developers/publishers can create content for numerous different machinesand so not controlled by the console manufacturers. (like they were by Nintendo inthe 80s).Negative for institutionsThey have to spend more on marketing and advertising – as there’s so much othersimilar content out there. (Just think of all the Call of Duty style games out there.)This is particularly a problem for social games and iphone games as there’s somuch content out there.Pressure to sell means that it could result in less risk and less innovation (give thepublic what has sold before – just get loads of sequels).Have to create different types of games for the different machines (GTA4, GTAChinatown War – also there’s over 9 different versions of FIFA 1, all have to becreated)Positive for consumersMore choice.Competition keeps the price down.Can play games wherever you want – phone, home, on the go, on Facebook.Negatives for consumersConfusion – what console do I buy? Which motion controller do I get (Wii, Kinect,PS3 Motion)? This can lead to consumers losing interest. Have to buy severalmachines to get all the different games. Issues for Rockstar and Red Dead RedemptionBecause Red Dead was such as big and technically complex game it could only beproduced for the two most sophisticated consoles the PS3 and 360. This meansthey are not able to sell their product to a huge part of the games playing market(DS, Wii, PC, PSP etc owners).An advantage for Rockstar was that there were very few (if any) cowboy games outthere, therefore Red Dead stood out in terms of originality. However, the draw backwas that this might suggest there wasn’t a demand or consumer appetite for acowboy game.
TECHNOLOGICAL CONVERGENCEWhat is the significance of having digital devices/platforms that can play games andconsoles that have other uses.Lets look at the main three consoles:PS3 – DVD, Blu-Ray player, can store digital information (photos, music, films, TV),BBC Iplayer, web browser, PS Home, PS Store.360 – DVD, Xbox Live store (download, films, music, demos, new games), webbrowser, connect to friends through facebook, Last FM,Wii – Virtua Console (download old Nintendo games), online play, web browser,Iplayer.All these machines are now ‘home entertainment centres’ as they can play differenttypes of media this is significant: It opens up the market – consumers who mightwant a Blu-ray player might get the PS3 as you can also play games in, whileotherwise they might not have invested in just a games machine.It positions the games machine in the lounge (family room) rather than in thebedroom. Now the console is a family possession and encourages family to invest infamily games (Mario Kart, Wii Sports, Singstar, Kinect).The most significant part of technological convergence is fact that all these consoleare online which allows for:Online playOnline sharing of ideasDownloading new content and new games.Also it allows for most of the media convergence.Now lets look at digital devices/platforms that now play games mainly i-Pod Touch,i-Pad and Smart Phone.This opens up a huge new market for games companies as there is a limitedamount of people who would buy a handheld machine that only plays games (DS,PSP) but nearly everyone has a phone that can play games. Because of thistechnological convergence everyone who has a phone is a potential gamer.As mobile games are often simple and cheap to make (compared with consolegames) this allows small, independent developers to make money from makinggames without the need for publisher funding or worrying about the cost ofdistribution. (This is much the same as developer creating content for Xbox LiveMarketplace and the PS Store).
CONSUMPTIONHow have yours and others gaming habits changed due to the changes in theindustry?Where do you get your games?Still from the shop?Do you download?Stream online?Get them through piracy?Where you do play your games?In the bedroom? On the bus? In the lounge?Who do you play your games with? Your mates? Your mates online? Strangersonline? With your family? On your own?What do you do you make the game your own (become a ‘prosumer’)? You couldcustomise the game (costumes, levels, types of games played)? Do you createcontent and share it with others? Do you modify the game?Other stuff to mention Machinima – making films from games e.g. Red vs Blue, thecontributions to Rockstar TV.Cos-Play – dressing up as games characters, role playing and using games tocreate fan fiction etc.Modification – modifying game code to create new types of games.Professional gaming – playing Starcraft has almost become a sport in Korea