Electronic Arts says it’s probably going to cut way back on television advertising and sink the money into making better games instead, because most gamers base their purchases on word of mouth rather than what they see on the tube.
Gather round, kids, while ol’ Uncle Andy tells you of the days when the television ruled the world. There were three networks and something called PBS that nobody ever watched, and we were thankful for the opportunity to go outside in the dead of winter and crank the freezing-cold antenna pole so we could make the picture a little less fuzzy. Back then, if you had a product that you really wanted to sell and you had enough of the big bucks to make it happen, you advertised it on the tee-vee. There was radio and there was print and they were all fine and dandy, but if you were an important person with important crap to unload, you went on television. Because television, as I said, ruled the world.
My, how times change. A lot of people these days see the television as little more than something to plug the Xbox into and for that demographic at least, its relevance as an advertising medium is slipping badly. Thus it is that EA Senior Vice President Dr. Jens Uwe Intat said the company is probably going to dramatically curtail its television advertising in the future, because nobody really pays attention to it anyway.
“Unfortunately for a lot of television companies it’s likely that, as we spent most of our [marketing] money on television advertising, we’ll reduce that substantially going forward,” Intat told the IBIB/LBS Videogames Investment Network. “Part of it will go online, but most of it will actually be invested into making good games – despite the fact that a lot of marketing money is spent on a Call of Duty or FIFA, when we look at our research, most people actually buy a game because of a referral from a friend.”
“The product quality at the end of the day is still the dominant criterion,” he added.
I can certainly relate to that. I can’t remember the last time I saw a television ad for a game that did anything for me but a simple, “Dude, play this game” from a trusted source is enough to have me scouring the shelves at EB. With the growing influence of the internet and the many communities that have resulted, it’s no wonder EA is taking a second look at its approach.