Exploring Game Industry Use of New Media

Introduction

The gaming industry has been in existence for over 40 years. Over the years, the industry has gradually transformed both in terms of formalities and aesthetics (Newman, 2004). Video games have emerged as a distinct social, cultural, and economic force in the contemporary society, making the history of videogame industry as one of turbulence, peak, and trough (Newman, 2004). The videogame industry however experienced dramatic decline in the 1980s due to the substandard products that it provided in the market coupled with consumer apathy. However, the situation has experienced remarkable recovery and development ever since and have reemerged as an extremely popular social cultural form of social indulgence which raises global concerns (Newman, 2004).

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The social process is video and computer gaming is highly dictated by the operations of the market with specific regard to the user’s purchasing power, consumer desires and expectations on the products as well as consumer satisfaction. Substantial structural and technological advancements have taken place in the industry for years. Video games have advanced structurally, spatially and remarkable advancements have been achieved in interactive potentialities consequently presenting its users with particular reference to the relationship existing between design and technology (Newman, 2004). The industry has registered development through simplification of procedures, methodology and efficient organization which has further promoted evolution of video games as artifacts.

These evident changes have led to increased formalization in the gaming industry as well as managed development processes which clearly contrasts to processes that were prevalent in the game industry in the 70s and 80s (Newman, 2004). These developments, coupled with dominance of frequently risk averse financiers and publishers required to fund an support large scale projects has led to the rise of a contemporary market place that largely depends on creativity and invention associated with development in the industry (Newman,2004). This has consequently led to the need for the gaming industry to develop marketing strategies that meet the expectations of the modern market in terms of technological advancements and modern cultural expectations.

Has the new media promoted the performance of the gaming industry?

In our study, we are going to focus on the effectiveness of new media in the gaming industry as well as the success stories associated with new media in various major companies. New media does not necessary imply that the media is a completely new phenomena. In fact, new media has been growing out of the old media for some time (Livingstone, 2006). New media encompasses structural advancements stemming from traditional media such as films, images and written word towards advanced technology that features high powered computer systems, internet and communication technology. Game companies are constantly utilizing new media as a marketing strategy. They have been integrated in Tran media intertextuality to serve the needs of the contemporary consumer (Living stone 2006).

Although the game industry has been a mass market phenomenon for many years, academic research and studies conducted on the topic has been developed recently. This is especially due to the dynamic nature of information technology as well as failure of games to reveal themselves to an outside observer (Livingstone, 2006). Further, the experience of game playing calls for great investment in terms of time resource and expertise making academic scholars to shy away from handling the topic while those who under take the study have been limited form actual participation prompting them to limit the scope of the study and generalize findings without providing adequate details (Livingstone, 2006).

Marketers and designers in gaming companies have applied different strategies to capture the market. Popular video and electronic games utilize characters and scenarios from current movies while others have generated feature films and television shows under their own right which has evidently improved their performance and popularity in the market (Livingston 2006). The global success that was achieved by Nintendo’s pokemon is a clear illustration of success achieved through this marketing strategy and has set pace for digital empires to follow suit (Livingstone, 2006). The game industry provides users with a means through which they explore the world of computers and technology and therefore the companies’ utilization of high tech programs in game development is an effective strategy to attract users to high powered gadgets and programmed games.

New media marketing strategy

The controversy in the game industry still remains between a marketing strategy directed towards gaming accessible to the market and the games suited for each generation of people. It is evident that the generation that is currently nearing middle age have found them immersed in the fore front culture of new media and have to reconcile between sub cultural history and a dominant present which is highly predominated by technological advancements (Ashton, 2008). The shift towards utilization of new media is highly significant as ii is a representation of maturity and development in the gaming industry which promotes inclusion of varying generation to the industry.

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Interactive gaming did not emerge spontaneously, rather it thrived under the basis of mass mediated markets and culture that it continuously utilizes (Kline, 2003). Video gaming traces its roots from the television where games solely depended on the television sets as their means of visual display (Kline, 2003).In addition, the gaming industry depended on the television sets for their advertisement and promotion means to reach the children and the youth hence providing the society with a commercialized culture that carried a flow of enhanced entertainment into the youthful media audiences and therefore we can basically conclude that new media emerged from the foundations of old media proven by the prevalent elements of old media that can be observed in new media.

