THQ: We’ll Do Better Next Time

From Joystiq:

Though “pleased” on the game’s sell-through, THQ CEO Brian Farrell told a conference call on Tuesday, “I’d give us a B on the launch of Red Faction: Guerrilla. […]  Farrell said, “We’ve shipped more than one million units of this title to date” and reported that “the game was a top 10 best seller in the US and UK in June” but admitted that THQ could have done a better job “creating day one demand.”

“We moved the title a couple times, that doesn’t help,” Farrell confessed. “I’m very pleased with a lot of the strides we’ve made recently but that doesn’t mean we can’t do some things better.”

Red Faction: Guerilla is a Metacritic darling, with a cumulative score of 85, making it one of the top rated games in recent months.

Unfortunately, the THQ marketing machine wasn’t on the case as bloggers and video game sites did most of the heavy lifting thanks to the game’s high quality.

We reckon a better marketing push focused on the game s action-packed premise would have bolstered sales much further, but we re glad to see Farrell challenge his company to do better next time.

NBA Allows Ads On Jerseys

From The Hoop Doctors:

Word is starting to spread this week that the NBA this season will be allowing teams to accept advertising offers to place advertisements on their practice jersey’s. There has been no information yet on the regulations that would govern where and how many ads an NBA team would be allowed to put on their practice jersey’s. It seems the league wants to use the practice jersey’s as a beta program for gauging their overall comfort level with allowing ads on the game jersey’s.

How long before video games permeate this ad space, a la FIFA

Ford Markets Taurus For Men

From Ad Age:

The new Taurus driver, said Mike Crowley, Ford’s marketing manager for large cars and SUVs, at the model’s marketing launch held this morning,” is driving it every day as a personal reward.”The revitalized Ford flagship brand aspires to be more than just functional; it wants to be “bold,” “something [drivers] look good in” and “fun,” Mr. Crowley said.

If you remember, this is similar to the Nintendo DS Lite packages that came with a Tiffany-blue case and a copy of Brain Age, or a rich, earthy case with a copy of Personal Trainer Cooking.

These are exceptions to the rule, but can video games tailor whole products to specific genres, taking a note from Nintendo’s recent DS and Wii Fit efforts

Nintendo DSi Launch Slower Than DS Lite

Kotaku reports:

Sales in the “Americas” for the DS Lite from the day it hit here on June 11, 2006 to the end of September were 2.23 million units. While Sales in the “Americas” for the DSi from the day it hit on April 5, 2009 to the end of June were 1.56 million units.

That means the DS Lite sold on average about 20,000 units a day at $130 a pop during the 112 days of that reporting period, while the DSi sold on average about 18,000 units a day at $170 a pop during the 87 days of it’s reporting period.

Could it be the higher price with the weaker economy leading to these slower sales figures?

Our hunch is it s a combination of that plus the fact the Nintendo DSi isn’t significantly better than its DS Lite predecessor to make players plunk down another $170.

Plus, has anyone seen a killer app for the DSi yet? Not saying that it isn’t coming, but as always, software rules the world, even when you have Beyonce in your corner.


Nintendo Enables Facebook

Nintendo and Sony have done absolutely terribly this generation in trying to connect with users in more ways than just traditional retail games.

One way Xbox 360 has stepped up to the plate in connecting with users is through Facebook and Twitter functionality, both of which have been shown off and are headed for a pre-holiday global launch.

Thankfully for Microsoft’s Japanese competitors, Nintendo is starting to get it by enabling users to log into their Facebook accounts.

Unfortunately, instead of seeing it as a Wii channel, it’s available for the Nintendo DSi. The disappointment doesn’t stop there, as the functionality is available only for the Japanese market.

The three console makers, huddle up. You need to understand that today’s gamer is very different than before.

Nintendo, you re targeting the mainstream user and are a market leader, way to go. But before you get too cocky, understand that all of those 18-29 year old males with tons of disposable income will be the ones who buy a lot more software than Wii Sports Resort. Those cats are, by and large, on Facebook and Twitter, so let’s get a move on.

Sony . . . first try to get your chat system to work, then we can talk about Facebook and the importance of social networks in today’s society.

Microsoft, just come out with this stuff quicker. The demographic is fickle, and while you move faster than the other two, it’s not fast enough.  Who’s to say Facebook won t be this year’s MySpace (which was the previous year s Friendster, which was the previous year s Geocities).

Go, team, go.

Sony Feeling The Pain


The company sold approximately 1.1 million PlayStation 3’s during the quarter and 1.3 million PSP units, compared to 1.6 million and 3.7 million, respectively, for the same period last year. Sales of the ageing PlayStation 2 reached 1.6 million for the quarter.

The PlayStation 2 is still Sony s saving grace, with sales of PlayStation 3 still underwhelming thanks to its high price and a lack of blockbuster titles.

PlayStation 3 currently retails for $400 while its older brethren, the PS2, goes for a much friendlier $99. Sony, isn t it time for a price cut

September is the timeframe most experts expect a price cut, coupled with a new, less expensive model of the PS3, rumored to be called the PS3 Slim. But price is only half the battle.

The best (and, some would say, only) chance Sony has is with the release of God of War III, and to couple a significant drop in console price with this hotly-anticipated AAA title. Unfortunately, the game isn’t due until Q2 2010.


Video Of The Day: Naked Always Wins

Our video of the day comes from the streets of Santa Monica and advertises an upcoming music-based game. Which one? We have no idea.

And it’s not because we re distracted. Okay, maybe a little.

