Category Archives: Advertising

Google’s Chrome Web Store is really happening!

In the US, the worlds biggest Search Engine have taken the step (outside the mobile platform) to start selling applications. And not just any applications, web browser applications (apps)! Throught the newly opened  Google Chrome Web Store you have the ability to purchase web browser apps. At the moment its only available for in the US territory. People with mobile phones or other devices running Google’s own operating system Android have had access to apps before. But this is a new direction, but in line with their plan for their upcoming PC operating system to compete with Windows.

And among the first publishers to release games on the Web Store we find Electronic Arts, Zynga, Digital Chocolate, Jagex, Spryfox, Bigpoint and Namco. They will inially start with just over 200 games. But most of those partners are probably already signed thanks to the help of the Android Marketplace for Andriod Mobile decides. Here Google have sort of taken the position were Mircosoft could have been, having the dominant Mobile OS for none-Apple mobile phones. Microsoft’s answer is the new Windows Moblie 7, but the question is if it will be dead on arrival.

It will be interesting to see the potential of the games and other applications they will release going forward. Will it be yet another platform for games, similar to GamersGate and our competitors? It seems Googles focusing more on building platforms and offer services than its core business, search. Well, its all business right to expand and develop its portfolio. And looking at the success of both Apple’s iTunes and digital distribution stores for PC/Mac games, this is a very lucrative market. Owning the distribution channel and the customer. And customers, or rather users is key for Google. Knowing as much as possible to display better directed Ads, which generate more revenue. So taking the step into distribution is something else from their core business. But hey, its Google! Would could they possible fail? Oh wait… Google Wave. But stop! They still rethinking that project.

Then we have Apple, which is its own success story! Not only do they own and control their own distribution platform (iTunes), they are also hardware manufactures. So the Apps build for Apple product will ONLY work on Apple product. One manufacture, one platform. But its still it makes millions both for Apple and its third-party developer. And they have their own web browser as well! Wouldn’t surprise if they start selling Web browser Apps as well, through iTunes of cause.

They are truly trying to take over the internet, and at the moment they are also battling Facebook for the time, attention and clicks from the worlds billions web users. Facebook have done what Google did to Microsoft, “steeling” good workers/programmers. And to lock-in users as much as possible. Which is really good from a business perspective but not away’s from a customers/user perspective. For exmple this is happening in the PC/Mac games industry at the moment with our biggest competitor, Steam. They are locking in customers in their service and make developers and publishers reliant of them. Will write another post on this later.

But the battle of the web giant is about to begin.

Chrome Web Store

Google Chrome Web Store

My first car, a Volvo!

Today released the Swedish car simulator developer SimBin their new Free-to-play game in collaboration with Volvo, Volvo the game. A game based on In-game advertising model. We have been in contact with SimBin regarding this, and even joined in with sponsoring. With 2 GamersGate cars, were even I is one of the drivers! My first car! :) Hope this game become a great success! Both for Simbin and for Volvo.

And please, try out the game and borrow and drive my new car 😉

Volvo S60 Concept

Volvo S60 Concept

Video: evolution of advertising

Found this video yesterday. In just three and a half minutes it illustrate the changes the society have gone through when it come to advertising and how we react to it.

In the past, advertising must have been much easier. A limited amount of brands, not to much competition. Today its another ballgame. The channels have expanded and so have the means of using them, as well as the competition. An evolution that have contributed to marketers re-thinking and becoming even more aggressive in how they push their message into our brains. One example is using “smart” (un-ethical?) methods to print brands in our brains at a very early age. Nowadays, even before we are borne, our parents get bombarded with messages and they try to get into our mind from the day we are borned. Those “Persuaders” won’t stop for nothing to reach us and lock us in.

Even with all the new theories and study s that show how marketers must be smarter and rethink how they reach people and build loyal customers, they still doesn’t seem to want to let go of they old ways of marketing. Banners for example is still a big part of the internet and its economy, but everytime I’ve through work tried it, its been a big disappointment. Instead I try to focus on building a top notch service with great content that people love and by them self want to recommend to friends. Building tools that enable loyal customers to easy tell their friends, instead of spamming and scaring potential customers away.

