Madden Kicks Off Cowboy’s Stadium Football

Kotaku reports: {link no longer active}

PlayStation and EA Sports invited more than 200 fans to the NFL’s newest stadium on Saturday to battle it out on Cowboys’ Stadium’s big screen, which has been the scene of video gameplay before. The event played out during the Cowboys’ appreciation day for their season ticket holders. About 10,000 fans were expected to attend while the Madden tournament played out on the Godzillatron – the world’s largest 1080p hi-def screen.

Madden NFL 10 was the game in question and it was played on a PlayStation 3.  Tournament winners were given free PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable systems.

Could you think of a better way to promote this month’s upcoming Madden release in the heart of football?   Wish we were there.

Bioshock 2 Beach Event

We reported on this one last week, and if you were able to make your way to one of 11 locations around the world, you were able to pick up some cool swag to promote the 2010 release of Bioshock 2.

Beachgoers who followed directions given to them by 2K earlier in the month were treated to dozens of bottles in the sand stuffed with posters from the game.  For those of you living under a rock, Bioshock takes place in a city called Rapture deep in the ocean, and its sequel is one of the most anticipated games of next year.

We appreciate the effort in getting gamers up (some as early as 5 a.m.), and we’re sure their fans appreciate the gesture, especially with some of these bottles going for almost $100 on eBay!

[Pics on Kotaku] {link no longer active}

Snickers In Madden: Too Much?

Kodak {link no longer active} reports:

In the cinematic opening to every game in Madden 10, the team logos slam to the turf, game-of-the-week style. Then comes the Snickers promo. “Prepare for CHOMPETITION.” OK, I – forgive me – Snickered at that the first time.

Then boothman Tom Hammond pipes up, informing us that this broadcast is sponsored by, of course, Snickers, and to “play like a CHOMPION.” And as a final reminder at the coin toss, Snickers tells us “CHEWS WISELY.”

All of this follows a Snickers ad on the loading screen. For sports fans who like stats, that’s four direct advertising messages, three of them puns, before you even snap the ball.

Sprint and Burger King also have in-Madden advertising, but what bothered Kotaku writer Owen Good about the Snickers integration was how the game’s announcers joined in the action, questioning whether or not paying $60 for a game was enough to not be inundated with advertising.

Maybe there’s a way to release for-pay DLC to turn off a game’s advertising, or to not make it too integral to the game experience (although the recent Wipeout HD loading screen ads weren’t accepted too happily). Does he have a point, or is this just par for the future course of game marketing?

Need Xbox Avatar Ideas? Here’s 137

This week s Xbox 360 Dashboard update will mark the opening of the Xbox Avatar Marketplace, where Xbox Live members will be able to purchase clothes and gear for their avatars.

Marketers need to take note that this is a very innovative way to market your game s brand to a highly-engaged audience.  Xbox Avatars were once looked at as quick knock-offs of Nintendo’s popular Mii characters, but Microsoft has done well in integrating them in more ways, including in games like 1 vs. 100, and on the system s dashboard itself.

If you want some idea of what gamers are going to look at this week, Kotaku has a gallery of 137 shirts, pants, toys and more that should be helpful.  This should give you some ideas when it’s time to outfit your audience.

[lots of threads at Kotaku]

New Games TV Show Launches On Bravo

With casual gaming showing continued revenue and traffic strength compared to its console video games older brother, it should be no surprise an upcoming TV show is focusing on just that demographic.

Game Face is a new game TV show just launched on Bravo in the UK, and its key audience will be those gamers who play from time to time, either on a console, an iPhone or a PC.

MCVUK reports:

As well as working with partners such as Bravo, Ginx TV describes itself as being the first international 24/7 TV channel that turns video gaming into mainstream entertainment TV .

By taking the rich production values of many games today, using the story line or game objective, Ginx creates a TV production from a TV viewers point of view, [said programming head Peter Einstein].  We feel this concept provides a fun, entertaining TV event which is appealing mostly to the casual gamer.

Based on the segments we’ve watched on Bravo{link no longer active}, the show has a very G4 vibe to it that.  That doesn’t exactly corroborate going for a non-hardcore audience, but we’ll see how the show develops over the next couple of months.

Nintendo CEO Disappointed By E3 Presser

E3 is the biggest video game show in the world, but the days right before the conference are the most important for a number of larger publishers.  The pre-E3 media briefings are the first opportunity these companies have to really show off the goods, and it seems one company in particular was disappointed in its ability to wow the crowd with its wares.

From GoNintendo: {link no longer active}

[Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata:] As for the media briefing at E3, of course we had many internal discussions after that. Honestly speaking, none of us at Nintendo thought that our presentation at E3 was as good as it could have been. It is apparent that we could not fully convey the charm of our products.

