Monthly Archives: May 2008

Videogames – a model for other industry marketers

Despite the current(?) recession in the US, the videogame industry won’t seem to be affected, at all! Videogames sales have just gone up, and with the latest big release GTA4 it got yet another boost. The numbers just points up, and the industry grow every year, and even you thought last year is hard to beat, many new big games will be (or already have been) released this year. And the biggest conventions haven’t been yet, so many surprises can be excepted.
AdAge.com wrote a good artivle about this, and pinpointed some sides of games and how marketers in other industries could learn from videogames. They touch on some of the current trends like a growing interest in the easy accessible Casualgaming market, “new” business models including micro transactions and in-game advertising.
I’m all in favor of studying other fields and businesses to find ideas and inspiration do develop how we work. But its important not to forget that the most important thing ever is a top-notch product in the beginning. This is how Google grew, their Search technology was the best and just through non paid word-of-mouth marketing they build one of the biggest brands of today.

Videogame is a entertainment medium first and foremost. When thing won’t go as planed or your just down, it can be a blast to escape reality for a few hours through a game. Even when your sick and don’t have the energy but still can use your thumbs videogames can ease the pain. But its important to remember what kind of product a videogame is, an experience that you actively participate in. And depending on the kind of game you play, an emotional bond emerge between you and the world and its charaters. This is one of the features which differentiate videogames from other “products”. Though many of the good lessons AdAdge.com wrote of (What marketers can learn from video games
), I think it can be difficult to see how they could transfer to other industry’s. But I think in general industries, companies and big brand holder simply have to be more relaxed, focus on making a hell of a product. Don’t work to hard trying to “create” word-of-mouth, social marketing or emotional connection with the consumer.

I think gamers (and even non-gamers in some sense) associate games with a fun enjoyable emotion. And that’s the no 1 selling point, a positive emotion! One which can’t be faked totally. Yes marketers will try to create that feeling through advertiment. But as soon as a real emotion is born, it you can’t compete with a fabricated messaged.
Still the success saga of the videogame industry growth in recent years, contain many new ways of doing businesses and innovations. People working in development is dedicated at heart, often work with more passion and more hours when the rest of us. Its very much a business culture thing. The videogame industry is the prime example of the millennials phenomenon, with a new type of culture, the same culture found in Google and other new young businesses. Study and learn.

Innovation vs total controll

Finished a Friday by listening to the ending of the first book in the Dark Matter (Northern Light) series by Philip Pullmans, and directly afterwards watch the movie adaptation. A trilogy accused by Christians to advocate a anti-religion theme through out the series. While this is to my liking, many religious people have reacted with a protest of the popular 2007 Oskar winning movie. I’m a huge fan off most stuff with a anti-Semite message in it, maybe cause I’m raised in one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the world. I also find interest in the whole science and philosophy question whether we are better of with a “higher power” controlling us, aka Big Brother, or our personal freedom. My belief is that we should fight everything that have any connection or relations with anything resebleling goverment or religion powerabuse, trying to be Big Brother, a “higher power” telling us how to think and act.

And the though that struck me tonight circled around whether a to controlled society by one big “enterprise” can restrict innovations and development? In my view religion and to tightened governed society is more about control than general development. To have absolute control is to play it safe and be in charge of how the society develop, but is this really the right way if you want to achieve anything new? I don’t believe so…
If society have showened anything, through media, news, conventions, norms, regulations and simply how we should act as small wheels in this huge machinery, its to simply do your small contribution, nothing more, nothing less. One should not really think in their own way, just go with the flow, be like everyone else.

Its a very interesting paradox, we should be like everyone else, but at the same time innovations and “thinking outside the box” somehow is taking for granted (by some people?). Society, government and especially the religions is masters at finding new restrictions and boundaries how we should live our life’s.

Power

Its like the old times (still in place today!?) work management theories, top-down model. A few people have the power and decides how the business should be run. And often many decisions is based on surveys (often made the day before) that would present a accurate picture of realities which I think often is wrong. Seriously, how many CEOs and manager make decisions which directs to people in the “lower part of the hierarchy” with totally different views of life and needs?

An interesting paradox is how society praise innovators and new thinkers, when they have come up with a new idea on which they can benefit on! Especially religions seems to subconsciously be or should be against innovations, which to some degree must involve free thinking. Innovations and development usually involve thinking in new ways or view problem from a new perspective. Freethinkers haven’t really been religions best friend through out history, unless they control them and their idea and message. Its all about control, to have the advantage and make people believe what “you” consider to be right and/or serve your interest. And how their beliefs are absolute! Like this wonderful example of idiocy:

YouTube Preview Image
The bible, Koran or any other religious document which “claim” to be a true and absolute document is as much fiction as Star Wars.
Interestingly enough, religion and government, the “higher” power in society which presumably should strive to protect and look after people aren’t the one behind the overall development of new ideas. Sure, governments look after the economical and social growth, but the real innovations come from people who (gosh how clever won’t this sound…) think outside the box.
But in real life and the hard society we’re not raised in that fashion. We all the the basic education, which at least in my country and my school history, included much of religions bullshit. But society doesn’t really care whether we come think of new things, and if so after its been a hit! Kids who show syndromes of not acting or behaving the same as the rest of us “zombies” are rather soon pointed out as problem-children and instead of harvesting their special way of functioning, we try to adjust them to the rest of society and the natural way we behave. Maybe these people have the solution to many of the worlds problem, but instead of harvesting and fuelling their potential, we correct them to behave like everyone else. Its easier this way to control them and labelling them as normal with the knowledge that no risks surrounds them.

