When Activision game Call of Duty: MW3 challenged the dominance of Hollywood blockbusters in the entertainment markets, it reinforced the growing popularity of digital games among worldwide consumers.
Highlighting the trend of interactive entertainment gaining a greater hold of audiences, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 game achieved the milestone of earning $1 billion in just 16 days, eclipsing the record set in 2009 by the feature film “Avatar,” which reached the $1 billion mark in 17 days.
Enter the world of digital games. They come in different flavours including computer games, console games, mobile games, and now social games. And all these forms are extremely popular among consumers.
Action and Sports
It’s observed that action games like Call of Duty and sports games are among the hottest categories for consumers. Of late, a number of games have been introduced to woo the sports aficionados.
Electronic Arts (EA) is one of the top game producers targeting sports fans. It said more than 2.1 million people downloaded the FIFA Street demo in just two weeks, making it the second most downloaded demo—behind only FIFA Soccer 12—released by EA Sports over the past year.
EA is doing aggressive marketing to promote its titles. It has just announced that Robert Griffin III, former Baylor University quarterback, will be featured on the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 13, set to hit retail shelves in July.
To achieve more consumer engagement, EA has announced that fans around the world have the opportunity to shape the face of the EA Sports NHL franchise, by participating in the first ever EA Sports NHL Cover Vote Campaign – sponsored by BlackBerry and hosted on NHL.com.
Also, 2K Sports has rolled out Major League Baseball 2K12 for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Wii system, PlayStation2, PSP (PlayStation Portable) system, Nintendo DS hand-held system and Windows PC.
In the action category, Nintendo gave consumers a chilling first look at Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir for the Nintendo 3DS system. It opened an authentic haunted hotel to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, giving consumers age 18 and older a chance to get hands-on time with the new horror-themed game.
It’s not only the fun element that is increasing games’ consumption, but, of late, the real impetus has come from enterprises that are using games for their brand promotions.
For example, the makers of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum released Captain’s Conquest, a mobile social game. It is available for free download in both Android Market and the Apple App Store.
The company said that Captain’s Conquest is a relevant way for the Captain Morgan brand to connect with its fans.
Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Board, is trying to attract tourists in Brazil with interactive tools including Brasil Quest, a new video game app.
Some companies are using innovative ways to offer games to consumers. Take the case of Friskies, which is manufactured by Nestle Purina PetCare, a global player in the pet care industry.
It has introduced a duel-species tablet game, “You vs. Cat,” available for iPad and iPad2 tablet devices. It is claimed to be the first tablet game designed for two players – one human and one cat – to bring big-time competition to playtime.
NASA went a step further. It joined hands with Finland-based Rovio Entertainment, creator of the Angry Birds franchise, to release a new game, Angry Birds Space. It will teach people about physics and space exploration through the internationally successful puzzle game.
Conde Nast’s SELF, a leading women’s active lifestyle brand, entered the social gaming scene with the debut of SELF Workout in the Park.
Marking the first social game launched by a magazine brand, SELF Workout in the Park is inspired by SELF’s live-event franchise of the same name, now in its 19th year.
Earlier, Apps Genius Corp, a creator of social games and mobile applications, released “Snooki’s Match Game,” a Facebook game developed on behalf of MTV Jersey Shore breakout star and New York Times bestselling author Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.
While mobile gaming is already there, portability with special devices is the new fad in the gaming market. This is manifested by the recent launch of PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) portable entertainment system by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE).
Newly launched in North and Latin America, Europe and PAL territories as well as in Singapore in February, its sales reached over 1.2 million units worldwide. Software sales across the globe have surpassed 2.0 million units at both retail and on PlayStation Network.
Even the top gaming and entertainment companies have shown their interest in the portable gizmo. EA, for example, says it has delivered the first true HD console experience on a hand-held gaming device with the launch of EA Sports FIFA Soccer on PS Vita.
And Netflix will be offering its service on PS Vita, which can stream TV shows and movies from Netflix on its multi-touch display via Wi-Fi.
Moreover, Nintendo is teaming up with some of today’s hottest musical artists to bring a flurry of 3D music video premieres to users of the Nintendo Video service for Nintendo 3DS hand-held system.
While Activision’s Call of Duty was in fact a warning call for Hollywood behemoths, now top movie makers are using digital games for their brand communications. Now, in a way, Hollywood is coming closer to the gaming industry.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have announced the launch of Gotham City Impostors, an original, download only, multiplayer first-person shooter from Monolith Productions for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, and Windows PC.
And Disney Interactive Media Group has announced the development of “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,” a sequel to the “Disney Epic Mickey” video game.
In the new game, gamers will play as Mickey Mouse and for the first time ever, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s first cartoon star, in an all-new adventure.
Earlier, Nikki Finke’s Deadline.com, Paramount Digital Entertainment, and Liquid Entertainment announced ‘Deadline Hollywood Game’ on Facebook.
The game allowed players to experience what it really takes to make it in Hollywood. It was designed for wannabes and showbiz moguls. It also becomes the first game of its kind to incorporate real-time breaking news that influences gameplay.
Paramount Digital Entertainment announced Star Trek for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, and Windows PC. With an original story and unprecedented co-op experience, the game casts players as Kirk and Spock for the first time ever.
Disney Interactive Studios offered Disney Tangled: The Video Game on Wii and Nintendo DS. It said fans can join Rapunzel and Flynn Rider in this humorous and engaging video game inspired by one of the most hilarious and hair-raising tales ever told.
While all this action is taking place in the gaming market, tech researcher Gartner estimates that worldwide spending on the gaming ecosystem exceeded $74 billion in 2011, up 10.4 percent from 2010 spending of $67 billion. By 2015, it says, spending will reach $112 billion.
So, gaming market is going from hot to hotter, opening floodgates of opportunities for all the stakeholders in this ecosystem.
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