I found this in my inbox today and had to post it. I might have to become a Cavs fan until Lebron arrives here in New York. Enjoy.
Monthly Archives: April 2009
Last week, San Francisco managed to squeeze one more video game conference out: the MI6 Video Game Marketing Conference. EA Sports President Peter Moore addressed a crowd eager to hear how EA Sports is planning to tackle the emerging casual market. Now, for the hardcore fans of Madden, Fifa, etc., Moore explained that the future is bright (did you expect him to say anything else?) The more interesting aspect of Moore’s presentation was its focus on targeting the casual market.
The casual market, which has been a cash cow for Nintendo this generation, is one that EA Sports looks to go after as it readies itself for the release of EA Sports Active, a Wii Sports/Fit competitor that offers one thing that Nintendo couldn’t to soccer moms, grandparents, and well, anyone else who owns a Wii – the EA Sports branding.
As Venture Beat reports:
” The average player of EA Sports Active will “probably be a woman, 35, with two kids at home,” who wants to stay fit, Moore said. Someone from the team demoed the game on-stage, quickly playing through a running game, a boxing game, and more. EA Sports Active will be customizable, both in the type of sports you play and the intensity of the workout, and it will include a a stretch band, as well as a tool for attaching part of the Wii remote to your leg (so it can track track the movement of your whole body). But why would someone play this instead of Wii Fit? Moore compared the difference between the two products to that between eastern (Wii) and western (EA) fitness. Whereas Wii Fit emphasizes things like proper form and balance, EA Sports Active will “make sure you actually risk breaking into a sweat.”
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? By going after the casual market, EA Sports will have a chance to profit off of a consumer base that is (going by the success of Wii Sports) eager to implement gaming into its “lifestyle”. I think this is a smart strategy by EA and a great opportunity for them to extend the EA Sports brand name. Here are my only concerns.
While I am all for introducing new users to sports video games, I am not quite comfortable with having titles such as EA Sports Active, Wii Fit, etc. try to position themselves as tools for exercise. I’ll admit, I have not seen enough of EA Sports Active to make a judgment as to whether Peter Moore’s claim that the title will induce “sweat” is true or not. I have seen Wii Sports and Wii Fit in action, and let me tell you, you aren’t looking like this after a few rounds of Wii Boxing:
Second, as someone who looks forward to every new detail in the more hardcore EA Sports titles, I am a bit concerned that by focusing on the casual market, EA may take some attention (and resources) away from new Maddens, Tigers, and Fifas. I hope EA Sports can give the appropriate attention to its loyal consumer base that it deserves. Will the casual 35-year-old Mom with two kids appreciate improved physics and enhanced QB vision as much as a “Maddenite” would?
I’ll be keeping a close eye on EA Sports Active and am hoping that in the end, both the hardcore and the casual are satisfied. Because who doesn’t want to look good in spandex, right?
So folks, updates to the site have been slow this week (at least you have that awesome MLB 09 review to read over and over again). But this is all for good reason – I am no longer an intern, but a full-time video game professional! That being said, I look forward to continuing this blog and I have big things coming up (can anyone say podcast, videos, etc.?). Of course, a lot of these updates will occur on weekends now, because, well, I have a job 🙂 . Oh, and all views on this site are my own! Thanks for all those who supported me in and out of the industry as I searched for full-time work in the industry I love.
For now, enjoy some Kanye, who was a major influence in getting me through the dry spell.
Hey, it’s been a bit of a rough PR week for Sony. We all know by now that the PS2 is the target of a long-rumored price break originally thought to be intended for the PS3. While a $99 PS2 would have been awesome back in 2002, it’s fairly easy to say that Sony has some work to do in convincing the gaming public that PS3 is a great platform for… wait for it… wait for it… gaming.
Today, Sony takes an excellent step in the right direction. Releasing over the PSN network today, Behind the Bullet is a free download which essentially turns a 30-second commercial into a three minute interactive experience. The Bullet Journey ad, featured for a while now on U.S. television, follows the path of a bullet during a battle between the ISA and Helghast (yes, I am a huge Killzone 2 fan, so it may get a little nerdy soon). The ad, a joint project between Guerrilla Games and Deutsch, is impressive not only in how it manages to display the scope and drama of a battle in Killzone 2, but also for the fact that it uses the Killzone 2 in-game engine entirely. No CGI folks, so we don’t have to rehash any E3 arguments. Let’s not go there.
Now players get to take control of the advertisement through the download on PSN. Viewers of the ad will be able to manipulate the camera to follow the bullet. In addition, the interactive ad will feature highlighted scenes and commentary from the director and visual artitsts involved on the project. Breaking through the clutter of traditional advertising, Behind the Bullet lets users become part of the ad. This creates a whole new level of immersion, and in a day and age where user-generated content is all the rage, Behind the Bullet lets the viewer become the director. This form of interactive advertising promotes a level of user engagement that fits very well with the gaming audience it intends to reach.
Are there any flaws to this approach in advertising? Well for one thing, this ad is more targeted for those who already own a PS3. After all, you need to have access to the PSN in order to view it. This may not sell consoles immediately, but it should help promote Killzone 2 and extend its user base. This in turn should help boost the positive word-of-mouth marketing already going for Killzone 2. And since Killzone 2 is a PS3 exclusive, ultimately Sony has to hope Killzone 2 is the “killer app” that will push PS3 off shelves. In a market crowded with excellent games and under tight economic constraints, games no longer have to launch as system-sellers. The “Halo effect” perhaps is a phenomenon that died last generation. Now, more planned-out, longer campaigns, such as the launch of the Behind the Bullet over a month after the release of the game, can be more effective in promoting and selling games and consoles.
I could easily see sports video games taking a similar approach in interactive advertising in the future. Who wouldn’t love to follow the pigskin as in lands in the hands of a receiver for a Superbowl-winning touchdown grab? In any event, I’m excited to download this today and try it out for myself. Killzone 2 has been just as compelling to play as any sports game this generation, and my hunt to secure a 1:1 K:D ratio (uber-nerdiness time) is all but .02 away from success (for those not so good at math, it is at .98 right now). I don’t need to be sold on Killzone 2 and PS3, but many in the gaming world still do. Sure the PS3 is not $99, but Sony is trying new things with advertising, something that anyone in this industry can respect and in my opinion, emulate in the future.
For anyone who doesn’t know yet, San Francisco hosts the MI6 Video Game Marketing Conference on April 8. The website does a better job at summing up what the conference is all about than I could, so here’s an excerpt.
With a focus on how marketing drives the fundamental monetization of Video Game IP, The 4th Annual MI6 Conference will explore new and innovative ways game publishers, studios, and consoles are increasing revenues across traditional and non-traditional spectrum.
From driving retail and digital sales, to brand partnerships and integration; from hard-core to casual gaming, MI6 will arm game marketing professionals with the ideas, inspiration and information to help their companies maximize the value of their products.
And check out this awesome list of panelists:
Quincy Smith: CEO, CBS Interactive
Kai Huang: President and Co-Founder, RedOctane
Christoph Hartmann: President and Founder, 2K
John Pleasants: President of Worldwide Publishing and COO of Electronic Arts
Oh yeah, and Rob Corddry will be hosting MI6! FTW!
Yours truly, fresh off and still somewhat recovering from GDC, is going to attempt to make it out to MI6. For anyone remotely interested in video game marketing, this seems like a great opportunity to explore the business behind the sports games we love.
For more info, check out: MI6 Conference