Video Game Consoles
Game consoles are dedicated devices for
playing video games.
Have been around since 1970’s. Now 3 major
Advertising aimed at fun
Industry faces many
History - 1970’s
(Did Brontosaurus Play Pong?)
1972 - Magnavox Odyssey is first game
console. Poor marketing caused it to fail.
1975 - The famous Atari PONG console
First of several versions.
Atari known as a pioneer in home
gaming for years to come.
1976 - Coleco releases Telstar.
A few other companies have products, but
these 3 are the major competitors for rest
of 70’s and start of 80’s.
History - 1980’s
(Plumbers Become Heroes)
1985 - Nintendo Entertainment System
Criticized for unreliability.
Product recalled and repaired.
Popularity takes off.
1986 - Sega Master System (SMS)
released to compete with NES.
Technologically better than
Nintendo, but games less popular.
Mario Brothers becomes
Technology for SMS made portable
a hugely popular game
and used for Sega Game Gear for Nintendo, spawning
(1991). many sequels.
History - 1980’s & 1990’s
Nintendo is major console
manufacturer, with Sega as
major competitor. Sequels to
NES, SMS & Sega Genesis
released throughout 80’s &
1995 - Sony comes on scene Remember Frogger?
Originally an add-on for Nintendo.
Deal fell through. Sony continued to
develop as stand-alone.
History - 2000 to Today
2001 - Microsoft joins console
competition with Xbox.
Marks the entrance of the last of
today’s major competitors.
Currently 3 major console
Nintendo Wii (2006)
Sony PS3 (2006)
Microsoft Xbox 360 (2005)
US sales of Consoles &
Hardware $4.6 billion
Games $6.5 billion
Worldwide sales of
hardware & software:
2005 - $29 billion
Projected for 2011 - $44
Slicing Up the Pie
• Sony leads industry
with 50% market
• Expected to stay the
same for next few
• Nintendo & Microsoft
will remain major
Traditionally men aged 12-35.
By end of 2006,
More than 2/3 of men 18-34 had
access to console in their homes.
80% of boys 12-17 had access.
Women only 10% of video
game players as of June,
Beginning to diversify.
Consoles in 46 million
homes in US.
148 million adults have
access to a console.
More than 1/3 of all adults
online have game consoles.
Average user plays for 2
hours, 15 minutes per day.
Little growth in the gaming market for past
Everyone who wants to own and play video
games has done so.
Brand Loyalty critical.
Keeping current gamers interested is difficult.
Sales of game titles within each console makes or
breaks the brand therefore exclusivity of titles
Tapping into the casual gamers market is
crucial to sustain and promote future growth.
Uses eye-candy, lots of glitz and pop.
Sex is central in marketing to the main
demographic of men 18-34.
Cutesy cartoon characters central towards
youth game market, i.e. SpongeBob, Barney,
Hello Kitty, Super Mario Bro., Donkey Kong,
Pokemon, Harry Potter, Mickey Mouse, Bugs
Synergies are formed in cross-media
promotions - movies, TV, books.
Sony’s Playstation 3 Baby Ad
Takes a metaphorical approach to
accentuate the superior technological
capabilities of the PS3.
Marketing wants to lead and define the
market thus having others follow.
PS3 campaigns are designed to be
completely unique and different from other
Aims to introduce and demystify technology.
Ad available at
Sony’s Playstation 3 Baby Ad
Need to Satisfy Curiosity
Baby represents clean slate innocence (the audience).
Eyes had been closed and are opening for the first time to see the PS3
Baby gasps in awe of the possibilities that only the PS3 can bring.
Metaphor suggesting the target audience hasn’t seen anything yet;
experience will be uniquely novel and eye-opening with a myriad of
emotions that evoke tears of joy.
Need for Nurture
Baby extending its arms towards the PS3 and muttering “mama”
suggests the PS3 can provide the kind of nurturing to satisfy curiosity
in the same instinctual way that only a mother can do for a baby.
