Tag Archives: video game marketing

New Killzone 2 Interactive Ad: Game Advertising Perfected?

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.

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FYI: MI6 Video Game Marketing Conference Hits SF Next Week

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!

corddryMI6

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

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The Sound of Sports Fans: In-Game Soundtracks and Beyond

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.

cyndi

youklis

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.

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Hello world! Andy Rosenberg here…

A few months before my graduation from NYU last May of 2008, I remember having a conversation with my Dad last February of 2008.  In short, it went something like this:

Joe Rosenberg (aka Dad):  So anything new on the job front?

Andy Rosenberg (me):  No, I am sending resumes out left and right.  I’m getting kinda nervous.

Joe Rosenberg:  Don’t worry, something will come along.  You have got a strong (and expensive)  degree in marketing and good experience through your internships.

Andy Rosenberg:  Yeah, I mean, if I don’t have something lined up by April, then I am really going to start freaking out.

Joe Rosenberg:  Look, you don’t have a family to support.  You can come back home and live with us until you find something.   The economy does not look like it’s going to be great when you graduate in May.  If you don’t have something by November, then you are going to have to figure something out.

At this point in the conversation, I laughed.  The thought of not having a job by November seemed rediculous.  I thought my Dad was joking.

I thought wrong.  In the immediate months leading up to my graduation in May of 2008, the economy pretty much tanked. My graduation, something that should have been a wonderful, momentous occasion, turned into the start of a long and tough road of “unemployment”.  (Are recent grads even allowed to call it that?)

It is now February of 2009.  I am yet to be fully-employed.  Do I fret?  Do I waive the white flag and surrender?  Do I throw in the…okay, you get the idea.  No.  I do not give up.  I start a blog!

It has not been all negative in my search for full-time employment.  In between interviewing, I have had time to re-connect with family, friends, and even learn how to fish.  Beginning in November of 2008, I was fortunate enough to start an internship (of which I currently am involved with) at a PR company that specializes in the video game industry.  This internship has been perfect for me, as it has brought to my full attention the path that has been chosen for me.  

I’ve been a gamer my whole life.  You name the console, I’ve owned it.  I’ve saved the Princess from Bowser multiple times, led many professional sports teams to numerous championships in franchise modes,  and more recently, went face to face with the R.R.O.D.  While unemployment has been hard, it has helped me realize that my true passion has been and always will be gaming, and I’d like nothing more than to put my degree in marketing and visual communications to work for a company in the video game industry.

You may be wondering why someone who wants to work in marketing (and not journalism), is creating a blog.  The fact is, while I am proud of my resume, which lists my qualifications and skill set, I hate the fact that a single piece of paper is supposed to represent everything I am to potential employers.  I’d like to think I am more dynamic than a .PDF or Word document, so I am bending the rules, and creating this site as a type of “virtual resume”.

That being said, I do plan to update this site with content related to my own personal opinions and views on the current state of gaming.  I’ve got a lot to bring the table, and whether you are a potential employer, a gaming enthusiast, or just someone in a similar position as me, I’d love for you to frequent my site and share in this experiment with me.

So, as I am used to signing off with every cover letter I send out,  “Thanks and hope to hear back from you soon”!

-Andy

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