Study: Game Prices, Community More Important Than Story, Graphics

Two UK scientists have taken a look at the different factors consumers take into account when purchasing video games, and they may go against what is commonly assumed.

From NewScientist:

The pair analyzed game reviews to determine the most interesting features and how games garner good scores. Weak storytelling and lackluster in-game graphics had little impact, but pricing the game badly was a killer.

“Social aspects are also much more important than previously realized,” adds Beale. That may include multiplayer online options, or creating an experience the rest of the family will enjoy.

If this research is accurate, why does the marketing for games like Halo 3 ODST fail to mention social and multiplayer features

For example, the current Halo 3 ODST push focuses on the story of the ODST soldiers, which you can see in the embedded video below. The stunning trailer sets the mood but says nothing about the game’s actual multiplayer, a huge surprise given the original Halo 3 has been one of the top three Xbox Live multiplayer games since its launch . . . two years ago.

Are video game marketers missing out on communicating the most compelling features of their own products

The Selective Marketing Of The Beatles

Advertising Age  took a look at The Beatles from a brand and marketing perspective rather than a musical one, and highlighted the selectivity with which The Beatles brand is attached. The Beatles: Rock Band came up as a bit of a different project that did gain some marketing visibility (to the tune of a $20 million television campaign).

The Beatles: Rock Band,” for instance, launched last week […] including a TV commercial with the original Beatles images mixed into a crowded Abbey Road street scene created by MTV Networks with the help of RDA International. While MTV created the TV and two-minute cinematic spot released at the game’s announcement in January (with Passion Pictures), Apple Corps provided guidance and approvals along the way. PR firm Edelman has been working on the project since even before the game was announced.

Paul DeGooyer, senior VP-electronic games and music at MTV, said weekly meetings with Apple Corps focused on both the creative elements of the game and marketing from the very beginning. “Apple was involved every step of the way and the marketing keys off the game itself, which they were very happy with,” Mr. DeGooyer said. “What we ended up with is something very classy and meaningful to the Beatles [brand.]”

The selectivity has given The Beatles brand the rare opportunity to gain almost everyone s attention when a product comes out, and The Beatles: Rock Band was no exception. Appearances on The Today Show and The Tonight Show, a feature story in Time Magazine and a cover story in The New York Times Magazine are just a few examples of how that selectivity can pay off when the time comes.

More on this as we develop an exclusive the[a]listdaily feature looking into the brand and marketing behind The Beatles: Rock Band.

PS3: The Game Goes On

From AdWeek:

A mature campaign for Sony’s PlayStation Sounds like an oxymoron. But how else do you expand the audience for the PlayStation 3 Reduced to $299 and being positioned more as a media center than a mere gaming console, the PS3’s challenge is to appeal to moms, dads and even grandparents (gulp!) without wussing out and alienating hard-core gamers who undoubtedly would flame PlayStation into the next millennium if it came out with hokey ads.

Enter this work from Deutsch/LA, which sidesteps the usual violent, special-effects-packed graphics and sounds to focus on the simple, human and funny.

We’ve been following the massive rebranding of the PS3 as well as these spots from Deutsch/LA, and you can read our bigger analysis in last week’s exclusive the[a]listdaily feature.

AdWeek suggests the television campaign isn t the only place we ll see Kevin Butler, as an ambitious banner campaign is in the works for the end of the year:

The online Q&A campaign, yet to start, will allow PS3 users to submit their own questions to the Butler character via Webcam. He’ll be seen on one side of the screen as the questions are being asked and then, through very cool, synched unit banners, he’ll be shown on the opposite side answering them.

Just another sign that Sony may have finally gotten it right.

