E3: The Mecca for gaming brands

E3: The Mecca for gaming brands

B&T has teamed up with Sydney-based agency Rinsed to provide exclusive news, analysis and video from the biggest gaming show on earth, E3 2013.  Simon Micarone (pictured), founder and MD of Rinsed, is on the ground in LA at the event and will be reporting back the big stories for B&T this week, including exciting new opportunities for content marketers, brand managers and media owners.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

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DAY TWO

The real stand-out on the E3 show floor this year would have to go to Activision. A near five-story multi-title display including mega franchises like Diablo and Call of Duty: Ghosts, to the super-creative sculptures and installations of Skylanders Swap Force, it certainly got some attention.

Equally, in the same fashion the blockbuster Halo was screened, Destiny, the new comer from the development team Bungie held its own amongst these giants of the industry. Creative, beautiful and seamless stand designs had me wondering would I ever get a chance to deliver something this epic.

And if that didn’t take your fancy, it was hard not to be blown away by Activision’s ‘Show Theatre’. I remember as a child going to the Easter Show and experiencing the 3D theatre in all its glory for the first time – I really thought I was on a roller coaster. Well for me that’s what the Show Theatre was like today; hundreds people crammed into an elevated circular structure surrounded by floor-to-ceiling HD imagery of Call of Duty: Ghosts. The floor moved and rumbled and smoke billowed through the space to complement the journey. It was fantastic in the most childlike way and it was totally immersive. As a marketer this was a brand dream. And it moved me enough to tell others about it – which is key for any brand.

Nintendo and Capcom

There were another two really smart brand activations that caught my eye. One for Nintendo and the other for Capcom.

Capcom’s Dead Rising 3 stars a guy named Nick who runs around California fighting off zombies. It’s dark and bloody and anything and everything is a weapon. What Capcom did well was to keep the integrity of this theme running through the stand. The highly stylised set featured live zombies which seemed like you were immersed in the making of the Zombieland.

Nintendo’s activation for Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was also standout. Simple and effective, there were massive queues all day to jump in the game circle and play on a DS. What I loved about the stand was a live animation of Mario speaking and interacting with staff and guests around the gameplay area. This was no loop animation; it was fully live. An actor would have been attached to motion sensors in the studio to create Mario’s movements with Charles Martinet voicing the character. Again, highly interactive, authentic and unique.

Brands and technology

Outside of how the brands were bringing their games to life, major movement on the technology front continues to be the push for deeper gaming experiences. I mentioned the third screen yesterday with Need for Speed Rivals, but as a single player the second screen is now almost standard with game development.

Time and time again developers are pushing engagement by providing relevant real-time information to assist game play. Commonly known as ‘Companion Apps’, these are now an important part of the battle for gaming supremacy and a deciding factor in who can deliver the best experience on the next generation consoles. Electronic Arts showcased the “6th team member” via the command centre in Battlefield 4, where a jump-in assistant provides enemy locations, assists with weaponry and gives detailed statistical analysis on the opponent. Clever stuff.

Another game that will really push engagement is called Project Spark, to be released on Xbox One, where making the game is the game. Everything in the world from environment to the characters and enemies can be created by the player though Kinect and SmartGlass. This creation process is enabled through both touch on a tablet and voice via Kinect. And there is great collaboration where worlds can be remixed once shared. A bit like crowd-sourcing where ideas can be built on by others.

All-in-all, as marketers, we strive to create a memorable emotional connections that will drive people to share what they felt in that moment. If you do it well, those people will become your biggest brand advocates, don’t do it well and it could be equally as powerful in the negative. Marketers who are brave and take risks ultimately reap the biggest rewards but equally stand to lose the most. So don’t tell people how good something is, make them feel something.

Simon Micarone (pictured) is founder and MD of Sydney-based experiential, PR, and social media agency, Rinsed.