Real differences exist between interactive gaming and flow of television programming and the choice has been programmed into digital play (Kline, 2003). The critics of technology should acknowledge the changing nature of youthful entertainment and the ways in which the media responds to this dynamism which is the major driving force towards the emergence of new media as a way to reach the modern users. Some scholars approach the activity of playing games as complex engagement that blends creative exploration with narrative in form of mediated communication that that infuses young people’s engagement with participatory intensity (Kline, 2003). However, gaming choice still remains a matter of technical decision executed within predefined scenarios whose strategic parameters are pre ordained by the developers (Kline, 2003).

The gaming companies concentrate on a marketing strategy that put more emphasis on technological advancement; availing the players with capacity and valences of the advanced and web machine player access, culturally; by developing story lines and scenarios for their commercials that promote desirable cultural values and commercially; by concentrating on fair prices of both software and hardware (Kline, 2003). In addition, the marketing strategies shape the orientation of the whole industry at large. Marketing strategies that lean towards new media are successful especially because the modern society has transformed from old media to new media utilization.

One of the major objectives of the game industry is to ensure that the consumers of their products do not reflect on the forces of cultural, technical and promotional forces (Kline, 2003). The companies have realized that the enthusiasm of players constantly diminishes if their characters and weapons act inappropriately. Consequently developers aim at immersing the user into an experience that diminishes the feeling that the user interacting with a computer and the user completely loses sight of the surrounding (Kline, 2003).

In order to achieve these levels, companies ensure that their games are very technologically endowed that they render the same technology invisible. Despite the fact that marketing in the gaming industry may account for up to 1/3 of the entire cost of production, or that the promotional campaigns devoted to launch new consoles, various companies are making considerably huge money from the industry due to its suitability in the modern society.

Highly popular multi player online game are designed in such ways that they bear considerable similarities with the way the new media is directed. Consumer conceptions of digital empowerment often offer them with a misconception of consumer sovereignty and render the users as willing to accept whatever the market dispenses regardless of its effectiveness. The combination of technological determinism and market idolatry is the ideology we see coming together around futuristic celebration of interactive gaming (Kline, 2003).

Digital progress however improves the condition whereby new technological advancements and techno cultural innovations from cellular phones to interactive games are constantly shaped, contained, controlled and channeled within long standing logic of commercial market place which is dedicated to profit maximizing sales of cultural and technological commodities (Kline, 2003). However, while the interactive games are in many ways a representation of new media, the possibilities that the games derive are significantly hindered by a persistent media market that who’s fundamental imperative remains and that which is shaped by the old media (Kline 2003). This encounter between the digital media and capitalistic markets may be reshaping and reconstructing the markets as well as shaping the orientation of the new media.

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Three streams of thought have been put forward to explain consequences of the emergence of a mass mediated market place; media theory, political economy and communication as well as cultural studies (Kline, 2003). Each of the lines of thoughts provides us with valuable resource to understand the gaming industry and its utilization of new media as a marketing strategy. Digital futurists claim that new media represents a total break from the past and provides an opportunity for the industry to penetrate an unprecedented utopian culture of technological empowerment in the new economy (Kline, 2003).

This claim however futile and raises a lot of controversy. This is because new technologies are a representation of intersection of the old technological developments and cannot be represented as a drastic break but as a gradual development. Further, some scholars have asserted that new media has dire consequences in structuring subjectivity at the level of cultural content and the perceptual process. However, the electronic games user cognitively reacts to the marketing strategy based on the prevailing technological conditions.

The film and music industry are also utilizing the new media as a means of marketing their products. Increased uses of high powered gadgets among the population have prompted them to comply by advancing their products such that they can be accommodated by these gadgets. Extensive research and improvements in the film and video industry has been achieved to elevate the industry to meet technological needs of the consumers.

