The gaming industry just seems to be getting bigger and bigger, agglomerating communities with intensely immersive experiences and interactivity that grabs you mind, heart and body. New game releases are blockbuster events, amassing sales in the hundreds of millions overnight – the recently released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 topped $775 million in five days.
Emotion is behind the movement. Game makers are creating deep bonds with consumers through Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy. Story-telling is hugely important too. Many of the most successful games are built on a rich mythology, extreme foreign worlds or basic but compelling fairytales (think of Angry Birds wreaking their vengeance on a group of green pigs that have fried their eggs). This is Lovemarks territory.
To connect in a powerful way you have to know your client, customer or consumer, what his or her dreams and aspirations are, what makes their heart beat faster. The top game makers get it. Check out this inspirational story where Electronic Arts listened to the voice of the consumer: EA had missed a critical element in its NHL game – the fact that it had no female player option even though 65,000 girls now play hockey in the US – and moved to put it right (as the great Wayne Gretzky says, they headed where the puck’s going, not where it is now). Now the game has a new face.
There are plenty of lessons brands can take away from the rise and rise of the gaming industry, but maybe the most important is its focus on creating moments of pure joy. This is the raison detré of games – no joy, no point, and no profit for countless hours and millions invested in research, product development and marketing. So here’s one question for today: How does your brand bring joy to people’s lives? Find the answer, and it’s game on.