Dirt 2 Marketing Gets Dirty

From AdFreak:

Just when I got my panties unbunched from Electronic Arts putting a bounty on booth babes at E3, along comes this “Dirty Tats” site  for the Codemasters game Dirt 2. Yes, it lets you tattoo some ginormous digital boobs. I don’t think I need to point out that this has nothing to do with Dirt 2, which is a car-racing game. Dirt 2 itself is rated T for teens, but you have to be over 19 to play the advergame. Now, here’s the part of the post where I should get upset, but the thing is: The advergame is actually a lot of fun.

Take a look at the game by clicking over to and see if you can unleash your inner artist without worrying about the misogyny.

The original Dirt appealed to the rally racing fan with a very clean marketing campaign and critical acclaim. We have little doubt the sequel will be anything but high quality, but we re surprised at the marketing’s turn to the more stuntworthy, and will be interested to see if the style permeates its print and television efforts.

Scribblenauts Launches Early In NYC

Scribblenauts comes out this week to quite a bit of pre-launch hype thanks to an innovative gameplay mechanic that has gamers entering anything into its dictionary (say, Keyboard Cat) and then that object coming to life to try and help you through the game’s levels.

So an innovative game should get an innovative release event, and Scribblenauts did just that at the New York City-based Nintendo World Store this weekend. Developers 5th Cell were on hand to autograph the game, and consumers were allowed to purchase it a few days ahead of its official release.

Nintendo having its own retail location in NYC has helped these become somewhat regular opportunities for fans to connect with their hobby while giving Scribblenauts additional blog coverage and valuable word of mouth.

Music Genre Boom Is Over, Sales Down 46%

The music genre of video games has seen a massive drop off in sales, with the most recent NPD data showing a decline of 46 percent from this time last year. But there are some silver linings.

First of all, the genre is still the third-largest selling game genre out there, and secondly, the release of Guitar Hero 5 and The Beatles: Rock Band should give the genre a much-needed bump.

If you have a music game in the pipeline, there are a couple of tips to extrapolate from the glut of music genre stories from the past few months:

–    Stop with the instruments; they re already in people s homes, and they take up valuable real estate at retailers
–    Lead with your innovations; with Guitar Hero 5, they went with the amount of songs on the disc; with The Beatles: Rock Band, well, it s The Beatles; there are still lots of music genres that haven t been tapped yet, from funk to hip-hop and country

And, most importantly, be genuine when connecting with fans of the music in your game. Nothing’s worse than someone who wouldn’t throw a flag when seeing Kurt Cobain rapping through a non-Nirvana song — well, there s something worse, and that’s when the remaining band members start trashing your brand.

Microsoft About To Enter Portable Market?

Microsoft has been rumored to come out with a portable gaming system all their own to compete with the Nintendo DS, Sony PSP and Apple iPhone, especially after the latter managed to open up a huge market in just the past couple of years.

The news of the Xbox manufacturer getting into the portable scene is somewhat of a surprise, and the folks from Redmond are keeping details scarce (the only confirmation coming in just a brief mention in a Zune HD promotional video, embedded below).

Unfortunately, this begs a lot of questions:

–    Does the industry really need another portable
–    What challenges does this pose to your marketing plans as the number of platforms continues to increase
–    Sony has yet to succeed, so why would Microsoft have a better chance at it
–    And, last but not least, how many people do you know who own a Zune

While the Zune hardware is undoubtedly sexy, we are afraid of increased market segmentation, especially when Nintendo is already running away with the younger gamer demographic and iPhone is looking to take the older market, with Sony showing very few signs of life with the PSP.


If Hitler’s Angry, You’re Doing It Right

From BrandWeek:

Perhaps the most unlikely star of online videos these days is Adolph Hitler, or at least an actor playing him. The joke is simple: Get a clip of from the 2004 movie Downfall, in which Bruno Ganz as Hitler throws a tantrum in German, and superimpose subtitles about the news of the day.

In the YouTube age, if Hitler is pissed at you, you know you’ve made an impact.


For an example, here is an embedded video showing the scene of Hitler and his cohorts discussing the recent purchase of Marvel by Disney: