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DustinT's Blog
The Conundrum of Game Marketing Stuck
Posted on April 19, 2012 at 09:47 PM.

What's the one word all NCAA and Madden lovers have come to hate? If you answered "gimmick," then you've just won yourself bragging rights on the Internet. Nice work, dude.

Gimmicks are the little things that tease us into an overzealous rage of happy emotions; they get us pumped for the next big game. But in the past few years, gamers have been conditioned to understand what truly is a gimmick. Before, gimmicks used to be the tiny little stat overlays on the screen, or last season's amazingly-awesome announcement of implementing dreadlocks into NCAA 12. Talk about authenticity, right?

Which brings me to my question. Now that everyone has figured out the difference between a gimmick and a legitimate feature, how are these companies like EA marketing? They know exactly what we want to see in our football games (e.g., offensive and defensive line interactions and stable Internet connections).

So if the line interaction has been resolved (please, Lord), why not announce that before 430-plus receiving animations? Why are we looking at new pass trajectories? Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for the new features NCAA 13 has announced, but I'm still polarized by the organized release dates for the information.

If in the final EA webcast they announce the new and improved line-play system, everyone will be ecstatic. The hype train would get rolling in a heart beat after two months of hardly any hype. I assume the boost in hype would help sales, which is exactly what EA wants. But if they released the best and/or most important information first, wouldn't that increase the outlook of the game?

During my time at OS I have seen every gamer. I've seen the diehards, loyalists, noobs, franchisers, fakes and casuals. But the ones that stick out the most are the abundant amount of people who have already decided not to buy this year's NCAA or Madden. I guarantee some of these guys still buy the game, but others think that they have the power to change the outcome of future games if they boycott. Sure the buyers largely outnumber the boycotters, but what if all the boycotters still bought the game thanks to better marketing? In the end, EA still makes a boat load of money, but they could make even more.

So I say scrap the gimmicks, push back some new animation information (we get that every year from every game) and tell us all what we want to know. If we know how awesome these game are going to be two months before release rather than two weeks, the hype train would be on its tracks right now.

What do you guys think? Would you rather see the best improvements now, or later?
# 1 bigsmallwood @ Apr 19
Best improvements are definitely better served being explained sooner than later. They are not doing themselves any justice. EA Sports needs to release the REAL changes earlier....not later.
# 2 Vaporub83 @ Apr 20
They are doing the marketing in the correct order. Big stuff should always be saved for last. Think of it this way, in the NFL draft the late riser get the most love. Guys like Robert Griffin III are now started to get over analyzed aka critiqued harshly. EA has the mantra "Leave them wanting more"
# 3 jmik58 @ Apr 20
It doesn't matter what "we" want because "we" are not representative of the market in general. The average gamer who would buy NCAA is attracted by the gimmicks. The average gamer doesn't give a rip about the line play. Devs do a decent job of addressing the needs of the core group of gamers while doing their thing to meet sales goals driven by the casual market. I'm more excited about how well the Defensive AI read-and-react functions; more-so than line play. The R&R Defense is something that could revolutionize the way the game is played on video games; yet I'm disappointed more supposed "hard core" gamers here at O.S. aren't showing they appreciate it as such.
# 4 cmidd @ Apr 20
At least some people are starting to realize that these games tiburon puts out are no were near as good as the old Maddens
# 5 The_Gaming_Disciple @ Apr 20
Recently purchased All Pro 2K8, I wanted to make sure I was not being too critical of EA. Unfortunately, I realized I was not. Game after game I realized how much 2K, Visual Concepts places emphasis on the fundamentals of real life movement and momentum. EA focuses to much on the glitz and glam (graphics) of the game rather than the down and dirty aspects of a real football sim. As a result of All pro and the atmosphere on the field and on the sidelines it was easy to look past the minimal graphics. This game was made over 7 years ago and much of the physics and mechanics out due NCAA 12. All Pro was not perfect by any means, however, it presented real life. I will be looking forward to when competition re enters the football market again.
# 6 jWILL253 @ Apr 20
I find it difficult to see how new pass trajectories and catching animations are gimmicks.

That said, I see what you're saying...
# 7 Eski33 @ Apr 21
You article assumes that everyone wants better line interaction. I am not one of those people. I agree that EA has struggled this generation pawning off features found on XBox and PS2 versions as new.

However I have enjoyed NCAA and Madden this generation. NCAA 12 was a disappointment only because OD didnt work. I think that people expect too much in regards to wanting games to play too realistic. At the same I also understand paying $60 for games that have features that dont work.

Personally, I am excited for NCAA 13. If the psychic DBs are gone that is a huge step.
# 8 1WEiRDguy @ Apr 21
explain the meat and potatoes first...why hold out? If anything, you need to sway people back to the brand as soon as possible instead of the "a what you've all been waiting for" b/c quite frankly, i've been waiting for 4 years now (i havent bought the game since like 08-09)...if there was ever an optimal time to sway me back over, it should be in the very first, no later than the 2nd dev diary...

but trust me when i say, that if i say im not buying it, i wont even think twice about it...
# 9 2kForLifeKid @ Apr 22
EA sports suck as a franchise why can't they still invest in a damn "QB ENVADE" system...ALL PRO 2K8 IS STILL KILLING MADDEN IN ALL ASPECTS OF THE GAME....EA SPORTS IS FOR 12 & UNDER NOT A MAN'S GAME
# 10 Tickkid @ Apr 22
I don't think that whatever order they put this stuff is going to really affect sales. If this wasn't a yearly product, I might think that these things matter. But anything they release gets chewed up and increases the wanting for it, and I think the order is immaterial.
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