Maybe one of those persons have could have the cure for cancer, or he/she might as well be a mass murder or terrorist!? Its always easier to play it safe right? Well I bet the opposite! Without chances and fresh ideas and minds we probably still would be in the 1950s. Its like new ideas and innovations just be taken for granted to be spawned. I’d like to look ahead, instead of backwards. And loosening some tightened control to make new innovations and development possible, is according to me, very welcomed!

Social sites becomes even more social

In a short period of time, some of the webs biggest player, MySpace, Facebook and Google have announced new tools with the same principle in mind. Independent of one and another they’ve developed features which enable their users to be social outside todays platforms. Tools and widget which opens up the information and make it possible to spread and use the social features on other sites. A bit of affiliate philosophy, people don’t want to be locked inside one platform for be social, rather like MSN Messenger we want to be social along side everything else we do online.

This new development seems like a step in the right direction. Social networks come and go, we people act as we’ve always done. We go to one part of the land and consume everything there, then we move to the next leaving only the leftovers. The social networks now have tools for us users to leave the platform, but still be social through them elsewhere.
Another interesting point about this news, how the social sites now “somewhat” open up for others to develop there product for them. One of the factors which contributed to Facebooks success, the possibility for small developers to create Facebook Applications, instead of Facebook them self. I wonder when,how and who will develop a platform which enables users to access all of their social networks through one site. Instead of forcing us to visit many sites for, to have one site that aggregate information from all the social networks. The big sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn probably wouldn’t like that, but if we think of it through a user perspective it would be great!
Googles new social webtool, Google Friend Connect strive to make it easy for every web site, big and small, private or corporate to have social element or features:

We’ve heard from many site owners that even though their sites aren’t social networks, they’d still like them to be social.Offical Google Webmaster Central Blog

The web is a social and communicative medium, and their are many of us use it for that purpose. And sometime the web need a big push by the bigger players online for change to start, and this feels like a push in the right direction. Information and communication is and always should be free and accessible.

Through awareness we view things differently

How do knowledge change how we as different people view the society and media? As for me personally I’m interested in new media, marketing, games and many things considered new. My work involves buying keywords and creating Search Engine Ads, so naturally my awareness of other ads in the same space differs from those unaware. Every person have knowledge about something which others or few posses.

My interest and work circles around Internet, and therefore my awareness level is higher here. And how I consider myself and act as a “web surfer” and visitor in the statistics of the pages I visit. With the knowledge of how the web “works” and most of its economy, I’m a bit careful how I use my Clicks. The same can be transfered to other media, like watching TV or reading the news. A good example is when I read about a new advertising campaign a Swedish bank had produced to create a certain feeling. I read it in a Business 2 business magazine, and everytime I view the ads on TV I know who’s the sender. Otherwise I would just had knowed that the ad was for a bank, but not which one.

When I surf the web, I think of how I distribute or split my “Clicks”. Yes, I have infinite clicks if I want, but I view it like my web-democratic votes. Even if my share of clicks is just a tiny tiny piece of all peoples combined clicks, they still matters. Still today, only a “few” people know how Google made their billions of dollars, simply by peoples clicks, which advertisers pay for. If I were to click on an Adword ad, I know someone out here pay for my click, may it be 0.05 or 10 dollars.
Its always interesting to monitor how people with knowledge of a certain thing, view and use it differently from new people.

Awareness

Will Google reshape the old TV ad-model?

I recently heard about Google Tv. I read about it and watch their introduction video how it works, and basically its Adwords, but for videos instead of text ads. The business model which copy their text-ads have been proven a success and to work well. I’ve been a fan of this model sense I learned about the concept. The users have the power and decide how relevant an ad is.

Now they mirror this concept to the TV medium, and I’m looking forward to follow if this will change the traditional tv-ad model.

GoogleTV

The Sims like Sweden brands

An a award for the person who can mention all of the various Sims add-ons released. The latest add-on have now been announced… The Sims 2 – IKEA Home Stuff. Recently news reported that 100 million copies of The Sims (including all expansion packs) have been sold!

One of the many add-ons to the popular games was a fashion themed with one of the biggest fashion brand in the world, H&M: The Sims 2 – H&M Fashion Runway. And now they come with the next installment, and once again a collaboration with a huge Swedish export brand, IKEA.

Interestingly the few (1 soon becoming 2) expansion packs which have been built around a certain brand have come from Sweden. Okey, now we probably don’t have any other world wide brand that could be transformed to a Sims add-on. I don’t think a Sims 2 – Absolute Vodka Party would be appreciated by… well many. But it feels great that our famous Swedish brands have been made in to add-ons for one of the most sold videogames ever! Go Sweden!