Shampoo, Insurance, Heavy Rain

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Shampoo, Insurance, Heavy Rain

Everyone else is advertising on TV. Why don't game companies seem to get it?

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Great article. I see very few gaming TV spots and have always wondered why. Hell, the only times I see a game advertised is on Wal-Mart or Best Buy commercials. But advertising costs a mint on the real networks and there isn't a lot of money to go around before the game starts selling. This is a problem with no easy solution and I don't see it getting solved anytime soon.

Hey, those snuggy adverts happen to be very compelling television.
Besides, if people really don't have an interest in games, it's not going to be easy to actively get them interested. Until they start teaching classes at the learning annex for control stick waggling 101, games won't become completely mainstream

If your product can only exist because of advertisers then it industry starts to rot from the inside and becomes a house of cards where outside companies(advertisers) will have more power than the publishers or developers.

This is why newspapers and now magazines are starting to fail. They relied too much on advertisement funds to support the business structure instead of the consumer.

The consumer needs to be the one that supports the business to exist because it is their demand that will reflect what will exist and what won't.

It would be great to see more Gameing getting advertising, but of course it is the costs involve which I think put alot of people off.
What I wouldnt give to see an advertisement for something like, the next resident evil on a billboard as I went to work, it would certainly make me smile.

I know some companies have done it on TV, and, I would be intrested to see what it cost and how much they made from it in comparison.

I was just thinking this same thing - I never see any sort of video game advertising on TV, and I really have to wonder why; video games are currently making more money than the film industry, and yet film commercials easily outnumber video game ads 10:1 (or maybe a little less than that, but still relatively close). Although, to be fair, it doesn't really matter to me whether video games get advertised or not; I'll still be playing them either way.

It wouldn't help. You assume that those peolpe do not play games. So to play a videogame, like Heavy Rain, you must have a console. In this particular case you have to buy a PS3. But spending money on a expensive console + game and not knowing if you might like it is, for nearly all people, too much money.

I really would like to play Heavy Rain, but it's on ps3 only. But there are more problems to it. Quick time events on every turn are not a good gameplay mechanics! If they are bringing QTE, then they could just remove them, call this game ''interactive movie'' and voila, it would be more enjoyable.
I don't see how could pressing button when game tells you be fun, but i can enjoy interacting with the story, making choices and just seeing what happens.
Max Payne is a very bad example on this one. Here we have a game that's about killing loads of dudes with guns in bullet time and then we see this boring movie about drugs or something with like 2 action sequences. Heavy Rain is not going to be action packed shooting game.

I have seen one game ad on TV. it was NFS.

Ryuk2:
I don't see how could pressing button when game tells you be fun, but i can enjoy interacting with the story, making choices and just seeing what happens.

did you notice many games write what button to press to ensure you didn't forger the control layout?

I remember the Wii had a very good TV marketing campaign. The one with the two Japanese guys traveling the country in the Micro Mini. Showing up at random American house holds with Wii mote saying "We would like to play." The whole advertising campaign seemed very non gamer focused, and probably did a lot to get Wii's into more house holds.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvYNYmVGzJg

Ryuk2:
I really would like to play Heavy Rain, but it's on ps3 only. But there are more problems to it. Quick time events on every turn are not a good gameplay mechanics! If they are bringing QTE, then they could just remove them, call this game ''interactive movie'' and voila, it would be more enjoyable.
I don't see how could pressing button when game tells you be fun, but i can enjoy interacting with the story, making choices and just seeing what happens.
Max Payne is a very bad example on this one. Here we have a game that's about killing loads of dudes with guns in bullet time and then we see this boring movie about drugs or something with like 2 action sequences. Heavy Rain is not going to be action packed shooting game.

No, of course it isn't. I chose Max Payne as an example simply to contrast information that was easily grasped -- action in a movie setting -- versus information that much of the populace does not possess -- how to play the action of a movie. (Granted, Max Payne the movie and the game have little to do with each other, but roll with it.)

