Call-of-dutyIt’s Friday, and so of course, some staff’s minds are turning to the weekend. A recreation of choice for some of the hard workers here at Marketing Innovation is playing video games…and that got us thinking. What is Market Research like in the video games industry?

 

On internet forums and communities for gamers, one of the common complaints is the stagnation of the AAA titles into mammoth-like titles, ready to go extinct at any moment. The games industry spend millions into developing and publishing titles across many different platforms and for many individual markets, but there does seem to be a lack of consumer focused insight into the concept stage.

game-testersGamers are often consulted after a game is produced, alongside the usual time-consuming testing stage. There are also a lot of in-depth market research analysis into sales and distribution of titles across markets after a title’s release, especially within the US and Japanese markets. But…there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of pre-production stage concentrated market research within the gaming industry, looking into consumer insights, branding exercises and comparable market focus groups. The recent insights gained from consumer complaints and suggestions into recent ¬†announcements from a pre-release console out in the market in a few months, meant that a few marketing teams wished they had had their backs covered from the outset. Innovation is good. Innovation without focus can be perhaps a little short-sighted. Innovation without consumer consultation can be a disaster.

Perhaps it is because gaming is seen as a creative industry. Films, publishing and music industries have been around for a very long time in terms of marketing. Who wants to do Market Research into what might and should be seen as ‘Art’? It will take away from the whole experience. But…on the other hand, a AAA game title isn’t a single creative piece from an individual director or artist. It’s a combination of technology, talent, branding and entertainment that must find it’s own path on the road to what the consumer wants and what the industry can deliver. Publishers know what will sell now. But do they know how their customers think and what they really want in the future?

So, before the team here at Marketing Innovation break off for the weekend and set their sights on a few FPS and RPG titles, we’ll be pondering over the kinds of market research that industry needs for the future.

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