Published on February 6th, 2016 | by gareth0
Why Game Publishers Do Not Make Reveals During The Super Bowl And It’s Massive Viewing Audience
Cost analysis; the term that is the backbone not only of many business classes but also most corporations. Basically it means to look at the cost of something and then determine whether it is beneficial in the long or short term to the company. With advertisements to the Super Bowl costing millions of dollars for a 30 second spot, many companies involved look at the chance to reach over 100 million viewers as something they cannot pass up. This is always amused me as the car, alcohol, soda, and snack food companies that advertise are ones that the consumers are all very well aware of, and to me it’s a simple matter of nobody wanting to be the one who is missing from the parade less it leads to speculation about instability within the company.
For me, the ads regarding the upcoming movies have always been enjoyable as “ID4” set the standard by having and a trailer approximately 6 months before the debut of the film. Naturally as the Internet has grown more and more trailers are released well before the movie in question with multiple versions leading up to the release. That being said, it comes down again to cost analysis in that millions of people have a chance to be exposed your movie months before it is released and thus helping to ensure a greater opening weekend.
This got me wondering why we don’t see more gaming related advertisements during the big game. I am sure we will see ones from Microsoft and Sony touting their consoles but with an audience of this size one would think this would be a prime time to do a reveal for an as yet unannounced upcoming game. Imagine the fact that you could potentially reach more people with one 30 second ad then you could with all of the attendees of the upcoming years gaming and pop culture conventions combined.
Now this is where cost analysis comes in. It would cost significantly more for this advertisement then it would to send your marketing team to several conventions throughout the year as well as the print and online campaigns that would follow. Yes you would get strong word-of-mouth and people would rush online to see the trailer after it had been broadcast, but it is a very risky and costly venture.
Most companies would rather put their revenue behind tried-and-true marketing practices which usually follow making a reveal online and then promoting it at conventions, websites, trade publications, and the various outlets that are available. While hitting 100 million people at once is a fantastic statistic, not having the funds to do the follow-up promotion and marketing for a title leading up to its release is likely a good reason why companies do not take advantage of this opportunity.
Let us use the example of Call of Duty; the best-selling game franchise in the world. We know that this November will likely see a new release in the series as that is been the pattern for the last several years. We know that, E3 this June we will likely get our first look at the game and that the months leading up to release will show numerous online campaigns, discussions, and tradeshow appearances.
Traditionally you start to hear rumors of what the game will be sometime in March or April with the announcement of the game often in late April or early May. Should Activision decide to shake things up and make the announcement now in February during the game, we would likely be followed with a few months of silence and a big reveal at E3. With an estimated cost of $3-$6 million many companies would have to ask if such an investment is really going to affect the bottom line as whether they make an announcement then or stick with the traditional approach likely will not significantly affect the final sales figures at least according to most cost analysis. Where this would be beneficial is for a new franchise or a game that has not yet found any attention and therefore reaching this kind of audience at once would potentially have significant impact on the sales. The problem with this scenario is usually for a title to be this under the radar it would be coming from a smaller publisher who likely would not be able to front the cost of such an advertisement as in doing so would deplete their promotional budget and in many cases exceed it.
It will be interesting to know if this pattern changes in the near future as the audience for gaming continues to grow and with publishers constantly looking for new inroads and marketing advantages over their competitors.