Games Marketing


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A brief look a marketing in games - past, present and future.

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Games Marketing

  1. 1. Games Marketing<br />Initially when the games industry was in its infancy games marketing tended not too focus on the game’s graphics – mainly as they were not as eye catching as they are now.<br />Atari VCS2600 packaging<br />Original Pong Box<br />
  2. 2. There was often a discrepancy between the box art and the graphics…<br />E.T. (1982)<br />Gauntlet (1985)<br />
  3. 3. This ‘hiding’ of graphics still goes on today…<br />Call of Duty 2: Finest Hour was released in 2005 with this advert that didn’t represent the game actual graphics despite the fact that they weren’t that bad.<br />Then EA got into trouble by using Xbox 360 visuals when adverting the Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09.<br />360 Version<br />Wii version<br />
  4. 4. Then here’s the X-Men Legends 2TV advert and here’s what the game looks like.<br />X-Men Legends 2 (2005)<br />
  5. 5. Then there was marketing directly aimed at the adolescent boy market that existed during the 80s and 90s.<br />The beat-’em-up Barbarian came with a free poster of Page 3 stunna Maria Whittaker with it. Also that’s Wolf from Gladiators on the front. This wasn’t an inclusive way of marketing and perpetuated the idea that games were only for a certain demographic.<br />
  6. 6. There also many instances of ‘synergy’ with spin off cartoons, movies and pop songs.<br />Sonic had his own Saturday morning cartoon.<br />The Nintendo endorsed The Wizard starring Fred Savage came out in 1989.<br />Pokémon became the phenomenon it was due to the success of both the games, cards and the cartoon series.<br />
  7. 7. Today games companies are far more sophisticated and eager to show off their graphics, often in abstract or interesting ways such as this Gears of War advert.<br />Also you still get challenging and controversial adverting such as this Xbox advert from 2002 and this 360 one from 2005. Both were banned.<br />
  8. 8. Now however the console makers are keen to market their hardware as more than just games machines. This is to expand the market and attract new consumers.<br />Nintendo’s marketing strategy is more focused on the users and some feel more like a denture advertisements.<br />Mario KartAnt and Dec do Wii Fit<br />Sony are pushing the technological convergence of the PlayStation with their The Game is Just the Start campaign.<br />Microsoft have done a similar thing with for their 360 marketing.<br />
  9. 9. Marketing has gone beyond conventional print and TV campaigns due to the amount of time potential consumers spend on the internet. <br />There’s banner and trailer advertising on both mainstream and specialist websites.<br />Most new games have their own website containing new assets and updates on development<br />
  10. 10. Social Media (new technologies, media convergence) is also playing a huge role in marketing campaigns. <br />Most games have their own Facebook page and twitter feeds making contact with consumers far easier and more direct, such as this Call of Duty page.<br />Apps are designed to promote interest in the game such as this Red Dead RPG. This is a great example of viral marketing as consumers actively gets their social network to join up.<br />
  11. 11. For the release of Splinter Cell: Conviction publishers Ubisoft created this Facebook page for the Third Echelon, the fictional black-ops organisation the games’ hero, Sam Fisher, works for. Fans were encouraged to update any ‘sightings’ of Fisher.<br />Sam Fisher even has his own ‘spoof’ twitter feed so you can keep up with his day to day activities.<br />
  12. 12. Other examples of this online viral marketing can be seen on the Just Cause 2 official website. Here you’ll find a banner ad for the fictional local paper for the island of Panua, the setting of the game. <br />Scrawled onto the paper is a url for the fictional journalist Robert Carter’s blog.<br />This in turn leads to Carter’s flickr site.<br />The idea is that as the consumers have discovered all this stuff themselves, they will feel ‘ownership’ of the information and be more inclined to pass it on to peers and friends.<br />
  13. 13. There’s apps that can be downloaded for Facebook that inform your friends of every new PS3 Trophy or 360 Achievement you receive in game, which is almost automated viral marketing.<br />Then there’s social networking appearing in actual games – racing game Blur allows you to access twitter in game so you can inform followers about events or lap times.<br />In Just Cause 2 you can capture 30 second highlights and update them to Youtube just using the in-game options menu.<br />
  14. 14. The latest marketing tool is called ‘augmented reality’. It’s a technique that allows real world items interact with virtual items. This has been used in several games magazines where a symbol is show up to a web cam that activates the (downloaded) augmented reality software and suddenly still images become animated.<br />Esquire recently did a whole augmented reality issue with a cover that sprang to life and loads of advertising that became animated.<br />Esquire’s Editor explains how it all works here.<br />This is great example of old and new media coming together (media convergence) to create a new experience, but there’s loads more uses for augmented reality than just making mags come to life.<br />
  15. 15. Point of sale marketing is changing as well. Rather than offering free gifts such as soundtrack CD or T-shirts, now consumers can get virtual items that can be used in game. For Red Dead Redemption consumers can get several different items depending on where they pre-order the game.<br />Pre order at Game and you get the The Deadly Assassin Outfit – that causes your Dead Eye meter to regenerate at twice the speed.<br />Pre-order at Amazon to get the Golden Guns Weapon Pack that gives you more in-game ‘fame’.And pre-order at HMV to get the The War Horse which is stronger and tougher than other horses.<br />This is all downloadable content that can be accessed by a use-once code, so if consumers pick up Red Dead second hand they won’t be able to download the content a second time. This is an attempt to get consumers to pay full price for new copies rather than for pre-own items.<br />
  16. 16. Downloadable content is becoming increasingly important for games marketing as can be seen by the $50 millions Microsoft paid Rockstar to get exclusivity for the GTA 4 DLC – Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony.<br />In EA’s FIFA World Cup 2010 several player celebrations can only be downloaded using a code obtained from certain Coca Cola products. This is an interesting example of synergy.<br />Ubisoft are taking an interesting stand point by allowing all DLC to be available to both consumers who buy their games new or pre-owned as they see value on being on the consumers ‘side’.<br />