Also take the time and energy to go out and talk to your customer, on blogs and forums. Not just advertise, but truly talk to them about everything. And not only your products and brand, but everything. Be authentic and engage. The tools to communicate with, not just to your customer,  is better, cheaper and easier then ever before. Use them, but don’t abuse them.

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Videogame TV commersial go holiday crazy!

The game market and industry have been growing every year, and this year continue this trend. Both in terms of revenue and media space. This fall, I have notice and enormous increase in TV commercials for PC and Video games. A list over the games and consoles I’ve seen recently:

  • Fallout 3
  • Resistance 2
  • Playstation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • Gears of War 2
  • Motorstorm 2
  • Wii Fit
  • Wii
  • Animal Crossing DS + Wii
  • Little Big Planet
  • Guitar Hero World Tour
  • Mirrors Edge
  • World of Warcraft – wrath of the lich King
  • Lips
  • Raving Rabbit
  • Prince of Persia

Maybe this is a changing point for game to take more place. The total amount of advertisment games seems to be more than movie and music combined this fall. Here in Sweden at least.

Mixing busniess model for the future of Games

People in the game industry often debate and argue over which new business model(s) will be the most successful one. A tricky question with, according to me, not a one single answer. Here’s a short overview of the different models, some bigger than others:

  • Free to play Games that are free, you don’t pay anything. This models is often supported by the ad-model, or microtransactions to generate revenue.
  • Ad supported (Website ads and in-game ads) – Tied to the model mentioned above. Ether the ads are placed within the game, loading screens or around the game on the site the game is hosted.
  • SubscriptionsYou subscribe to play the game. This model come in different types. Ether you can pay a monthly set price to get access and play many games (portals), or for just one game (MMO).
  • Classical – You pay for the whole game, one time cost.
  • EpisodesThe game is developed and released in smaller bits. You pay less for each episode, but the total sum usually sums up to a full game.
  • Microtransactions/Micropayment – Biggest market for those games today is Asia were its standard for MMO games. You don’t have to pay to access and play the game, but you can “buy” items for your character. Cosmetic or upgrades items.
  • RentalYou pay a small fee to rent the game for a couple of days or 2 weeks and then you have to return the game. And old classic model from the movie industry.
  • Digital Distribution Not so much of a new model, more a “new” way to sell and distribute games. You pay for the game and them you download it to your computer or console and it skip the whole physical disc, box and manual. This is also include a way for publishers and developers to easy release add ons.

When the movie and music industry have felt a decline in revenue, videogames experiences the opposite. The markets changing and companies need to follow, move or die. And if differs depending on geographical location, divided into west (US & Europe) and east (Asia). In today’s hectic west market many publishers and developers are looking to adapt to or mix these different models in hope of creating a steady business or an additional revenue stream. They view the success of microtransactions and free-to-play market, the dominate model in Asia and try to convert the west market. Despite a doubtful belief in the Free-to-play reputation concerning the quality of the games, many people and companies av strong faith in the model. Some see the problem to really monetize from free-to-play games, while some believe it to be the future, from a costrumer standpoint.

While many expert talk view the future for digital content lying in the Free-model, others might not be so optimistic. The Free-to-play model is often mix with other models to secure a steady revenue stream from somewhere. Someones have to pay! Usually its the Ad supported or micropayment, not to everyone’s liking, when some people worry about the affect this will have on the whole creativity process. But some argue that in-game advertising actually can help the developing process and strengthen the brand or product, and not to compare this to how advertisers have work with the television media.

