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.
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.
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
When most people review sports games, much of the focus seems to be on controls, graphics, value, sound, etc. (and rightfully so). There is one aspect – which can be included under “sound”- that deserves more attention than it gets: in-game soundtracks.
Sure, the soundtrack to any game is important. In sports games, the in-game soundtrack plays an especially pivotal role in creating that ideal fan “environment” that us armchair quarterbacks desire. For the most part, today’s sport games do a fantastic job in aligning certain genres of music with different sport franchises. Madden typically features “hip-hop” and “alternative rock” artists. Fifa has a more eclectic, techno-fueled collection of artists. The NBA Live and 2K series each respectively feature a more urban collection of artists from the rap genre. All of these games match the in-game soundtrack with the energy of the sport, which in-turn helps enhance the fan experience of and interaction with the game itself
EA Trax really got the ball rolling in 2001, when EA recognized the potential in featuring up-and-coming artists in games. By being featured in such games, music artists have the opportunity to get exposure in a medium outside of traditional music promotional vehicles (radio, concert circuits, television). While radio and television might be crowded with competition, artists featured in the EA Trax program and other in-game soundtracks can reach millions of listeners and further extend their own brands by aligning with those in the sports video game industry. Cross-promotion FTW!
Today, consumers also have the opportunity to include their own music selections through custom in-game soundtracks. While I am extremely excited to have the entire Boston Red Sox lineup come up to bat to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” in MLB 09: The Show, I still prefer having the publisher of a game provide a collection of artists for me to listen to while playing. I guess as a marketing guy, I enjoy seeing what artists are chosen to help represent each franchise’s brand. As a music fan, I am also interested in being exposed to artists I might not be otherwise.
So to wrap things up, here is a list of my top 3 in-game soundtracks in sports video games:
3. Madden 2004
Notable standouts: Bubba Sparxxx -“Back in the Mud”, Outkast – “Church”, Yellowcard – “Way Away”
Okay, so I’m no music critic. And Bubba Sparxxx is not one of my favorite artists. But this song just worked on what was an excellent overall mix of hip-hop, alternative, and do i dare say, “emo”artists. Yea, I love me some hip-hop, but I am also sensitive.
2. NBA 2K9
Notable Standouts: The Cool Kids – “2K Pennies”, Beastie Boys – “Root Down”, N.E.R.D. – “Spaz”
Yeah it’s very contemporary and perhaps I should have gone “old school” and cite the awesome NBA JAM TE midi-inspired soundtrack. 2K9 features a collection of artists new and old here, a soundtrack I now use when warming up for my own pick-up basketball games. And you got to love The Cool Kids title track.
1. SSX 3
Notable Standouts: Thrice – “Stare at The Sun”, N.E.R.D. – “Rock Star (Nevins Club Blaster Edit)”, Fatboy Slim – “Don’t Let The Man Get You Down”
What??? As a huge Fifa fan, you might wonder how I could put together a top 3 without including any Fifa soundtrack. The fact is, I have never enjoyed listening to a licensed song in a game as much as I have since playing SSX3 a few years back. Shredding down a hill listening to Thrice’s “Stare at the Sun” made me actually feel like I was an awesome snowboarder. I’m not. But thanks to EA Big (R.I.P), I was able to pretend!
Honorable Mentions: Every Fifa Soundtrack. Honestly, overall Fifa is probably the most consistent in putting together a great range of artists to match the sport of soccer (or “football” as us footies like to call it). Even before EA Trax was started up, I loved opening the ’98 World Cup Edition to Blur’s “Song 2”. Wooooo-hoooo!
That’s all for now folks. As always, if you’ve enjoyed this article, spread the word.
So, having the awesome opportunity to attend this year’s GDC, here are a few quick things I’ve noticed so far.
1. A lot of business goes down outside the actual conference. Sure, the floor at the Moscone Center is filled with many companies in a variety of different areas in the gaming industry (publishers, developers, etc.). But for the marketers, business is being talked up at company parties, surrounding hotels, restaurants, and even on the streets directly outside the Moscone Center. Pretty interesting to observe.
2. Twitter has a huge role in GDC ’09. People are exchanging Twitter names left and right. Tweets from people attending keynotes have become frequent. You do not even have to be on the show floor to know exactly what is going on – the Twitterverse has you covered.
3. The economy is still a factor. For as many companies that are here, there are a lot of companies missing. Booths are not huge, parties somewhat scaled back (from what I have heard- as this is my first year at GDC).
All in all, this is still a very exciting event, and an amazing way to see how the gaming industry all converges and comes together for a week in San Francisco.
If I can get a site up and running, ANYTHING IS POSS-UHHH-BULLLL!!! Finally settled on “AndyTheGiant.com” Yeah, it is my GamerTag as well… 360 marketing all the way!
AndyTheGiant is up just in time for some live blogging from GDC ’09 next week. Hope your brackets are doing well!