Gaming companies successful marketing and advertising using new media

The Marketing strategy by Japanese Nintendo Wii forms a part of a longer lineage of Nintendo marketing (Ashton 2008). Under Nintendo hegemony, the gaming industry began to register systematic developments as a result of emergence of high market operators characterized by extensive media budgets, ingenious event marketing, and ground breaking advertising (Ashton 2008). The Nintendo Wii stands out from most companies as it pioneered remarkable virtual motion reality in the gaming industry (Plunkett, 2009).

The Wii “first experience’ show presented in its website critiqued domestic settings as the backdrop to Wii playing experience presenting an ideal potential Wii play scenario (Ashton, 2008). This commercial placed the player in an imaginary home and a play environment while they sought to promote the popularity of Wii. The marketing strategy received remarkable success primarily due to its enhanced ability domesticate environments and group plays which in turn advocate for social values such as family togetherness and team work resulting from domesticated hi tech discourse (Ashton, 2008).

The television advertisement aired on Nickelodeon where a dad mistakenly confuses the Wii remote for the television remote control prompting him to get immersed to the game as the entire family joins in further promotes family bonding. The commercial depicts Wii’s ability to promote family cohesion through its easy to use accessible device (Ashton 2008). Shift in the accessibility and inclusivity of digital gaming is closely bound with Nintendo’s remarkable efforts. The company has achieved considerable success in its operations and sale of their products and this can be attributed to its marketing strategy that not only promotes social values but also utilizes the new media which is a common feature of the contemporary society.

In 2007, the gaming industry attained global revenue of 41.9 billion according to the statistical results provided by the price water house coopers (Plunkett, 2009) which was further expected to escalate in subsequent years with the introduction of more complex machine technology and high powered computer and electronic systems. Modern technologies allow for combination of games, MP3 and DVD players and also offer full internet access as interactive online gaming and television (Plunkett, 2009). Game players can find online opponents and enjoy the game which has served to orientate the gaming world into internet and online gaming as widely preferred by users.

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Sony’s play station 2 released the first gadget which was DVD and CD ply enabled and offered the users with the opportunity of high tech online gaming (Plunkett, 2009). The company received remarkable sales return and achieved a sales level of 115 million units by 2007. This was further promoted by the company’s strategy to reduce the product’s retail price which attracted more users worldwide. Sony’s play station 3 went on sale in 2006 and in the mid 2008, the company had made sales worth 12.85 million units worldwide (Plunkett, 2009). This success can be attributed to the company’s introduction of high powered gadgets which were in line with the current society’s expectations relating to the prevailing technology which provided the users with an advanced model to work with.

Microsoft, Xbox released in the late 2001 with 5500 million marketing budget attempted to revolutionalize the gaming industry by offering a combination of high end PC complete with high speed internet and a powerful graphic chip as well as a video console and headset which allowed players to interact verbally despite while in different countries (Plunkett, 2009). The success of Xbox was further boosted by Microsoft’s online gaming subscription service launched in the late 2003 and had achieved 10 million members by 2008.

This provided users with ability to play against each other through the internet hence promoting interregional interactions through the gaming world (Plunkett, 2009). In a world where communication through the internet has reduced the world into a global village, the gaming companies derive a lot of benefits and competitive advantage through online gaming and interaction. Above are just highlights of the process of development in some of the major gaming companies and the attributed reasons for their success which can be clearly indicated through the transformation of gaming culture towards an online culture which is highly preferred in the modern society.

Gaming industry in Australia

Australia gaming industry has earned reputation in terms of quality provision in the global market due to its provision of new advanced content in the market (Australian government n d). Australian developers have registered remarkable success from their establishment of Auran’s epic world beating strategy game Dark reign to Blue tongue’s high profile Jurassic park which have earned the industry the good reputation that it now possesses (Australian government, n d).

In an ever-changing and dynamic gaming industry, the greatest challenge of the Australian gaming industry is to keep pace with the technological changes taking place globally while still remaining on top of the game. This can only be made possible through the companies embracing innovation and flexibility and new media as a marketing means (Australian government, not dated). The dynamic nature of the industry prompts developers to venture into new and exciting career orientations as well as promoting their products using the new media facilitated by internet connectivity.