And when developers worry about the creative process of developing games, publishers and retailers more often focus on the revenue, money aspect. Publishers have much power to decide with project to invest in, and therefore chose to try out different business model mixes and find out if it works. A clear example of this is the increasing focus on developing MMO, after the huge success of World of Warcraft, with its subscription based model. You buy the game, and in order to play you pay a monthly fee. This have brought Blizzard a ton of cash! Every businesses dream, a very steady income every month. But in order to keep paying costumer they have to spend some on costumer services and regular updates. This model how ever demands a game that is so good it will keep people playing for many many months/years. Subscription only work on everlasting games like MMO. For regular singleplayer focus games free to play or subscription becomes a bit more trickier.

For games with a average playtime of 10 to 20 hours, the best model often is the regular pay, own and play. As the game industry expand and find new audience and demographics, all the new business models find their places and fans. There isn’t one final model, rather everyone complement each other. And sometimes the best alternative is a mix between different business models. Always depending on the kind of game. Don’t just stir blind on one option, but find the right model for your business and the kind of game you wanna make to reach the right audience. Its always about the game you make, the creative process. And yes, you could try to fit a game into a special b-model, thou that’s risky business to try to force a creative product to adapt according to a certain way. And I thing we should focus on making great product, and maybe not invent the wheel all over again with every game, rather refine how we develop and distribute games to fit better into today’s digital climate.

And maybe not just focus on one model, but find ways to mix them in new interesting ways. One example I have thought about is a game like Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare, were the biggest part of the game basically is the online mode. People spend much of their play time online with this game. What if the developers (Infinity Ward) and publishers (Activision) released the game for free. You could download it and play the singleplayer campaign (which is very short) for free, but you had to pay a small amount for every month you spend playing the game online? Okay, this presuppose people want the game to play online, and that people like the game online to be ready to pay for the online mode.

I think the current divided market is great. It forces developers to thing in new creative ways to develop games and how to monetize on those ideas. The rise of new business model that complement each other, and adapt to how the market evolve. This debate is far from over, which model is the “best” one, but my mind is set. There can be one definite model, it just always comes down to what kind of game you want to create and who’s your target audience! Let the game decide, don’t develop the game concept and idea after a stated business model.

Game Business Model

Game Business Model

Virtual beer – a smash hit!

No doubt, the iPhone have taken the world by storm. Many newspapers and site use headlines like “iPhone-killler” when they report of new phones from other manufactures. Overall its a device with many functions and possibilities for new software. To really secure the future of the iPhone Apple just had to release a SDK for small and big companies to develop their own software, and a platform to release and distribute through. This have proven to be a big success for Apple.

And it have also been a success for some of the developers of the Apps. Like Swedish developer Illusion Labs, with their hit App game Labyrinth. It can be ether downloaded for free or you can pay and get the better version. And now they have a new free App called iPint, developed for the company Carling how is a beer producer. A sort of Advertgame that makes use of the iPhones accelerometer. The new company have received some good press lately, specially for iPint.

Many see this new platform as a great new way for marketers to work with for their new products and brands. To develop new, easy, cheap and funny advertgames/applications that will create great buzz. Instead of old dusty static ads, companies and agencies can create new innovative and interactive applications and games. I’ve seen some news and text about mobile marketing, which is basically displaying ads when people surf through the mobile. But this is a new way to work with mobile marketing, to truly leverage the potential in the phone to build a brand and or make good money directly.

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Now they compain!

First up, I’m definitely against monopoles (not the game :) ), regardless of market and industry. Competition is important not just to push companies to develop their products and services, but its equally important with at healthy price control and work protection. And when we talk work protection I mean legislation to prohibit companies to fire people uncontrollably. I’m in the middle of reading the Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein which may explain my view on the corporate world at this moment.

Google Yahoo Logos

Google Yahoo Logos

But usually their is always one company or actor who is the leader in one market. Apple on Mp3 player, Amazon for online shopping, Facebook on Social networks, and Google in Search! Yahoo! have long been in second place after Google, and Microsoft who missed out on the whole search business have recently tried to obtain Yahoo, and failed. Instead Yahoo! and Google have decided to work together. The deal basic meaning is that Googles search ads will be displayed on the Yahoo site, and probably their content network. The sum of this would mean that Google and Yahoo! “control” much of the Search ads network on the web.