At no point did I suggest that Heavy Rain is going to be an action packed game, merely that its plot and gameplay might appeal to a chunk of the audience that watches police procedurals like CSI or Criminal Minds.

hamster mk 4:
I remember the Wii had a very good TV marketing campaign. The one with the two Japanese guys traveling the country in the Micro Mini. Showing up at random American house holds with Wii mote saying "We would like to play." The whole advertising campaign seemed very non gamer focused, and probably did a lot to get Wii's into more house holds.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvYNYmVGzJg

Ah, those commercials were amazing! I remember wanting a Wii from those. Playstation has a few good ones, like the family one with the Playstation exec taking your spot in your family, things like that. They're great console sellers, but they're not so much game sellers (although that Metroid Prime 3 part does make me want to play it again). They showcase the system, and both companies have massive buck to drop on advertising--but not so much for the games. A few first party titles can make the bill, but not many third party ones can afford to invest in a failed marketing attempt for a game that just might not make it. I do like Susan's idea of putting the commercials for specific games on networks who host similar shows--for the murder mysteries and case solvings like CSI and Bones, we put ads for Heavy Rain and Professor Layton. For the immensely boring Law and Order we drop Phoenix Wright, for immensely more fun. For commercials around any one of a billion networks playing WWII and combat movies all weekend, we drop ads for CoD:MewTwo, Killzone 12, Halo, etc. For funsies and to test the limits of the ESRB, we drop adds for Bayonetta on the Cartoon Network at 11am, and end up finding out which kids were skipping school that day, or who's at home on their couch watching 'toons while a bit toked up or insanely bored waiting for semester to start again.

If they don't think games are still something for losers or kids, they think they're all about killing aliens, killing hookers, or killing alien hookers.

The only problem is that a vast majority of games are still geared towards young males. Watch a UFC event and you'll see lots of game commercials. Prime time major network TV is not solely focused on the young male demographic so you don't see video game ads as much.

When the video gaming medium matures, we'll see more acceptance and AAA titles that actually offer variety. Right now you can kill or have sex with alien hookers, but there's nothing worthwhile out there for the prime time TV audiences... yet.

In the UK, there's quite a lot of game/console advertising, at least compared to 5-10 years ago.

The Wii and DS especially have had plenty of adverts, with famous faces (including recently some awful Ant and Dec ones). Quite a lot of football games are sponsored by Playstation as well. Many of the actual game ones tend only to be shown after about 8pm though.

Ryuk2:
Quick time events on every turn are not a good gameplay mechanics! If they are bringing QTE, then they could just remove them, call this game ''interactive movie'' and voila, it would be more enjoyable.
I don't see how could pressing button when game tells you be fun, but i can enjoy interacting with the story, making choices and just seeing what happens.

A QTE is when a button pops up on screen, and you have to press the corresponding button on your controller: it's glorified simon says.

In heavy rain. 4-8 buttons appear on screen at a time, not indicating which one is correct, only what action will result will come from each button.

Get it? It doesn't tell you what buttons to press, it just gives the controls fluid connection, e.g., buttons do different things in different situations. They just appear on screen to let you easily know what those things are.

It's actually just the same as a fighter, or platformer or adventure game; it's just that the controls are applied in much broader strokes, rather than being rigidly assigned to a certain task.

I do agree the PS3 exclusivity is quite a big hurdle though.

I dont know how things are in the land of the free, but here in jolly old england there is a fair bit of game advertising on TV. The Beyonetta ones are doing the rounds, and the nation is constantly assaulted with Ant & Dec (if you don't know you're lucky) turning up in pubs, cafés, and people's living rooms, and discovering how much everyone really loves Nintendo. There are more on digital channels like Dave (yes, we have a TV channel called Dave), but you can't blame them for marketing to their target audience

thenumberthirteen:
I dont know how things are in the land of the free, but here in jolly old england there is a fair bit of game advertising on TV. The Beyonetta ones are doing the rounds, and the nation is constantly assaulted with Ant & Dec (if you don't know you're lucky) turning up in pubs, cafés, and people's living rooms, and discovering how much everyone really loves Nintendo. There are more on digital channels like Dave (yes, we have a TV channel called Dave), but you can't blame them for marketing to their target audience

Don't blame them at all. They need to get the most bang for their buck, after all. And we get a fair few Nintendo adverts here, too...but that's about it. I'm talking about letting people know that games will let them do something other than train their brain or simulate bowling. If all you have to go on are TV ads -- and that's all a lot of people do have to go on -- you simply have no clue as to the vast choices available to you.

