EA Takes FIFA Soccer Door To Door

EA Sports is launching a nationwide demo tour for FIFA 10, reports MediaPost.  Sony is partnered on the tour, which showcases the multi-platform game on PS3.

EA is sending two branded vans with demos of the game and EA giveaways to cities along the East and West coast.  The tour is planning scheduled stops as well as impromptu demos using what it calls a renegade window, essentially a 32-inch TV that it can set up on a moment s notice.

The dedicated demo tour is an uncommon tactic for EA.  The publisher says a smaller tour in Europe that boosted FIFA 10 sales there prompted it to execute on the idea in the U.S.

Read more at MediaPost {link no longer active}.

A YouTube Take On Music Mash-Ups

Artist Kutiman says in his YouTube entry that the response to his homemade art project Thru-You has been overwhelming.   That s evident by the more than one million views on his videos.  Kutiman has taken the music mash-up to another level.  He’s created a funk album of sorts made up completely of spliced together clips of musicians he found on YouTube.  What sounds simple in concept is skillfully executed by Kutiman.  He doesn’t just edit together or overlay clips to get his funky sound, he manipulates clips the way a DJ scratches vinyl.

Kutiman has seven tracks totaling nearly 30 minutes of music recorded this way on his web site for Thru-You.  The track labeled About is a brief walkthrough of his technique.

Watch his video Mother of All Funk Chords at YouTube.

Droid Ad Swings And Misses

Ad Age says Verizon’s mysterious ad for its iPhone killer Android smart phone misses the mark on both messaging and targeting.  The copy-heavy ad starts by listing the iPhone s shortcomings, such as not having a keyboard nor being able to run applications simultaneously.  The list is set to upbeat music.  It then very suddenly segues into what looks and sounds like the opening sequence for a sci-fi movie to deliver only the product name, a November release date and a web site call to action.

The ad has been running during mainstream programming such as Major League Baseball playoff games.  Ad Age says the messaging, which it sees as too techie and ambiguous to begin with, is completely off the mark for the audience.  The iPhone Blog editor Rene Richie agrees, citing how an informal survey of her readers found most couldn t say what product the ads were pitching.

Watch it at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

Bad Creative Hinders Online Campaigns

Writing for Ad Age, Kunur Patel looks at a recent study by research firm Dynamic Logic on effective ad creative in online banner ads.  The firm analyzed strong and weak performers from its database of more than 170,000 display ads.  It concluded that ad creative can be anywhere from 50 percent to 75 percent responsible for success, looking at measures such as recall, brand awareness and purchase intent.

Dynamic Logic thinks the heavy focus marketers have put on measurement and metrics from online campaigns has affected the amount of attention they give to creative.  Patel lists the firm’s dos and don’ts for effective online creative, including how some common methods such as reveal ads just don’t work online.

Read more at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

Earning Beats Buying When It Comes To Spreading A Brand

Meteor Solutions CEO Ben Straley’s article for MarketingProfs is a great follow-up to the iMedia Connection article on viral triggers posted in yesterday’s [a]list daily.  Straley sees earned media , essentially viral and word-of-mouth branding, as a significantly less costly yet potentially more effective alternative to traditional advertising.  The challenge is creating and executing a compelling campaign and measuring results.  Straley provides his list of three essentials to an effective program.

Read more at MarketingProfs.

September Game Sales Decline Portends Things To Come

EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich sees September sales data for the game industry as cause for long-term concern, reports Industry Gamers.  Divnich says despite sales remaining flat in year-over-year comparison, last month’s sales were driven by the exceptional scenario of hardware price cuts.  Predictably, the price cuts prompted better hardware sales that added to the month’s bottom line.

However Divnich says the effect was short-lived and not as much a boost to software sales as expected.  Looking at September data he sees changes in purchase habits such as low attach rates and steeper than usual drop-off for sales of the month’s big releases such as Halo3: ODST and The Beatles: Rock Band.   Divnich calls these signs that a greater force such as the economy is weighing on the sector, and he expects a disappointing October.

Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Analysts Blame Disappointing U.S. September Game Sales On Music Genre

Analysts are blaming lower than expected game sales in September on the shrinking market for music games, reports Gamesindustry.biz.  U.S. game sales for last month remained relatively flat despite hardware price cuts and high expectations for the first crop of big fall releases.

Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter blames higher forecasts for the month on the buzz generated by MTV Games and Activision for their music games.  Pachter says the final tally for MTV’s Rock Band title were nearly half of the 1.3 million units his firm had forecast.  Guitar Hero 5 similarly underperformed, and Pachter thinks that Activision’s music sales could be down as much as 25 percent compared to last year.  Doug Creutz of Cowan and Company also blamed the music titles, as well as what he called disappointing sales for Microsoft’s Halo3: ODST.   He anticipates a 2.8 percent fall in game sales this year compared to 2008.

Read more at Gamesindustry.biz.

Famitsu’s Love Fest Extends To Xbox 360

Japan’s top game magazine Famitsu has given Sega’s hack-and-slash action game Bayonetta a perfect 40 out of 40, a first for a game available on 360.  The magazine’s rating system tallies scores from four different editors who score a game between one and ten, making a perfect 40 a rarity.  In reporting the story, Kotaku points out that of the twelve games that scored perfectly with Famitsu since 1998, six have come in the last two years.

Read more at Kotaku.

Eidos Franchises Get Star Treatment As Films

Film producer Adrian Askarieh shed some details about his film projects based on Eidos game properties.  Speaking to GameDaily, he confirmed Bruce Willis is on board as Kane for Kane and Lynch.   Rumors of Willis attached to the project had surfaced last summer.  The movie starts filming in March.

Askarieh is also working on a film version of Just Cause, a project he’s producing independently.  He sees next year’s Just Cause 2 game sequel firming up the property’s standing as a potent franchise.  He cites the game s reception at E3 as a reason he picked it up.  His excitement for Eidos sequels extends to next year’s Hitman 5, which he predicts will be the biggest seller in the franchise.  Askarieh is working on a sequel to the money-making Hitman film, currently in the screenwriting phase.

Read more at GameDaily.

Social Media Changing The Way Americans Play Games

Writing for USA Today, Jon Swartz covers the popularity of casual games on social media sites and how it might be indicative of a changing game market in the U.S.  The social game market is estimated at $500 million to $600 million.  Swartz talks to Think Equity analyst Atul Bagga, who sees that market doubling in 2010.

The movement is seen as in part driven by major game makers who ushered in casual games into the core game market, such as Nintendo Wii and Activision’s Guitar Hero.   Bagga says that while Wii set the stage and democratized social gaming, the internet opened it up to many who wouldn t normally play games.  Swartz points to gaming as the most popular category on Facebook and MySpace.  Currently eight games on Facebook have more than 12 million monthly active players, what Swartz cites as a bigger audience than World of Warcraft paid subscribers.  Most social games use a free-to-play model, and the head of one social media site estimates that popular games can generate as much as $5,000 a day.

Swartz’s piece highlights Zynga, Playdom and Playfish as three game makers currently dominating social media games, revealing their audience metrics and top games.

Read more at USA Today {link no longer active}.