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The Importance of Advertising For the Video Game Industry

Being the type of gamer that does his own research by constantly scouring the internet for gaming news, I don't think video game advertising really affects me. Now I'm not saying that other promotions don't affect me, in fact publicity (news) probably affects me the most out of all types of video game promotions. But I'm wondering, what is the effect of video game TV and online ads for gamers like myself? I don't think video game ads fulfill their purpose with me which is to, in the end, make me want to purchase their product. However, I do think ads benefit me when done well (as in create sales) and are absolutely necessary for the industry. Here's why.

For as long as I can remember, I've enjoyed playing video games. The first game I ever remember playing was Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System though my fondest memories from gaming as a kid come from playing the Nintendo 64 (thanks Nintendo!). I'm the kind of person that doesn't really continue doing things I'm not good at (unless they're really fun), luckily for me though I have a knack for most of the things I do (humble I know). I'm also pretty competitive. Anyway that's how I got hooked on phonics, I mean video games. They're fun and I'm good at them. Make sense?

As time went on I started to really appreciate games for their stories, series like Final Fantasy and Zelda were among the first to lure me in. Thus I began doing my research to find games that would tell an interesting and unique story. Research as in sticking with Final Fantasy and Zelda sequels, so not any really. I swear those were really the only single player games I played as a kid. So there's another thing about me, I usually stick with the things I like. I do love discovering new things that turn out to be great (especially discovering something by yourself and telling your friends about it and if they love it too you'll always know you were the one who showed them the light haha), but whenever I try something new and it was just "meh" that kind of brings me back to the things I already love and am familiar with. Kind of getting off topic here, so what does this all have to do advertising and me?

Believe it or not, advertising does work. I have to say that because some people just don't believe in such a thing; that a billboard or commercial could possibly make someone want to purchase something. But the beauty of advertising is, it's the feeling you get from viewing an ad that sells, not the ad itself. You feeling something, that's what sells. So what I'm trying to say is advertising helps sell video games (finally), though it's difficult to determine exactly by how much. Advertising is not a science. Most people know that firms have an allocated budget they're allowed to spend for advertising. However how much they spend on advertising doesn't directly translate to how much they'll sell. Usually once the game releases they'll be able to find their profit by calculating the ad's return on investment (ROI). An ad could also provide other benefits for the firm not tangible or seen with money (ranting about advertising now). Though advertising doesn't affect what games I purchase because of the type of gamer I am (see above), it still helps sell products for others (if the ad makes them want to buy) which can therefore help finance developers who make some of mine and yours favorite games.

This brings me to my example, the Chrono series. Square-Enix's Shinji Hashimoto said in a 2009 interview that if we wanted to see a sequel to the Chrono Trigger we should buy more games ( I'm not sure about you guys, but I've own at least two copies of Chrono Trigger (SNES and PS1). I even own Chrono Cross which I love just as much (if not more) than Chrono Trigger. Here's where I'm thinking well-done advertising could have really helped with Square-Enix's problem. Perhaps they could have sold more copies to those unfamiliar with the series with more TV, online, or print ads. You know, target a market outside of the one that has already purchased it and is familiar with Chrono Trigger. Draw more buyers. Maybe then we would have seen the infamous "Chrono Break" already. This could also just be a terrible example but I looked online and couldn't find a single TV ad for the States. I do remember print ads for Chrono Trigger though, but only in select gaming magazines and none outside.

So basically what I'm saying is, advertising is definitely important to the video game industry. The industry already generates more revenue than the movie industry and we all know how relevant movie advertisements are (we do, right?). It would be nice to see advertising used more efficiently in the gaming industry. If you guys are anything like me (as in you do your own research and aren't swayed by an ad to purchase a game), then you don't need an ad to remind you of a game, do you? I mean, I'm clearly not the target of these ads yet I always see them. How much money is wasted because of this? Are you guys the same way as me? If you're not and an ad on a site like this makes you want to purchase a video game then my whole spiel about certain game ads not needing to be on here goes right out the window! Let me know!

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