As the reach of the internet grows, the importance of television is challenged. Video games are among many forms of entertainment that advertise via television commercials. However, Danny Bilson, Head of Core Games at THQ, wonders how important television is and how other forms of advertising could be a better use of the marketing budget.
"One of the bigger questions we have to ask ourselves is, how important is television? I question it severely. It's incredibly expensive, and what I can do with two million dollars, which will buy a few TV spots on a big sporting event, what I can do outdoor, or on the web, or direct-to-consumer is way more exciting."
One of the "way more exciting" options he wants to explore is advertising on gaming consoles.
"I want to market on Xbox Live. I want to market on PSN, because every night that's the switch I turn on at my house. And that front end comes, and those windows come, and all that marketing's getting right to me because I'm a core gamer. That's where I want to invest."
Investing in the core gamer is an interesting concept, but how often do we pay attention to advertising on our consoles? When we power on our systems, we already have our minds set on playing a game or watching a movie. Focusing on the core gamer is a gutsy strategy that may find much more success as time goes on.
An ever growing percentage of people are getting their television shows and entertainment outside of broadcast cable and network TV. Game developers and publishers have to become more in-tune to the most efficient way of getting information about their game out to those most likely to purchase. The "hardcore" gamers usually know everything about a game well before the release date. However, the case can be made that "hardcore" gamers are the minority. Also, commercials are most needed for new game franchises trying to get the attention of the consumer, such as is the case for THQ's upcoming shooter, Homefront.
Bilson is marketing smarter with Homefront's "Future History" trailer, which doesn't use game assets so the development team need not spend time retrieving them for the trailer. If you don't have the budget to buy the expensive TV ads, it would be in your company's best interest to find other avenues and strategies. With digital video recorders and "on demand", people can avoid commercials like never before, making them much less effective. Creating a more efficient communication path between the game ad and the target audience is the ultimate goal, especially for those who can not afford to waste any time or money.