This have sparkled some strong reactions from big companies, ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and the United States. Especially from the ANA who believe the deal will:

“likely diminish competition, increase concentration of market power, limit choices currently available and potentially raise prices to advertisers for high-quality, affordable search advertising.”

Adage.com

Undoubtedly this question have stirred up a thing or two. Like I said, I’m against monopoles, but those companies complaining should just shut up! If they could or were in the same situation they probably would have done the same decision. They just wish they were the ones to totally dominate the market and be the biggest. Every company have that function, to work towards being the biggest, gain more market shares and constantly increase profit. And now they complain when two actors join forces and dominate one market. Hell, if Wal-mart could dominate one market they wouldn’t complain!? Theres so much fucking hypocrisy from big multinational companies. And from my view, Google is one of the few “nice” companies out there. My faith in big companies is very limited, next to zero. I’m not afraid of Terrorist, I’m afraid of corrupted corporations and their evil peoples in suits!!

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Peter Stormare sings to the destruction of Mercenaries 2

Peter Stormare

Peter Stormare

Our Swedish international actor Peter Stormare are famous from many big title movies and series like Fargo, Armageddon and Prison Break. He also have his own band, called Blonde From Fargo were he is the lead singer. A man who doesn’t just sit still. Its always nice to read about his successes around the globe.

And the recent news I heard was this, about and ad for the new action game Mercenaries 2 – World in Flames, were he sings in the background. He also voice one of the characters in the game. And the game seems to do quite good in retail too, as it hit Nr. 1 immediately the first week in the UK.

Not just that he voice one of the characters, its great that they use him in the commercial too! One of the pasts years biggest Swedish exports songs was José GonzálezHeartbeats (original by The Knifes). It was a smash hit, mainly thanks to the exposure and use of the song in the Sony Bravia Tv commercial.

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Become a Friend marketer with Facebook

Facebook have become one of the biggest social networks in recent years. Thanks to word-of-mouth, a good service, easy access for small developers and users to develop their own applications, and lot of press attention its grown tremendously. The platform have attracted users and developers in the masses. But the one thing they still struggle with, the one thing to bring in the cash, advertising!

They tried a new model with its Beacon advertising system, which backfired horribly. It probably hurt their reputation and trust from from the users, but the fact remains, Facebook have problems with its ads system. Well, not the system, just that they don’t convert very well. The CTR are just to low. I’ve seen examples of this when my company in another country tried to generate traffic through advertising on Facebook. And those number were barely worth mentioning. When people visit social network site, their not there to shop, but to socialize.

Yet, Facebook is determent to monetize of its huge user base. The current ad-model works in such a way that ads are targeted depending on your interest and news-feed. But the new model they will incorporate, called Engagement Ads, show ads depending in your friends actions and what they do. The become the sender, turn them into marketers.

Interesting approach, but I’m septic. I wonder how transparent this will be or feel for the users. And it require them to actively take actions for the message to be delivered. And it still about Ads… and maybe to much focus on brands, thereby not suited for everyone.

“Facebook’s strategy is based upon the premise that people come to the site to see what their friends are doing and what they like. By having products presented as endorsements rather than commercial buys, they hope advertisers will reap a positive benefit.”

Wired.com

I havn’t seen this new model in action and I probably don’t know the whole story. It will be interesting and follow and see if they manage to turn their ad revenue around.

Unboxing Viral marketing

I just entered Google Video to find a particular video, but at the first page they “advertised” this video:

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A great example of cleaver and good executed viral marketing. They play on the notion of Unboxing. A web phenomenon growing every year, were regular people document they open the box of… whatever they’ve bought. Gaming consoles, new mobiles, computers, often related to technical gadgets. And now companies, at least Samsung seems to have grasped how they can ride on this new trend and made a really good commercial. I’ve seen unboxing clips before, and when I started watching this I didn’t realize it was professional made. Until the middle.

And they succeed! It feels authentic, funny and deliver the message, without really showing the phones functunallity. But you remember the commercial, and maybe which brand or manufacture.