6 posts categorized "Games"

December 10, 2008

Who are the gamers?

Gamers1 Gamers are probably not who you think they are. Stereotypically most people see them as high school aged boys, eating Cheetos with their Xbox. According to a new report released from the Pew Internet Project, those stats are changing:

Younger generations tend to dominate the gaming world; however, older respondents who do play games are more avid players. Older gamers, particularly seniors, tend to play games more

Seems like gaming is becoming more mainstream and hitting a broader audience. What does this mean to marketers? I think the answer is still to be determined. Game development is difficult and time consuming. It takes a level of detail, planning and creative ability not found inside most marketing groups, including advertising agencies. However, the right game can have a great viral affect. There are already a lot of boutique firms that produce these games. Based on what I'm seeing, I think we'll see a whole lot more. - Paul Herring

December 12, 2007

Branding Your Competition - Choose Your Enemies Wisely

There are many instances where mentioning your competition makes sense. Politics and social causes  happen to be two of them. My reading of history tells me that this has been going on for ages, and that it is not a new phenomenon.

Hi. I'm a Mac.
Applepcmacpeople Apple took it to a better place -- a necessary place, I think, in their case -- with the anthropomorphic commercials about Apple and PCs. Apple understood that they had to tread lightly -- not making too much fun of PC users, since they make the lion's share of the market, but also making them rethink their previous commitment. The execution up to this point, as far as I'm concerned, was both subtle and brilliant.

The PC is actually kind of likable. He's like you may have imagined your own father: A bit on the corny side, but admirable in his diligence and commitment.

A few other executions came to my attention only recently, and they aren't nearly as kind as Apple's portrayal of poor PC guy.

The Hillary Nutcracker
Hillc_nutcracker_thumb Now, anyone who is aware of my free-market philosophy already knows I'm not a Hillary fan. However, it has nothing to do with how I believe a woman is supposed to behave. This "Hillary Nutcracker" is aimed at something other than her ability (or inability) to lead the country, and seems petty and personally malicious. Our level of political discourse should be higher.

I also have little doubt that this kind of branding can be effective, though, even though I would wager that most people wouldn't admit it. To those who disapprove of her politics or her personality, she makes an excellent foil for this type of branding.

I realize that she knows how to play this game, too, and turnabout is fair play. This nutcracker just brings into focus just how bad it has become.

The Trollsen Twins
Hairykate I first became aware of this through CK's blog, as CK expressed admiration for the effort, succinctly noting "I would never want to be on PETA's bad side."

And here lies the rub. PETA has revealed themselves to be not just true-believers who can be admired, but ruthless enemies to be feared.

CheapThrills notes that PETA went low and hard in attacking the Olsen twins. The site pokes "fun" at anorexia and generally comes across so malicious that she wrote, "Almost makes me want to run out and buy a chinchilla scarf."

While PETA makes painfully clear where they stand on fur, the execution of this site, while as CK pointed out, is creative and engaging, doesn't do anything to endear themselves to a normal people who aren't already evangelists for PETA's cause. - Cam Beck

P.S. If you want to see an attack ad done right, or at least completely ambiguously, check out Friederich Nietsche's attack on Immanual Kant. (Thanks to SpinThicket for the link. Feed readers go here)

November 29, 2007

Most. Addictive. Game. Ever.

Yourock_2 I gotta be honest here.  I rock. Maybe not with a real guitar, but on Guitar Hero III I bring the hammer.  OK, maybe it's just on the easy level that I shred, along with my bandmate who chooses to remain anonymous to safeguard his right to date females, but still, we rock. 

From our lowly beginnings at a night club to playing our way out of some sort of concert for satan (odd, I know), we defeated the game and were consistently told song after song, "You Rock." 

It seems that we're not the only band nerds to make some glorious noise as sales were $115 million in the first week and Activision's shares soared 13.8%, or $2.61, to $21.54, on Tuesday.  Extremely nerdy or fantastically awesome, you play Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade" and we'll talk. - John Herrington

October 16, 2007

Get your game on

Guitarhero Is it just me, or do kids these days have any reason to ever go outside any more? I mean, why go outside and play cops and robbers when you can play Grand Theft Auto III or Halo III? Why go play tackle football with your buddies when you can play Madden ’08? Let’s make it even more ridiculous with the advent of the Wii; why go bowling, play tennis or shoot a round of 18 when you can do it all from your couch?