Consumers can utilize the massive multiplayer online role playing games or simply sit online and swap clues with mobile equipped team player and engage in the gaming exercise (Australian government, 2010). The industry is also changing such that the games, music and movie industry are beginning to merge into single entertainment companies (Australian government, not dated). In addition animated films are increasingly utilizing software engines often used to power games making the boundaries between the two industries further blurry

Game development in Australia has been characterized by increased risks and a consequent shakeout of studio propertied coupled with a growing emphasis on industry professionalism and tertiary training (Knight & Brand, n d) Further, with the increased need for expertise approach in the gaming industry, a number of institutions of higher learning have started offering diploma and degree courses on gaming which borrow heavily from computer science and information technology to aid in programming while others focus on animations and arts to focus on design leading to further growth of the industry (Knight & Brand, n d).

Further, the success and opportunities of the industry are facilitated by development of new media such as interactive TV and wireless connected hand held devices (Australian government n d). According to the GDAA, $A40.9 of interactive (video games) were traded in 2002, a figure that was way above the world-wide-box office returns in the (film) industry on the very same year. In Australia, the game on exhibition held in 2008 employed a ‘social contextualization’ approach whereby they connected digital gaming developments with historical events and phenomena such as the 1969 moon landing and spice girls (Ashton 2008).

Technological advancements stand out as the basic element that enhanced evolvement of digital gaming. Gaming companies in the country are constantly strategizing to expand marketing to demographic groups that have been previously marginalized. The government of Australia has played a significant role in the success on the country’s gaming industry. The government has extensively funded the organization of game developers association of Australia, which aims at raising the standards of local industry, protecting their interests and looking for funding investment and capital for local gaming industry

The Australian gaming industry seeks the services of international gaming publishers such as Electronic arts, Sony and Vivendi universal in production of their commercial games which have enabled the industry to achieve high levels of output which continues to accelerate over the years (Australian government, n d). The government has established that the real opportunity to develop the gaming industry in the country lies in development of large and advanced high tech sector and has consequently adopted the strategy of extensive funding of the local companies to enable them to grab and maintain a large share of the market (Australian government, n d).

As advancement in computer technology continues to take place, the commercial publishers continue to retain their highly rated standards in the market. However, the average console game continues to demand more resources which translate to increased prices and a heavier burden for small scale developers who cannot afford these types of budgets (Australian government, not dated). However, the future for the industry remains promising due to the country’s technological advancements, well connectivity on the web as well as the ability of developers to offer the products at a relatively low price (Australian government, not dated).

New markets continue to open up through online gaming, multiplayer computer games, interactive computer games as well as games utilizing the mobile devices technology (Australian government n d). The success achieved in the gaming industry in Australia stems from its ability to produce games that are up to par with the contemporary technological needs. The users are therefore motivated to buy their products consequently increasing sales and profitability of the industry.

Conclusion

The new media has registered successful positive implications in the game industry. In our study, it is evident that major companies have achieved remarkable success primarily due to their utilization of the new media. The new media’s success in the gaming industry has been possible due to advancements in technology which has transformed the modern society into a high tech oriented society. It is therefore important for gaming companies to utilize the new media marketing strategy in order to realize higher returns.

Reference List

Ashton, D., ‘Digital gaming upgrade and recovery enrolling memories and technologies as a strategy for the future’, 2008, M/C journal vol 11 no 6, Web.

Australian government, ‘digital game industry in Australia’, not dated, Web.

Kline, S., Witheford, N. D., Peuter, De Greig, ‘Digital play technology, culture and marketing’, 2003, McGill-Queens press.

Knight, J.S., Brand, E.J, ‘history of game development in Australia’ center for new media research and education’, not dated, Web.

Lievrouw, A. L, Livingston, M.S., 2006 ‘handbook of new media; social shaping and social consequences of ICT’ Sage Publishing.

Newman J. ‘Videogames’, 2004, London, Routledge.

Plunkett, J. W., ‘Plunkett’s entertainment and media industry almanac 2009 E-book entertainment and media industry market research statistics trends and leading companies’, 2009,Plunkett research limited.

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