Wii Sports Resort Hits A Million

Wii Sports Resort, the first true video game blockbuster of the year, recently reached platinum status with one million units sold in America.

The game, whose marketing was featured extensively in our exclusive feature a few weeks ago, also reached the one million mark in both the European and Japanese territories, and shows no signs of slowing down. Wii Motion Plus accessory sales has also reached the two million mark in the United States, and continues to be the number-one product in Amazon s video game store.

“Millions of consumers worldwide have demonstrated that they want their summer vacations to keep going,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Wii Sports Resort provides both novice and veteran players a fun, virtual escape to a resort island with their friends and family something that will be even more appealing as the weather turns cooler this fall and winter.”

Assassin’s Creed II And Modern Warfare 2 Don’t Compete

From VG247:

Assassin’s Creed II’s chances will not be hampered by the near-identical release date of Modern Warfare 2, creative director Patrice Desilets told VG247 at GamesCom, thanks to its difference in nature.

Did you know the original Assassin’s Creed went head-to-head with Modern Warfare in 2007 and sold 9 million units? We didn’t.

“The first game we released two weeks after Modern Warfare, and we still sold 9 million copies,” said the developer.

People, when they want their first-person shooter fix, they buy Modern Warfare. If you want you a swords, running on rooftops, big open city fix, this is it.

And there are people that want to play that, and they don’t want to play the game with guns.

We don’t think it’s that cut and dry, but the two games will have some overlap, and it s up to each game’s marketing to highlight the strengths of their product.  Our money is on Modern Warfare 2 pulling it out, but Assassin’s Creed II will be right on its tail.

[a]list Panel Recap: Acquisition, Viral, Community

Moderator: Scott Steinberg, Publisher, DigitalTrends.com


Min Kim, VP Marketing, Nexon America
Keith Lee, CEO, Booyah
Paul Caparotta, Media Manager, Namco Bandai Games
Caryl Shaw, Senior Producer, Spore EA/Maxis

Summary: Video game advertising has evolved far past the age of simple push, pull and viral content creation: Today, it s become virtually indiscernible from the end product itself. Having entered into an era where adding long-term value and building/managing customer relationships, not simply driving sales and fueling market awareness, have suddenly become paramount, we must also accept a radical truth. Not to mention, that is, the fundamental shift in thinking it necessitates.

To wit, no longer can promoters afford to act purely as a mouthpiece for the message, nor allow creative to serve in a mere outside supporting role. Instead, they must proactively work hand-in-hand with (and increasingly begin to think like) actual game designers themselves. Likewise, to achieve maximum ROI, marketing must also be deeply embedded into actual product development, ideally from day one, and viewed as an organic extension of any given title or campaign s core feature set. Because in its purest essence, video game advertising circa 2009 isn t about just providing a temporary groundswell of support for a specific title or brand. It s about creating a persistent, standalone entertainment experience with real, tangible worth unto itself.

Given this sweeping change in focus, it’s important to note. Promotional content must not only be designed from the beginning to live on in a dedicated, persistent space. It s also vital that users be given the tools to interact with, shape, share and make of media what they will as well as connect and communicate with fellow enthusiasts while doing so. In essence, tomorrow’s most effective advertising campaigns are actually metagames in disguise. And will be designed so that users actively and regularly seek them out in order to sate their desire to gain exclusive access/knowledge, a perceived boost in social status or tangible physical reward. Make no mistake: Audience empowerment is the key to success. Unbounded by time, budget or political constraints, your user base can act as an eternal wellspring from which greatness springs. And more pointedly serve to drive new customer adoption and content refresh rates far beyond that which is within the capacity of any given agency or enterprise to reproduce.

Still, even more crucial to grasp is the following concept. Marketing is no longer a one-way street, where value accrues only to the advertiser s benefit. To succeed with any meaningful degree of effectiveness, it must also serve as a trusted and transparent vehicle through which the user ultimately feels he or she achieves some degree of participation in (and influence over) the shape of the end-product. In other words, commonality begets community, community begets empathy, and empathy begets enthusiasm. Specifically, the kind money cannot buy, and sort which turns video game customers or shoppers in any vertical, for that matter into evangelists worth many times more than their weight in gold.

Because ultimately, no advertising campaign in this day and age can afford to remain stolid or static. Nor can a given marketer, however well informed, hope to understand the ever-changing wants and needs of their target demographic as well as members of said audience itself. Give users (especially passionate ones, the very definition of today s game players) the opportunity to join forces and color within the lines of your message, and you may be surprised what happens. They might just be happy to ignite interest in a particular campaign facet you overlooked, reboot a stale initiative or provide enough content and/or inspiration to capitalize on the unlikeliest opportunities. The bottom line: Reach out a hand to embrace your community, and anything s possible including staying one step ahead of the game itself.

