How EA Sports Is Changing Video Game Marketing

Ad Age has a great article on EA Sports and its efforts to change the marketing of video games from the traditionally seasonal path to one that is much more perennial.

From Ad Age:

n 1999, EA Sports, publisher of the Tiger games, ramped up ads and PR for about six weeks before the game launched and for a few weeks after, with typical gamer-magazine print and sports TV buys. Today EA Sports develops a marketing plan for each platform and type of content and runs it all year.

“The cycle for marketing has changed. We call it “the Tiger 365 experience,” and it’s every day, 24/7, whether that’s in the living room, while on the train or while in the office on a conference call,” said Craig Evans, EA Sports director of marketing. “The fire and fanning mentality just won’t work anymore.”

The article goes on to discuss different methods of distribution and expansion for each game, begging the question of whether a subscription model is appropriate for EA Sports franchises (it is).

Cost of goods are also factoring in, as development becomes more expensive and can easily be mitigated by downloadable content charged at low rates.

Hipster Warning: New Beaterator Commercial

Rockstar Games is releasing Beaterator, a new PSP game that allows you to become the DJ with beats and music provided in part by music producer-extraordinaire Timbaland. Cool concept, but we wonder if it translates in their latest trailer, embedded below.

Jason and his friends are on their East Village stoop, PSP in hand and very visibly dancing the the blips and bloops coming out of the system’s tiny speaker. Jason is obviously very enthusiastic about the game, his well-coiffed hair spiking up even further to the sky as if it had come alive thanks to Beaterator, his black-rimmed glasses shining just a bit brighter. And it’s clear now to all watching that, no matter how cool the execution is, Jason is first and foremost an actor. If our marketing is supposed to lean towards the genuine, we’re worried that a trailer like this does more to tag the Beaterator brand as, at best, cheesy and, at worst, fake. What do you think?

Reimagining The Future Of Digital Games Distribution

From Technologizer:

For the most part, I’ve viewed this as a good thing, but an editorial by Jim Sterling at Destructoid today gave me pause. Entitled Fearing the future of digital distribution, Sterling argues that digital distribution, for all its convenience, will come at a price. Game publishers will dominate the marketplace, Sterling writes, offering no refunds, no used game sales and no accountability whatsoever, merely because they can. I disagree.

Author Jared Newman goes on to discuss how the argument doesn’t hold water when given the fact that the level playing field will allow for competition that will factor in the actual quality of those games when consumers are looking to purchase online. He also discusses the incentives retail shops have in their arsenal that just aren’t readily apparent through digital distribution.

Downloads won t dominate unless consumers endorse the idea, and that requires incentives. Without a reason to go digital for instance, better value over a hard copy, or rewards for loyalty consumers will stick with Gamestop. Publishers, in turn, won’t fully commit to digital because there s no market for it.

Unless those bonuses happen to be digital . . .

[more at Technologizer]

Will Pre-Order Bonuses Save Games At Retail?

Joystiq details the exclusive goodies given with pre-orders of Sony s MAG, an increasing trend in trying to seal the deal months in advance.

From Joystiq:

GameStop has the S.V.E.R. soldier contractor for offer while Game Crazy is offering the Raven recruit — we’re not sure why, but Sony’s keeping the wraps on where you can pre-order to receive a Valor grunt.

Reserving the game via Amazon will grant you access to your very own S.V.E.R. “personal space” (read: apartment) in PlayStation Home. If you want the most alluring incentive, however, it’s back to GameStop for access to the public beta of MAG beginning October 10. (Qore subscribers will be let in on September 17.) Initially, the beta servers will only be online during specific play windows, but Sony has confirmed that they’ll be up-and-running 24/7 after November 9.

Sony is trying the pre-order stunts with their upcoming Ratchet and Clank sequel on PS3, and is an innovative way to get people into stores to pre-order those games. The trend has been increasing in recent months, and is something to keep in mind when starting a pre-order campaign, although you risk alienating stores by offering better items to larger chains (like Gamestop).

Dante’s Inferno Gets Virtuous

Dante’s Inferno is one of EA s biggest releases this year, and one of their new IPs that borrows an awful lot from the likes of God of War.

The Hell-themed game has had its share of marketing stunts as well, like giving away booth babes ( Dinner, booty, more. ) at San Diego Comic Con.  So their latest is tame in comparison.

EA is partnering with Gamestop to offer a devilish $6.66 off the game if you pre-order today.  Retail price is $59.99, so the savings is nice for gamers while giving a cheeky nod to the game’s theme.

Ex-Rolling Stones Guitarist Slams Music Games

From NME:

The Rolling Stones’ former guitarist Bill Wyman has slammed music simulation video games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band, claiming they are causing fewer people to take up learning real instruments.

The criticism comes today (September 8) the eve of the release of ‘The Beatles: Rock Band’ computer game, which allows players to play along with the Liverpool legends’ back catalogue through their consoles.

“It encourages kids not to learn, that’s the trouble,” Wyman told BBC News. “It makes less and less people dedicated to really get down and learn an instrument. I think it’s a pity so I’m not really keen on that kind of stuff.”

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason shared in the sentiments, saying kids would be damn good at playing the guitar if they practiced a real instrument as much as they do the plastic ones.

The love affair with The Beatles: Rock Band is culminating in today s release of the game, but having these rockers slag off music games could put a slight damper on things.

Or does it? They may look like old luddites and jealous rockers, especially in context of the huge push given the game in recent months.

Resident Evil Movies Keep On Coming

From Bloody Disgusting :

While Sony Screen Gems is prepping for Resident Evil 4: Afterlife, the 3D sequel slated to arrive in theaters August 27, 2010, Bloody Disgusting has learned exclusively (and confirmed) that the studio is already looking forward to the fifth film. While Milla Jovovich is confirmed for Afterlife, it’s got to be getting expensive and (increasingly) difficult to keep her onboard, even though she is married to producer Paul W.S. Anderson. Instead of moving forward with the ongoing story, the studio is planning a quasi-reboot, which is tentatively titled Resident Evil Begins.

The combination of horror and Jovovich s star power has given Resident Evil consistently strong showings in its first three installments.  The fourth should prove interesting with the 3D take on things, and the fifth sets up a possible annual return for the series on the silver screen.

So that s five movies with future installments most definitely planned off of a series that is less popular than other games-turned-movies Doom and Super Mario Bros.  Good work, Capcom and Sony Pictures, in leveraging the horror fad with the right demographic and filmmaking, along with games that keep the series on people s minds.

Video Of The Day: In The Can

A new ad out of DDB takes a candid approach of having people discuss their experiences of getting it in the can. And in the can, we mean in the butt. No, no, we mean in the can, Bud Light Lime, in the can.

From Ad Age :

Crude ads are, of course, nothing new in the category that brought the world the “Swedish Bikini Team,” but they’ve been a bit scarce since Miller Brewing Co.’s bottom-scraping use of bikini-clad mudwrestlers in a 2003 “tastes great, less filling” brawl.

Controversy followed that commercial as protestors said the ad objectified women, so we can t imagine what kind of response this one will bring. DDB and Bud are keeping this online only, hoping it will generate some nice viral buzz for the Bud Light Lime brand.

AFK: Borderlands Goes Christian Bale On You

The trend is continuing, with Internet memes being referenced heavily in viral marketing pushes for video games.  Today s AFK brings you Borderlands take on the whole Christian Bale episode several months back as he was berating a crew member on the set of Terminator Salvation.

Is it just a little late with this reference   Gotta give them props for trying.