Susan Arendt:

thenumberthirteen:
I dont know how things are in the land of the free, but here in jolly old england there is a fair bit of game advertising on TV. The Beyonetta ones are doing the rounds, and the nation is constantly assaulted with Ant & Dec (if you don't know you're lucky) turning up in pubs, cafés, and people's living rooms, and discovering how much everyone really loves Nintendo. There are more on digital channels like Dave (yes, we have a TV channel called Dave), but you can't blame them for marketing to their target audience

Y
Don't blame them at all. They need to get the most bang for their buck, after all. And we get a fair few Nintendo adverts here, too...but that's about it. I'm talking about letting people know that games will let them do something other than train their brain or simulate bowling. If all you have to go on are TV ads -- and that's all a lot of people do have to go on -- you simply have no clue as to the vast choices available to you.

Do they have those Uncharted 2 ads in the US? Recently there have been a series of adverts for Uncharted where it puts a lot of emphasis on the cinematic experience, as opposed to the action, or fighting. The Forza 3 ads also put a lot of focus on the realism of the experience. These may not really be examples of what you're getting at (that there can be an emotional connection in games that isn't being focused on in marketing, if I'm right). It is a hard thing to get across. I mean take someting like Portal. A minimal game that actually touches you at times (they make you feel love for a box), but how do you do that in 30 seconds showing clips of puzzle solving in a White lab? As a medium I believe games are the hardest to advertise as the experience is too personal.

As a point to ponder. How often do you see fiction books advertised on TV? They've been around for thousands of years.

How can you not like monster trucks!?

lolwut

Modern Warfare 2 had a television advertisement......look at the money that made

You said it yourself, Susan: "it makes far more sense to spend it on full-page spreads in EGM or on banners on a gaming site like this one, because that's where people already predisposed to buy games are likely to see them"

The bottom line is that the marketroids are going to feel that the 'Return On Investment' for targeted advertising is going to be much greater in the millieu that gamers haunt than by doing a wide-spread, far-flung campaign.

And to be honest? The data to this point supports thier hypothesis. Only the big-time games, like Halo, like WoW, are broad-spectrum targeted. ("I'M A NIGHT-ELF MOHAWK...!)

I really think this is a chicken+egg scenario that will play out to a specific result: the marketroids for games are going to stay away from the mainstream until they get survey data that indicates that most homes have a console of some sort in them: then we'll see gaming ads during the Super Bowl (the most expensive advertising time on a per-second basis).

Personally, I wish the game companies would ardently (ha ha, see wut I did ther?) pursue developing markets, but I just don't think that a conservative business strategy supports that possibility... particularly during a recession.

Ryuk2:
I really would like to play Heavy Rain, but it's on ps3 only. But there are more problems to it. Quick time events on every turn are not a good gameplay mechanics! If they are bringing QTE, then they could just remove them, call this game ''interactive movie'' and voila, it would be more enjoyable.
I don't see how could pressing button when game tells you be fun, but i can enjoy interacting with the story, making choices and just seeing what happens.
Max Payne is a very bad example on this one. Here we have a game that's about killing loads of dudes with guns in bullet time and then we see this boring movie about drugs or something with like 2 action sequences. Heavy Rain is not going to be action packed shooting game.

Even if Quick Time Events aren't good game mechanics, they are more accessible than the average game's controls.
After all, many more millions of people played Simon Says (Or electronic Simon) in their youth than played Street Fighter 2. Who couldn't quickly press what buttons the game tells them to? It has 'Gaming With Training Wheels' written all over it! Once they grow accustomed to the Dragon's Lair style of game play, they can move on to more complex fare. People who already bought it primarily for the Blu-Ray player can finally get their money's worth with games like Heavy Rain.

They could also advertise Ace Attourney games during Law and Order or People's Court!

vivaldiscool:
Snip

Wasn't that only for interaction? The action sure won't be like that. It's not like they will give ''punch'', ''kick'', ''block'' and ''run'', when you are attacked by somebody. And there sure will be choices that will just get you killed, meaning that only one button saves you.
Fahrenheit had this annoying buttonm mashing.

Jaredin:
What I wouldnt give to see an advertisement for something like, the next resident evil on a billboard as I went to work, it would certainly make me smile.

I'm from Eastern Europe. For the second Transformers movie, there was this advertising campaign in my city: I don't think there were billboards or TV ads, I may have just missed them, but the main thing were these Autobots and Decepticon logos printed on the ground at the busiest places in town. I see them to this day and feel like geekdom has somehow claimed this land. It fills me with glee.
Another thing I saw recently were the Avatar posters in our subway. It's a film about a guy controlling a giant blue-skinned cat-person on an alien planet and I can see a poster of it in our subway (they haven't done that for any other movie before, mind you)! So, things are getting better on that front. In Eastern Europe, even.
It won't be long until we start seeing games taking those places. Maybe around Blizzard's next MMO?