Xbox 360 Fights PS3 Price Cut With Price Cut

A circular for Target this week all but confirms an Xbox 360 price cut, right on the heels of Sony’s PS3 cut to $299.  The Xbox 360 Pro comes with a 60GB hard drive and will retail for $249 with a free additional controller, while the Xbox 360 Elite makes its way to the $299.  The Xbox 360 Elite will be the only model directly competing with the PS3 at $299, with a second SKU, the Xbox 360 Arcade, retailing for $199 without a hard drive.

The price wars have officially begun, and the easiest way to show value to the consumer is to reduce your price and market the heck out of that fact.  Will Nintendo, whose Wii console has seen stagnant sales, follow suit

Video Of The Day: Bayonetta Has No Shame

We’re not saying anything here. Just that, when Bayonetta’s ridiculous super moves were coupled with her increasing nudity, many bloggers made the joke about hoping to have a one-handed option to play the game.

Sega has made it so.  And so we’re not accused of looking into things too much, we’ll chalk up this mode to Sega really wanting players to experience the story — yeah, that’s the ticket — the story Bayonetta has to offer.

Good grief.

Microsoft Responds To Damning Xbox 360 Failure Rate Report

From TGDaily:

“Microsoft stands behind the Xbox 360 as a superior entertainment console with one of the best warranties in the industry,” TG Daily was told by a Microsoft spokesperson.

“We are constantly improving the design, manufacture and performance of the console through extensive testing of potential sources of any problems. Xbox 360 is pleased to maintain the title of ‘most played console’ and the vast majority of Xbox 360 customers have enjoyed a terrific gaming and entertainment experience since their first day, and continue to, day in and day out.”

Notice how they actually don’t discuss or even dispute the failure rate claims, instead highlighting the extensive warranty provided each console.  Is this really a smart move?

“I’m on my fifth 360 now. Like others have said, I can’t believe that there is not a higher failure rate for the 360. Everyone that I play with online have had at least 1 if not 2 RRODS,” noted PMB. “The other 45.8 percent must be consoles that are used about an hour a week to have not have failed yet. The original Xbox wasn’t much better IMAO. I had like 4 of those. Lets just face facts that Microsoft makes some crappy hardware. As far as being a loyal customer, I would buy a different console if they offered the same online experience and games that are available on the 360.”

If only Sony would pack in a headset and feature a competent online network, the hardcore console marketplace would be ripe for the taking.

Sony Avoiding Apple’s Pitfalls In Minis Approval?

Unlike Apple’s App Store approval process, Sony is explicitly stating they do not want to go Apple’s route of approving content, instead just looking for software stability and making sure games work.

From Pocket Gamer:

Interesting, Sony details the process by which Minis are submitted and approved. There is “no requirement for content approval” apparently.

Games will however go through a shortened quality assurance process to make sure they work properly on the various PSP hardware.

Significantly, this process is labelled as being “transparent, trackable and predictible”, with developers setting their own release dates.

This suggests Sony has learnt from Apple’s approval process for the App Store, which is regarded as being neither transparent, trackable or predictible.

As inconsistent as Apple’s policy is, does this mean the Minis store will feature theft of IP or objectionable material   Our bet is to wait until a game like Super Larrio Brothers makes it to Sony s approval desk to see what happens.

Nintendo DSiWare To Respond To PSP Minis?

Pocket Gamer reports:

All the news this week has been about Sony’s Minis program, which lowers the barriers of entry for small developers to make bite-sized download-only games for the PSP and new PSPgo console.

Now we hear Nintendo is about to launch something similar for its DSiWare download service.

Like Minis, the new initiative will make it easier for small developers to publish their own content via the existing DSiWare channel.

One can t help but wonder if this is a response to Apple’s very successful iTunes App Store, whose low-cost games and free demos have created a competitor to Sony and Nintendo where there wasn’t one just two years ago.

Hate Mail Changed Fable II DLC

From GameSetWatch:

[Lionhead head Peter] Molyneux had one other interesting thing to say that might potentially spoil the ending of Fable II — please stop reading now if you don’t want to know about it.

His comments were on the last choice you make in Fable II, where the player essentially has to choose between sacrificing all his/her companions — include his/her canine buddy — or a large amount of people. Molyneux said that he “did have hate mail from people” who couldn’t bring themselves to sacrifice the multitudes, and chose the other path.

Apparently these complaints “got to such a furor” that the first Fable II DLC pack was changed to enable the return of the dog, a particularly faithful companion. But, quipped Molyneux: “Don’t expect us to be as merciful as that in the future.”

We re surprised that a longtime developer like Molyneux would cave to the requests of his audience, but this should prove one thing: the customer is always right.