I'm not going to say that games are making as much money as movies, because then the comments would be nothing but numbers and people arguing about the box office vs. DVD sales, so let's all agree that games are a huge business. The issue of course, is that no one really seems to know how to market them. Commercials are nearly worthless, no one in the target demographic watches them, and what can you say about a game in thirty seconds that will make people want to play it? You have games like Halo, where teasers and trailers will be drooled over and argued about for months, but not every game is a Halo. So how do you get the excitement level for games up to movie levels?
This article has a few ideas, but each of them has a drawback. Hardcore events… but what about the casual gamer? Viral marketing… but that only works with people who tend to spend a lot of time on the Internet anyway. The game version of King Kong simply used the momentum of the movie to great success.
It's clear that there aren't a lot of strategies out there that work for games, and most of them will simply appeal to a core audience and then rely on word of mouth from there. The example offered by Blitz: The League is a great one, however. When they didn't have an NFL license they played that aspect of the game up, saying they were showing you and letting you do things that the NFL would never have agreed to. That lead to a lot of buzz as people wanted to see what the NFL was so scared of. The NFL wasn't scared of anything, they were just bought out by EA. The trick worked though, and the game sold well.
You have to admit, that's pretty brilliant. Maybe it's just a matter of ad execs thinking on their feet and coming up with something just as good for every game. Of course that takes time, and creativity. Two things both the ad and gaming business are often lacking in.