Games Influencing Marketing, Or Funware

Game design is starting to leak into all aspects of the way things are done, even in traditional work. In a book by Gabe Zichermann, CEO of beamME, he writes about incentivizing people to do things they wouldn’t normally do.

It’s a basic idea: taking something tedious and making it into a game. It has also attracted the attention of luminaries like Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins who thinks that Funware can change advertising because of how sticky games can be.

Zichermann notes that traditional ads are becoming less effective and certain old-school marketers are having difficultly adapting. With fewer people paying attention to 30-second spots and fewer young people watching television at all, new approaches are important. As an example of how game elements enhance a product, the Orkut social network rewards high usage users with a leaderboard, making it the number one social network in Brazil over Facebook.

Game makers traditionally have focused on hardcore tastes while marketers have thought about brands during commercial breaks, but  Zichermann writes that the brand can be the game, such as the NBC trivia game iCue, which uses old clips from shows.

Merit badges handed out to Boy Scouts for their activities is another interesting example, while one that gamers will be familiar with is Trophies and Achievement Points, which cost nothing but incentivize players to put more time into their games.

Source: VentureBeat

Sam Fisher’s ‘Gonna Cut You Down’

The hype is building for Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell Conviction and this latest trailer should definitely get fans excited. Featuring the music of Johnny Cash’s “God Gonna Cut You Down,” the video showcases protagonist Sam Fisher’s variety of stealth/action moves and it does a great job of setting the tone of Sam’s being on a quest for revenge. Ubisoft is looking to redefine Splinter Cell with this fifth iteration which ships on April 13. Check out the trailer below.


Twilight Prepares For Eclipse

Those of you reading this might believe that vampire franchise Twilight “sucks” (horrible pun intended), but there’s no denying the huge brand power of the IP and the massive revenues generated both at the box office and from DVD. The just released New Moon has already sold over 926,000 DVD and Blu-ray copies (more than double the sales of the first movie’s DVD debut). The teen and “tween” girls market should scream with joy for this new teaser trailer for Eclipse, the next movie in the series, which Summit is releasing this Summer.

Mario Creator Talks Big Influences

Legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto recently talked with CVG about maintaining excitement for the same game characters that have been around for decades and he also shared some of his personal influences. As it turns out, not only is the creator of Mario and Zelda a huge fan of The Beatles, but he also cites Peter Fonda as a big influence.

“Yes, I loved The Beatles – but when it comes to music, my particular taste is the American bluegrass music. I think bluegrass music was a great influence upon myself. When it comes to the pop culture in general, the movie Easy Rider was kind of a bible for our generation. I also saw the Stanley Kubrick Space Odyssey movie which was great also,” he said. “A writer or director like Peter Fonda, who made Easy Rider, must have had a great influence upon myself when I was young. I was living in Kyoto, which belongs to the Kansai region. In Japan – and in Kansai region particularly – when we were young there was tendency to love certain types of entertainment called Rakugo, which is one storyteller telling you sometimes a sad story, and sometimes one that would make you laugh very much.”

Miyamoto added, “I would also watch the Manzai – which is a comic duo or trio on the stage trying to make you laugh. Those kind of things, as well as Japanese cartoon culture must have something greatly influenced me, so much so that I really wanted to become a professional cartoonist when I was in Junior High. If we’re talking about the United Kingdom, I really like the Irish music like Chieftains and I like [UK folk band] Pentangle.”

Modern Warfare 2 Tops All U.K. Entertainment In ’09

When Activision Blizzard released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 last year, the game was an instant hit, setting records with its sales of $550 million in just five days and more than $1 billion by mid-January 2010. Now, according to new data from Entertainment Retailers Association in the U.K. (as spotted by MCV), the game can officially be crowned king of all entertainment across the pond for 2009.

The ERA said that the game sold an estimated 2,926,637 units in the few weeks it was actually on the market in 2009. That placed it ahead of other major launches like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which sold 2,193,700 copies on DVD in 09. The Top 10 entertainment sales chart is below, and two other games also made the cut: FIFA 10 and Wii Sports Resort.