In the past, Wii Sports and Wii Fit were naturally able to convey their appeal on stage since it was something no one had ever seen or imagined before. People seemed to capture the appeal of Wii Sports instantly and although there was some initial confusion with Wii Fit, its appeal did get through to the audience afterwards.

This year, however, with the New Super Mario Bros. Wii, four people lined up with Wii Remotes was not a scene that no one had ever seen. Those who actually had the chance to play understood how the game would change with four people playing simultaneously, but we could not address that fun sentiment at the media briefing.

Now we strongly feel that we need to look into finding a better way to demonstrate the products appeal better at E3 in these times where more people are watching it online via web cast not only in the U.S. but all around the world, than the number of audience who actually watch it in the theatre.

Too often, the video game industry markets to its own audience, its own peers, and the usual suspects.  Nintendo is admitting some guilt to allowing this bubble mentality to affect its pre-E3 performance last year, and we should see some significant changes next year so its wares are marketed a lot more effectively to the consumer at home.

To their credit, Sony and Microsoft have both launched E3 hubs with downloadable video and select demos from the show floor in an effort to bring the show to their consumers, and we expect that marketing trend to continue.

Twitter’s Audience Isn’t That Young

If you’re looking for an audience predominantly under 25 years of age to market to, Twitter may seem like today’s obvious choice.  Only one problem: it isn’t.

For all the hype the microblogger gets, only 16 percent of U.S. visitors to Twitter were under the age of 25.

Business Insider posts an interesting chart (shown right) showing how, in general, Internet sites average 25% in that age category, with Twitter showing weakness in that valuable demographic by 36 percent.

Video Of The Day: Guitar Hero Rubik

Today’s video of the day comes to us from YouTube, where an intrepid Guitar Hero player wants to show off by playing Ozzy Ozbourne’s “Mr. Crowley,” on Expert level, while solving not one but two Rubik’s Cubes.

We can’t even do one of those things alone.

AFK: Mario In Crochet

Michelle Rheaume is a crocheter who is a huge fan of Mario and his pals, and her work has made it online for anyone to see.

If you crochet like me (why are you laughing?), she even has patterns available for Mario, Luigi, Tanooki Mario and more.  And if you don’t know how to do it, she sells toys she makes herself out of her patterns.

This goes to show you that, no matter what the medium or method, fans of video games will always find a way to show their geek pride.  Next up we want to see a paper machete Bowser, okay?


[Michelle Rheaume flickr]


Social Media And Its Impact On Videogame Advertising

Recently Razorfish released their study The Razorfish Social Influence Marketing Report . There is some tremendous information contained in this report. One major development is their attempt to create an industry standard measurement device called, SIM Score (Social Influence Marketing). They have defined this metric to mean two things:

The total share of consumer conversations your brand has online = REACH
The degree to which your consumers like or dislike your brand when they talk to each other online = CONSUMER SENTIMENT

They measure this by scouring the web and conducting online surveys. In essence it really boils down to how favorable your brands opinion is versus its industry standard. Is an online survey the proper method to determine this metric For the game industry how do we set an industry benchmark It just won’t be clean since we have so many variables that make up our product offerings; genres, platforms, distribution methods, online vs. offline etc. There is just no way Wii Fit can be benchmarked against World of Warcraft.

So while Razorfish should be commended for their attempt to get marketers to start measuring the impact of social media and their SIM score might work for the auto industry or the financial sector it just does not work for our industry.

So what metrics should we hold our social media efforts up against to measure their success or failure and determine their ROI Our consumers are some of the most vocal and social media advanced consumers any industry may have. Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg for gamers. There are thousands of conversations going on about your game right now on thousands of websites, blogs, forum posts, instant messenger clients, mobile texts, playgrounds, college dorm rooms, mothers groups, retirement communities you name it.

The answer to the initial question about how to measure all of this is not answered simply with just one new data point on your media plan.

Really the most important thing to recognize in our industry is that these conversations exist. That’s the first step. The next step is figuring out how to influence these conversations. This part is really not that different than what we have been doing for years now. Influence is something we have always strived for in our ads. What changes is that now your message is not just absorbed and recognized as delivered, it s discussed, debated and shared.

The [a] list summit this year has a panel discussion hosted by Scott Steinberg that is set to talk about this topic. Publishers are experimenting with all sorts of strategies of how to influence the discussion. The panel members will share their attempts, some successful some not so much.

The theme for this year’s event (which I spoke about last week) has a lot to do with this discussion. Providing value in your social media message goes a long way towards influencing the sentiment positively. One sure fire way to get the discussion going and have people talking excitedly about your game is entertaining them.

The net net is that social media is here and your consumers are using it. There are tremendous opportunities that exist for game marketers to efficiently distribute their games message via these channels for very little money. The truly successful campaigns will be relevant, entertaining and discussion worthy.