At this morning's agency meeting, John Norman showed this clip from Saul Bass' Oscar winning short film "Why Man Creates." I thought it was interesting, especially when imagining what the addendum of the information age would look like at the end.
Video games have been out-earning blockbuster movies for the past few years, and to help stoke the fire, publishers have been spending movie-money on marketing their games. Usually the output is some kind of movie-trailer style video, movie-like banners on the web, movie-esque wildpostings and mass-transit ads, and if the game is a big enough deal, it might get its own flavor of Mountain Dew.
But now, Electronic Arts has announced that they are going to start selling premium downloadable content before in-store game packages are released. Costing around $10-15, it will essentially be a long demo of the game, followed by the full packaged game at full retail price.
"The idea is that if the PDLC gets favorable reviews, it will build word of mouth for the boxed product. If the PDLC has issues, they can tweak the packaged product to address those issues, improving the final product before release." —EA senior VP Nick Earl
It’s always seemed odd to me that game companies know how to make something that people will want to spend hundreds, maybe thousands of hours interacting with, but don’t apply that knowledge to the marketing of that product. Instead they hand over their marketing to people who specialize in creating messages rather than interactions. This results in a necessity to focus on the storyline of the game, which is a slippery slope to creative work that mimics marketing for linear media, like movies.
People like games because they like learning new patterns, because learning new patterns is fun. Story is at best secondary (and lets face it, most story in games is almost as bad as the voice acting). So it would seem that the best way to really build hype for a game prerelease is to immerse users in the game world using game mechanics. Give people something to solve, ways to interact with the story … get interactive. Gamers are clearly wired for games, so why not use game mechanics to market them? This PDLC idea seems like it could be a step in the right direction.
The ever-vigilant Ilya has turned my attention to a recent book that is all about designing marketing games. I'm into it. Especially because I think most good marketing works because of the same pattern learning principles that make gaming so. much. fun. I'm looking forward to buying it. Though my recent car purchase means that I should probably wait. (or should I?)
Also on their Weblog, they've posted a slideshare presentation about using games for non-profits. As usual with these things, the voiceover would probably be really helpful, but it's interesting enough without it.
I saw this video the other day while searching for drum solos. It's sort of long and rambly, but he addresses some points in here that I think are important for planners and anyone in general who does creative things.
Technique doesn't equal interesting—Knowing the technical aspects of creativity are not a means to an end, but tools with which to express your personal point of view. Being good at research doesn't make someone a good planner. Knowing how to flawlessly play modal scales on guitar doesn't make you a guitar player that people want to hear. It's only when you plus-up technique with an interesting point of view that you get to an interesting place.
Talent Imitates, Genius Steals (hi Faris)—It's really easy for creative people to single out their heros and try to get good at doing things they way their hero does. The problem is that some people take it too far, and start to become clones. A few years ago in Virginia, there was an awful plague of drummers who were doing their best to sound like Carter Beauford from the Dave Matthews Band. Some of them were great at imitating him, but no one mistook them for being great drummers because they had nothing to add to the conversation besides the imperfections that come from not actually being Carter. It's his personality combined with his technique that made him interesting.
The thing that makes creative thinking interesting is the individual's personality. Technique isn't an end unto itself. Russell is interesting because he's Russell. Gareth is interesting because he's Gareth. Faris is interesting because he's Faris. The ability to do the job as well as those guys is important, but I it's how you spin it all together to make it your own that really determines how good you are.
Zoso is a really great (if slightly overweight) Led Zepplin cover band, but they will never be rockstars.