Who knew so many people wanted to use fake instruments to make virtual music?
As top advertisers leverage video games as an effective marketing medium, the most successful promotions, in terms of the games, tend to occur when a brand or product adds realism to the game experience.
Rockstar Games' recently released "Midnight Club: Los Angeles" would not be as much fun or even believable if you didn't see all the real-world advertising and vehicles throughout the virtual LA. What would Hollywood be without all of the out-of-home advertising?
In the past, sports games have been among the more popular genres for integrating brands, given their popularity with gamers and available real estate for organic ads. They have historically been the second most played genre on consoles, following action titles.
All of this could be changing, according to market research firm Odyssey's Homefront study. While action games remain the top genre, the study reports that music games have passed sports for the second position. The study shows that 58 percent of console gamers are playing music simulations versus 50 percent playing sports games, which could be music to every marketer's ears.
"The phenomenal success of the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises in the past year has reshaped the landscape of the console game market," said Nick Donatiello, Odyssey's president and CEO. If 2007 was the breakout year for music-based games, 2008 was year music games staked their claim as regular contenders in the industry. In addition to the latest releases of "Guitar Hero World Tour" and "Rock Band 2," games such as "Wii Music," "Rock Revolution, "SingStar Vol. 2," and "Ultimate Band" are projected to help music games account for one third of the industry's growth this year. It appears the music-game momentum will continue into 2009 and beyond, as additional titles such as "Scratch: The Ultimate DJ" and "DJ Hero" have been announced as in development. Who knew so many people wanted to use fake instruments to make virtual music?
Also included in the Homefront study, females make up 53 percent of those playing these music video games on the console. As Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony work to expand the reach of their consoles outside of the typical male, 18-34 demographic, it would make sense to leverage the growing popularity of music games with extended audiences. Because of this, we can expect to see publishers creating games with broader reach to receive more support from the console providers, which in turn increases the awareness and likelihood of those games' success.
Marketers should take note of this trend for the following reasons:
We've only scratched the surface of music-based video games' potential. The same could definitely be said for the advertising opportunities in partnership with these titles. As consumers continue to raise the wave of popularity with these games, advertisers have the chance to tag along for the ride, which will no doubt continue to grow well into next year and beyond. Will you be hanging 10?
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Matt Story is director of Play, a division of Denuo. He oversees the West Coast operation, maintaining key publishing and gaming industry contacts for the agency. With expertise and perspective from both the client and the agency side, he brings to bear dual strengths: interactive and videogame advertising and how they can transcend and evolve a client brand.
Matt and his team develop unique gaming integration programs on behalf of General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Miller, and others. In March 2007, he played an integral role in the 2007 Pontiac Virtual NCAA Final 4 tournament, powered by videogame "College Hoops 2K7."
Before joining Play, Matt was interactive marketing manager across P&G's antiperspirants/deodorants category. During his four-year tenure, he managed the creation of the first P&G blog, which supported the launch of Secret Sparkle Body Spray. He also led innovative development with the Old Spice brand's in-game integrations in multiple key videogame titles. To hear more from Matt and the various creative minds at Denuo, visit Denuology for their unfiltered perspective on the world at large.
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