A game about killing alien hookers would be awesome, in my opinion.

I know I'm a rarity, but I have not watched television in nearly ten years. At this point in time I don't even own a TV. I stopped wasting time on television, and instead focused on interactive media (the PC). Around the same time, I quit buying print. So, neither of those media is going to entice me into buying a console or its games.

Every once in a while I get a strong urge to buy a Playstation (the original) and replay some of my favorite games of yore. But there's no money in that for the big three.

Didn't there used to be lots of TV ads?

Sonic, Zelda, Boxing Games, Mortal Kombat?

You can still catch some of those on youtube

I don't watch commercials anymore. I record everything on my DVR and only watch what I have recorded so I can skip the commercials.

The marketing monkeys will back me up on this. Most people likely to be persuaded to purchase a game are already fairly tech-savvy people. The kind of people that will more likely see a game advert on a website or techie magazine.

I don't think it's quite the same on British T.V. as it is U.S. - Ok, I'm a gamer by nature but many titles are promoted on big stations here I'm sure there's room for more of the niche releases.

For me the most effective ad I ever saw was for Gears of War the one with Mad World as the theme and the giant spider at the end. It was such beautifully performed cinematography it managed to sell me in to a title of a genre I don't really like.

This was also during daytime t.v. demographic: Students & house wives

Hmm I guess I've actually just proved your point, well done :) - Still it'd be a turn up if a few more house wives went out and picked up Gears instead of watching Loose Women :)

thenumberthirteen:

As a point to ponder. How often do you see fiction books advertised on TV? They've been around for thousands of years.

Very rarely. But people are already very familiar with books and the type of experiences they offer. They're introduced to books as children, required to read them in school, and so on. They're very well indoctrinated to the concept of fiction books by the time they're adult consumers. So while they might not know that a specific book is coming out, they do at least know where and how to look for books that might be of interest to them. The same definitely can't be said of videogames.

They did a little bit with Modern Warfare 2 and I think Call Of Duty:WaW and they do it for the majority of DS games.
They probably don't because the people the games are marketed at are on their consoles not watching tv? So they won't see the ads.

Susan Arendt:

thenumberthirteen:

As a point to ponder. How often do you see fiction books advertised on TV? They've been around for thousands of years.

Very rarely. But people are already very familiar with books and the type of experiences they offer. They're introduced to books as children, required to read them in school, and so on. They're very well indoctrinated to the concept of fiction books by the time they're adult consumers. So while they might not know that a specific book is coming out, they do at least know where and how to look for books that might be of interest to them. The same definitely can't be said of videogames.

True. Then why is food advertised on TV?

Now Nintendo has broken the barrier to gaming, in a fashion, maybe we'll see more games advertising.

Actually I think that the fact the gaming generation is now old enough to be an economic force will be what breaks gaming into the mainstream TV. Nintendo are attacking from the opposite end.

Well that's my take on it, but I'm not a games journalist

For starters: great article.

I don`t see TV ads as a good bet because I`m sorry to say that you will appeal to the public that buys the games. I bet a lot of goldz that a vast majority of the people that have seen the MW2 TV ad didn`t understand shit from it accept maybe that it`s about some video game thing. And in my opinion this is normal, I don`t see gaming reaching the audience of TV or other forms of media in the next 100 years because lets be honest kids, gaming is hard. It is a proven fact that if you take 10 (I originally wanted to say women because it`s the public that is the least interested in gaming ) people of the street and ask them to complete a easy level in a generic FPS there is a pretty good chance that they will fail at it badly. The why ? is very easy, above Tetris most of the worlds population cannot go due to hand-eye coordination, attention span, brain power and spatial realization.

Conclusion : You can`t go mainstream when the audience cannot understand you medium.

thenumberthirteen:

True. Then why is food advertised on TV?

For many reasons. The first is that we're creatures of habit. If we find we like a particular cereal, as a rule we're happy to keep eating that cereal over and over and over again. Until someone pokes us and says "Hey...how about this cereal?" we're not overly likely to start looking for another option. Food commercials also help educate the consumer about options...this cereal is sweet, that one lowers your cholesterol, that other one is gluten free, this other one benefits the rainforest. Food is a necessity, but the reasons for choosing food vary wildly.

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