Back in the 90s when I wasn’t watching Saved by the Bell, I was out trying to show my buddies my best Troy Aikman impersonation out at the school yard. Back then, the kids that stayed inside to read or play video games all the time were easily identifiable by their paleness. Mind you, with my Irish/English roots, I’m not exactly the quintessential representation of healthy olive colored skin, but when I was a kid I always had a sweet farmer’s tan.

In a Dallas Morning News article that ran last week, librarians are resorting to throwing video game tournaments at their libraries in order to woo young non-readers into local libraries. One librarian was quoted saying that even though a kid might come in to play video games 30 times in a row, they’re banking on the hope that on the 31st time the child might wander into the books to take a look. It’s the idea that if they can just reach one child then the experiment was completely worth it.

On the other hand, libraries will need to be careful not to alienate other visitors that are there to wait for it, wait for it....read. When it comes to video games and TVs in general, kids and many adults are sucked in like flies to a fluorescent lamp of death. Librarians should know that kids like hanging out with other kids and when a child has the choice of playing Guitar Hero with their friends or reading a book, I’m putting my money on Guitar Hero.

So, as our kids have more opportunity than ever before to squander away their chance to educate themselves with a good book, we, as responsible parents and adults should be the ones to step up and lead. Kids are always going to be kids and if we don’t start acting like adults we might need to start worrying about our own future at the hands of these future leaders. A bit dramatic, I know, but there is no room for Guitar Hero in our libraries.

The question of the day is, naturally; will the libraries have the gamer handbooks available for checkout?  - John Herrington

Photo courtesy of Adrian on Photobucket.

August 30, 2007

Wii brings parties beyond gamers

4wiiparty082707_2 People who aren't really gamers are getting into the Wii. Adage reports that Wii parties are all the rage. Retirement homes and cruise ships are planning parties where people get together and play the games.

"The Wii is great for parties because of the level of activity and the multi-player format -- it's fun to play and fun for others to watch," said Lariayn Payne, VP-marketing and public relations at Evite.

This is an interesting phenomenon to me because of how the Wii was created and how the community it creates.

Three or four years ago, Nintendo was struggling in an arms race with Sony and Microsoft. The Game Cube was becoming less popular because it lacked the graphic intensity and in some cases titles that the other platforms were getting. Instead of trying to catch up in the race, Nintendo thought outside the box. They created a platform that was about playing together, about activity rather than how quick you could click a button. Last Christmas season, when new platforms were released, Nintendo outsold the competition and hasn't stopped.

The article also mentions the Wii parties that are becoming more popular. What I really love about the Wii is that, beyond the games, owners can create Miis that look like a cartoon version of who they are or who they want to be.  These Miis can interact with other Miis. You can also participate in polls that are taken among other Wii owners around the world. What this does is goes beyond playing Doom online, it gets people to interact, communicate and try their hand a (albeit limited) physical activity. It's no wonder these parties are popular. They've tapped into ways that people have built communities through the ages. - Paul Herring

April 06, 2007

South Park goes HD in Xbox

Screenshot013South Park released it's first episode in HD. That's really not big news, there are a lot of TV series making the transition. What's interesting is that they released the episode not on cable or even on a web site but rather on Xbox live. According to Josh Lovison from Gaming Insider:

"Comedy Central partnered with the Xbox360 to deliver the episode, aptly entitled "Good Times With Weapons," in high definition. To the best of my knowledge, this makes "SouthPark" the first network TV show to bypass its traditional distributors to offer a superior product via digital distribution — in this case, a major video game platform. "

I agree with Josh that this is an interesting development that a lot of people are ignoring. Could this be the beginning of the end for broadcast television? How will this change television advertising? Can we track what shows and interest people are watching? Will people be able to interact with shows with their gaming devices? Will HD broadcast further encourage adoption of these types of devices? - Paul Herring