Editorials

Activision Shows Marketing Prowess

November 15, 2011, Author: James Joell-Ireland

MW3′s launch was one heck of a lavish affair, with London overtaken for one evening to celebrate the launch of what will be the fastest-selling game the world has ever seen.

It’s not necessarily because of the bespoke quality of the series. In fact, some would argue that using the same engine year after year is pure laziness. Whether you love or loathe MW3, you have to appreciate the sheer marketing clout Activision has. It is the main proponent as to why it sells so well. It knows its fan base and knows how to drum up serious hype.

At midnight last night, YouTube’s homepage banner was taken over with the game’s title. As I headed towards the train, even I couldn’t help notice the outer cover of the London Metro. When I opened the page, I was astonished to find that the inner print of the page wrap also advertised the game on both sides. It’s that type of ‘in your face’ marketing a video-game needs to alert their existing fan base, but more importantly to drum up interest from those whom have never played the series before, or casual gamers.

I never felt that the marketing campaign for Battlefield 3 packed as much punch, and it would appear that EA blew quite a wedge of its marketing budget well over a month before the game was due to launch. EA lacked the experience of getting a shooter into the marketplace to the point that it actually caused a frenzy, and you need that when you are trying to make it your biggest seller.

Whilst sales figures for Battlefield 3 aren’t bad in the slightest, considering MW3 had a 16% rise in pre-orders over Black Ops, it clearly tells you that EA are doing battle with a goliath.

The fastest selling game of all time!

On a personal level
What I played of spec-ops was great. The survival mode element was more satisfying than Horde or Firefight and while I am personally looking forward to playing the game; I still know that it will be a CoD game, a game that will stench of familiarity. That is something that bothers me.

The mainstream gamers do not like change, buying a copy of MW3 has cemented to Activision that they will indeed rape this series until it dies a miserable death like the Guitar Hero franchise. If ever a game is to come in and challenge MW3 for number of units sold then they need to spent millions upon millions on marketing.

While we are on the point of marketing. Sony, you need to look carefully at what Activision are doing, because your biggest game of 2011 was marketed absolutely shit in comparison to what Activision has done. Uncharted 3 should have been the game to shift many additional PS3 units but once again, as with Uncharted 2, the marketing campaign ends up dying in the hole just as people start to get excited by the buzz.

You can hate Bobby Kotick all you want, but his model is a model that works. He treats his big games as though they are bigger than Hollywood blockbuster movies, and with the sales figures you are going to see in two weeks time; can you argue with that statement?

Me neither.