Sony’s Playstation 3 Baby Ad
Need of Aesthetic Sensations and Need to Aggress
From within the eyes of the baby; action packed explosions,
ultra speed, guns firing, lasers etc., all in amazing detail.
Implies what the consumer will have if they had a PS3.
Need to Dominate and Need for Prominence
Superior capabilities of the PS3 provide a virtual life-like world.
Gives the player freedom and control within the games.
The PS3 levitates before the tagline “Play Beyond” suggesting
transcendence, while the reflective silhouette of the baby (the
audience) in the machine ties-in the consumer to feel the
dominance and prominence if they had the product.
Nintendo Wii Ads
Cool, simple and fun approach to emphasize multiplayer and
interactive features of the Wii.
Promotes universal appeal across all age groups.
Everyone in the family can play together.
User-friendly and customizable games with the Mii feature.
Wii campaigns designed to be cheerful and upbeat.
Aims to specialize in “Fun Factor” in lieu of technological
Cheaper prices for the machine coupled with the “Fun Factor”
and family-friendliness is the main selling point.
Ads available at http://us.wii.com/tvcm_usa_gallery.jsp
Nintendo Wii Ads
Need for Affiliation and Need to Escape
Every ad had image of two Japanese men driving around in their
tiny, cute and fun car to bring the Wii to average citizens across
Men knock on doors and say the tagline “Wii would like to play.”•
Target consumer is meant to relate to the people.
People in the ad always seem bored, expressionless or puzzled.
The Wii provides family cohesiveness by allowing them to enjoy
the same games regardless of age.
Need of Aesthetic Sensations
Characters within Wii games are customizable.
Not only will the consumer be playing the game, he/she will
actually be in the game.
“Built by Games”: the Microsoft
This ad is available at
• Hundreds of video games on the ground, a flat, green surface.
• A simple, childlike tune in the background.
• The games fly up like bits of paper and travel along the same path.
• They come together and start building a structure, while little bits of
sound from each game overlap.
• The games form themselves into an Xbox 360.
• Green bricks block our view of the Xbox and the screen says “The next
generation is over a hundred high-def games. The next generation is
“Built by Games” Xbox Ad
Main message – machine is literally made from
the games played on it.
Underlying message – games = experience of
Machine itself is literally made of fun and excitement
Will fulfill person’s need for more fun and excitement in
Appeals to Need to Escape – playing games on this
machine is much more enjoyable than real life.
Appeals to Need for Aesthetic Sensations – what are
video games but massive sensory input?
“Built by Games” Xbox Ad
Slogan – this machine represents the future, and the future is
Use of sound:
Game noises – adds to the “fun and excitement” message.
Childlike melody invokes time when life was simple and all
about having fun – or so we try to remember.
Use of color:
Green offsets the gray of the machine.
Green is color of living things. Game player is experiencing a
healthy life by playing.
Target audience – game players, anyone who likes fun and
excitement, the “young at heart.”
Going Old School: Sega vs.
Sega is pretty much out of the major console games, but this is an
old ad from when the Sega Genesis came out.
The ad shows the Sega Genesis and the SNES.
Voice over claims that the Genesis has something called “blast
Fast montage of Sega games including “Sonic the Hedgehog” and
“Echo the Dolphin” while TV with Genesis is tied to back of drag
TV with Super Nintendo playing a Mario Brothers sequel is tied to
the back of a very old truck.
Drag racer drives across slogan, “Welcome to the next level.”
Driver raises his visor and screams “Sega!”
This ad is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K03fQKkN7VI
Sega vs. Nintendo
Main message – Sega’s technology and games are better
Underlying message – you will have a lot more fun playing
Nintendo games are old, slow and boring.
Nintendo is unoriginal - their games are all rehashings of Mario
Sega has an adrenalin rush better than drag racing – even the
driver finds Sega really exciting.
Target audience – game players, people who want fun,
people who are impressed by technology but don’t know
much about it.
Sega vs. Nintendo
Game montage – lots of bright colors and fast
motion underscore how much fun this machine is
to play games on.
“Blast processing” – pseudo-technical jargon
makes you think you’re getting something special.