Top 10 2009 U.K. Entertainment Chart (unit sales):

1. COD: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision) 2,926,637 game
2. Harry Potter Half-Blood Prince (Warner) 2,193,700 video
3. FIFA 10 (EA) 2,155,697 game
4. Quantum of Solace (Fox) 2,040,229 video
5. Twilight (E1 Ent) 1,815,543 video
6. Susan Boyle: I Dreamed A Dream (Sony) 1,714,369 music
7. Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo) 1,488,797 game
8. Lady GaGa: The Fame (Universal) 1,458,289 music
9. Slumdog Millionaire (Fox) 1,383,838 video
10. Transformers Revenge Fallen (Paramount) 1,362,020 video

Sony Launches PS3 In Philippines

Better late than never, they say. Sony has just launched the PS3 console in the Philippines, almost four years after the U.S. launch. IndustryGamers reports that the system went on sale in the region for 18,999 Philippine Pesos (about $418). That’s for the 120 GB version, while a 250 GB version also launched for about $463. Sony also launched its PSP-3006 system for 9,999 Philippine Pesos (about $220).

The PS3 business is finally hitting its stride and the cost of components has been significantly reduced, so now may be the perfect time to finally introduce the hardware into emerging markets like the Philippines. This is now the ninth Asian country in which Sony has launched the PS3. Sony also recently launched the PS2 in Brazil – some would say in order to combat the threat of a low-cost console from Zeebo. It’s fairly clear from these moves that Sony values growing its business in emerging markets.

How To Train Your Dragon Continues The Reign Of 3D

Further reinforcing 3D as a force to be reckoned with, family film How to Train Your Dragon took the top box office spot with $43.3 million. Meanwhile, Alice in Wonderland (another film leaning heavily on 3D) took in $17.3 million.

In the gaming sphere, Activision recently released a game based upon How to Train Your Dragon and it will be interesting to see how that fares. James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game, which shared 3D capabilities like the movie, did not initially fair well though the movie’s long term success ultimately helped lift sales of the game.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Will Wright Working On TV Series

Ever since Will Wright left Electronic Arts to work full-time on his studio Stupid Fun Club, people have wondered exactly what the game design mastermind has been up to. Wright’s openly talked before about his interest in robotics and the convergence of web, TV, toys and video games, but full details on his projects have never been revealed. And while those details are still forthcoming, IGN does reportedly have the first bit of concrete information on Wright’s next creation:  it’s a TV show called The Creation Project.

The show teams Wright with producer Albie Hecht, former president of Spike TV and Nickelodeon, and will leverage audience participation. “In essence, The Creation Project is a TV series about the creation of a TV series. What we’ve seen suggests users will submit story ideas online and via mobile devices. This will lead to the users than discussing the submissions and voting for their favorite. Finally, the winning storyline is actually produced and will air as two half hour episodes,” IGN wrote.

Godzilla Getting Legendary

Godzilla is one of the most iconic movie monsters in existence and he’s going to be returning to the big screen. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to develop and produce a Godzilla film, with Warner Bros. set to co-produce, co-finance and distribute. Original rights holder Toho is set to roll out the film in Japan.

Godzilla is one of the world’s most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise,” said Thomas Tull, chairman and CEO of Legendary. “Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop culturally relevant for as long as it has.”

While the 1998 Godzilla film was a financial success, it was panned critically and helped lead to a torpor of the franchise for roughly a decade. Legendary and Warner Bros. have teamed up on movies like Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Superman Returns, The Hangover, and the upcoming release of Clash of the Titans, so the track record is certainly there.

Godzilla is emblematic of the kind of branded, event films for which Warner Bros. and our partners at Legendary are best known, added Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

The new Godzilla is expected to release in 2012.

Videos, Social Media Popular Marketing Techniques

A Unica State of Marketing 2010 study is saying that video is the most used rich media marketing technique today. There are expected to be 20 percent more of these videos over the next 12 months, which occur in frequency (from most common to least common) as streaming media, YouTube, podcasts, and ads.

Additionally, Facebook and Twitter have seen a significant rise in activity for marketing. Nearly half of marketers indicate they have used blogs, product reviews, and other social media for promotion and another quarter say they plan to use it in the next 12 months.

Europeans are more reluctant to use social media for marketing than their American counterparts, although this area is expected to grow 30 percent in Europe during 2010 compared to 18 percent in North America.

Source: MediaPost