Saturday, February 3, 2007
Scene from Sneak King.
“Released on Nov. 19, more than 2 million [Burger King] Xbox games have been sold in just four weeks — making it the best-selling collection of games published for the Xbox/Xbox 360 platforms this holiday season.”
These are those games advertised on television — Sneak King, Pocketbike Racer, and Big Bumpin’. I guess these are the latest marketing ploys of BK’s newish ad house Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the folks responsible for the Subservient Chicken (amongst other viral tricks).
Anyway, a few things:
One: Has anyone played any of these? Apart from the blatant marketing, are they good games? The descriptions make them look a bit generic and simple — but they’re $4 games. Maybe they’re $8 worth of fun.
Which leads me to: $4 games? We touched on this issue in class, I believe, about how much of the economics of designing and building a game are dependent on the $30-$50 sales price range. It takes millions of dollars to make something the consumer will put out that amount of money to play. What happens if players get used to paying less that $10 for a game?
Finally, these games have apparently done huge things for BK’s bottom line. (Quarterly earnings up 40%?!) Are they a fluke, or might this become a viable future venue for advertising. People are willing to sit through 10 minutes of commercials for a free hour-long television program, after all. Web-based games aside, I can’t think of many home console “advergames” besides these and the 7UP “Cool Spot” game from the early 90’s.
Anyway, this seems to be a crucial event in the history of gaming and marketing. It’s a bit sleazy and manipulative as all marketing must be, but maybe worth talking about in the context of the business of making games. Especially if it turns out these games don’t actually suck.
Originally posted on ITP’s Advanced Game Design Seminar blog.
I'm Josh Knowles, a technology developer/consultant on a variety of mobile, social media, and gaming projects. I founded and lead Frescher-Southern, Ltd. I grew up in Austin, Texas and currently live in New York City.
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