Appeals to Need for Aesthetic Sensations – Sega
has way more sensory overload for your brain
than Nintendo does.
Appeals to Need to Achieve – beating Sega
games is a challenge, but beating Nintendo
games is easy and boring.
A new dimension in marketing specifically aimed
at reaching the 18-34 male demographic.
In-Game Advertising campaigns have become the
ultimate opportunity to reach gaming consumers
effectively and efficiently because gamers are
operating at a much higher concentration level
than someone who is passively watching
television, glancing at a subway poster or flipping
past a magazine ad.
Reaction to in-game advertising is positive.
70% of gamers say that ads inside games improve game
This new evolution is gaining momentum.
$56 million spent on in-game advertising in 2005
Expectations of $400 million in 2007
Expected to grow to $1.8 billion by 2010.
Major corporations taking action to seize opportunities
within the new medium.
Microsoft’s Massive Inc. is the current industry leader.
Media giant Google is also getting in on the act with Adscape.
Splinter Cell series – Nivea skin
care products for men, Philips
Norelco shaving products, Sony
Ericsson cell phones.
Need for Speed Underground –
Cingular cell phone service,
Burger King, Best Buy.
Doom 3 – McDonald’s and Coke.
Cultural & Social Impacts
Alcohol & tobacco use
Effects on children & teens
Declining physical Health
Issues & Controversies
Most central, infamous and buzz-generating:
Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise.
2002 - GTA 3 called for anti-social or
sociopathic behaviors including random
violence, killing police officers, carjacking,
prostitution, murder, robberies and drug use.
2005 - GTA: San Andreas discovered to have Screenshot from
“Hot Coffee” patch. GTA: San Andreas
Patch allowed people to engage in explicit
sexual conduct within the game.
Game also showed same behaviors as GTA 3.
“Hot Coffee” controversy led to Congressional
investigation of adult content in video games.
Supporters of Video Game
Critics of Video Game Content
Work by various groups has
Minority Rights Groups forced the video game
industry to adopt a ratings
system similar to TV and
Videogames ultimate in interactive
Developers must struggle to stay at cutting edge
Devices & performance standards often obsolete
Must always release bigger & better to stay
ahead of the competition.
Budgets can rival Hollywood productions.
Marketing strategies must be pre-planned to ensure
return on investment.
Timing must be perfect.
Must be coordinated with TV, print media, retailers, etc.
If development falls behind schedule, company has
Remove some game functions to stay on schedule.
Push back release date and lose marketing & sales dollars.
Piracy losses can amount to billions of dollars annually.
Illegal copies available on Internet for only $5.
Global losses in 2004 = $3 billion.
Companies spend - and earn - a lot of money from their video
Overt advertising uses themes like fun and excitement, family
connections, innocence and simpler times. They also
positively compare themselves to their competition.
Covert advertising has viewers when they are guaranteed to
be paying total attention to the ad.
There have been many negative consequences to video
games that society needs to look at.
Video games are at the leading edge of entertainment,
rapidly becoming the ultimate form of media due to all the
possible synergies and convergences with other media. More
undiscovered uses still to come.
“A Brief History of the Video Game Console.” The Game Console. 19 March 2007
“Despite Competitors’ Gains, Sony to Lead Game Consoles Through 2010.” 2006. In-Stat.
21 March 2007. http://www.instat.com/press.asp?Sku=IN0602145ME&ID=1614
“Game Sales Charts.” 2006. PVC Console.com. 20 March 2007
Girard, Nicole. “Explaining Disconnect Between Women, Video Games.” 2006. Cnet
News.com. 19 March 2007.
“More Than One Third of US Adults Online Own a Game Console, According to
Nielsen//Netratings.” 2007. Yahoo Finance. 21 March 2007
Morris, Chris. “More Room for Gaming.” 2007. CNN Money.com. 21 March 2007
“Nielsen: Video Game Consoles are in Nearly 46 Million U.S. Homes.” 2007. USA Today. 19
March 2007 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/gaming/2007-03-07-console-rise_N.htm
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