The video just advertises a Facebook page for one of the, ahem, models, and we expect all to be revealed soon. Our best guess is Microsoft’s Lips 2 for the holiday season, but does it really matter

Highlight Value And Spend Big = Win Big

From Ad Age: {link no longer active}

“For brands taking the initiative, it’s paying off. We’re seeing that in the buzz numbers,” he said, citing much-talked-about campaigns such as Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunters” series and KFC’s promotion with Oprah Winfrey. “[The numbers] indicate that those people who are being risk takers have the potential for a big payoff.”

What is the common theme between those two campaigns and other successful ones from brands such as Best Buy?   Value, value, value.

These campaigns were initially criticized for focusing too much on the bargains consumers were told they would get with these brands, but it seems like it s paying off.

Evony Spoofed By PopCap

Evony is a free-to-play browser-based MMO with a banner campaign that harkens back to the ubiquity of those annoying X10 webcam ads of yesteryear.

The ads, analyzed recently by Jeff Atwood, have a very particular style, and one that’s become a bit more, shall we say, male-targeted in recent months.

Now the folks at PopCap are taking the bet that you ve seen these ads, and will get the joke they’re making with a new web advert for Plants Versus Zombies.

If you’ve seen Evony before, this is very funny.  If not, you can at least appreciate the long shot laugh they’re going for.  Reminds us of that Slap Chop video we posted yesterday.

[Thanks, Bruce On Games]

Analysis: The Marketing Of Wii Sports Resort

After generations of trying to regain the magic it had as the number one console maker with the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo placed its remaining hope on a 5-in-1 sports game. Who would have thought that, without a Mario hat in sight, Wii Sports would not only save the company from irrelevance, but make Nintendo a market leader once again.

Now that Wii Sports has sold over 45 million copies, Nintendo has the unenviable task of trying to follow it up with Wii Sports Resort, a sequel that isn t packed in with every Nintendo Wii. Not only that, but the game requires use of (yet another) Wii accessory, the Wii Motion Plus (included with every game).

Potential brand confusion coupled with recent consumer apathy in video games make this a bit of an uphill climb, but Nintendo started earlier this year laying the groundwork at E3 2009.

Introducing Wii Motion Plus

Nintendo has never held itself to be a high-tech company. The cutting edge tech behind the Nintendo Wii is at least several years old, and the surprising acceptance and adoption of the Wii had competitors Microsoft and Sony introduce their own motion peripherals, some of which are leap-years ahead of Nintendo.

So Nintendo headed off that concern at this year s E3 with the introduction of Wii Motion Plus and the new Wii Sports Resort. Here is the promotional video they showed to press in attendance.

What you see there is Nintendo trying to flip the tables and remove the notion that it was not interested in being on the cutting edge. The slick production and association with several of the games featured in Wii Sports Resort laid the foundation for consumer acceptance. It showed the new peripheral, it showed how people used it, and it showed how games were more sensitive with it. Most importantly? It looked like a lot of fun!

This led to long queues in front of the Wii Sports Resort portion of Nintendo’s booth, with thousands of players getting a chance to play the new basketball, archery and table tennis mini-games. Nintendo’s instructors calmly led journalists and other attendees in how to use the Wii Motion Plus effectively, including how to calibrate it and use it with other peripherals (like the nunchaku). Of course, it helped that the game was a lot of fun in action, and Nintendo allowed attendees to spend ample time at their booth getting acclimated to the action.So the initial formula was simple: cool, high-tech introduction video, lots of play time with a fun game, and thousands of excited bloggers writing about the awesome new Wii Sports Resort.

Beachlife In Times Square

Now that Nintendo had the gaming blogosphere atwitter with news about Wii Sports Resort, it was time for a big mainstream push, and Nintendo executed their next move beautifully. They took over the center of the universe, Times Square, and turned Military Island into its own personal beach. Wii Sports Resort branding and kiosks were everywhere, and fans and tourists came around to see what the fuss was all about. Again, here was Nintendo, engaging its consumers face-to-face by allowing them time in front of the fun, new Wii Sports Resort. Throw in a little celebrity action (Chace Crawford), invite a bunch of press and voila, you’re today’s top story.

Long Summer Days

Wii Sports Resort’s timing is as important as its initial launch period, and Nintendo is benefiting from a dearth of notable games in the first half of the year. With summer upon us, you now have lots of bored kids out of school, itching for something to do.

This makes Nintendo’s follow up television commercial perfect, both for the season and the demographic. It shows the familiar Mii characters in Wii Sports Resort events, along with people having fun (Wii Motion Plus in hand). The summer theme is in full effect here and, coupled with a familiar brand in Wii Sports, makes this a perfect introduction for those players who have a few bones to spend.

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And for that demo that just doesn’t watch television anymore, Nintendo has an Internet campaign that strikes the same chord.

{link no longer active}

Already A Hit

A game like Wii Sports Resort benefits from having a long tail, much like Wii Play, a game that has racked up 23 million units sold (largely thanks to a Wii remote being packed-in).

So far, the early education of Wii Motion Plus and how it relates to Wii Sports Resort is paying off. Before Wii Sports Resort release on July 26, Nintendo had already moved almost 400,000 units of the Wii Motion Plus peripheral (169,000 alone, 205,000 with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10).

As for the game itself, NPD data for July should show a very strong introduction for Wii Sports Resort, but Japanese sales already place Wii Sports Resort as the third-fastest selling Wii game ever (only Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl raked in more unit sales in its first four days). Analysts expect Wii Sports Resort to top sales of 18 million by the end of the year.

Wii Sports Resort and Nintendo’s marketing machine show the importance of a good introduction along with tailoring your message to the season, demographic and mainstream consumer that has led to its dominance in the current generation. Now who’s up for a quick game of table tennis?