Since 2000, video games seized their rightful place in the mass market, eventually outdoing motion pictures and television for entertainment, sales, and business. Also as an art form. As with any of its competitors, a solid marketing strategy becomes essential to the successful launch of new titles. For game developers to reach their desired gaming population, bold campaigns undaunted by creative tactics forge the way new games cut through the gamer market’s ubiquitous noise. What’s more, any video game campaign must convince customers to pay a whopping $59.99, the price of an average console title.
Similar to a new movie release, video game marketing is largely about the trailer. However, customers aren’t drawn by beloved actors or decades-old syndications like Star Wars or Disney, so marketing strategists need to do more than splice together screenshots set to a smooth soundtrack to garner gamer’s undivided attention. Take a look at these two effective, yet totally disparate video game trailers.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
The Call of Duty franchise reigns supreme for first-person shooter fans over the last decade, competing with megalithic titles like Halo turning installments of the series into major media events. Since Activision’s Call of Duty knows this, they could splice in new game footage into the same old advertisement and soundtrack. But wanting to grab fans attention, pulling them out of their couches and into the marketplace for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Activision hired out-of-house film director Peter Berg to develop an ad worthy of the silver screen. He called it “Discover Your Power.” Shiver and watch.
With Taylor Kitsch in lead role, “Discover Your Power” mixes the undisputed live action features of the Call of Duty world together by blending a frenetic gaming experience with personalities of characters in the game itself. In the past, many developers made the mistake of inserting material in their trailer never appearing in the game, causing dissatisfaction and eventual abandonment of the franchise by the customers. Since the customer knows Activision knows this, the trailer must originate from in-game experience, and this instills even more excitement in a gamer, motivating them to pay the $59.99 price with giddy impatience.
According to Mashable, “Madden Season” is either the best or worst ad ever seen. For three minutes, EA’s established NFL franchise demands absolute attention, which is advertisement’s raison d’être. Without even mentioning gameplay, EA’s duo cast Kevin Hart, and Dave Franco lead the viewer through an epic music video whose extreme self-consciousness about the spectacle of “Madden” fandom borders on uncanny absurdity. The innovation required to shift an ad’s focus away from the game shows EA knows exactly how to retain its current loyal customers while attracting new gamers for a taste of the Maddeness, despite each successive installment being almost the same as the last. Developers should never forget their cultural capital, and exploit pre-existing hype a future game carries.