Leading UK development studio Bizarre Creations believes that rapidly growing social network sites could trigger a new world order in video game marketing.
Boss Ben Ward told MCV that the likes of Twitter and Facebook arms publishers with a powerful and viral means to communicate their products – adding that these modern marketing tools offer clear advantages over legacy PR systems.
“Social networks are a view to the future of marketing,” said Ward. “There’s only so much that a marketing message can say to people, and it’s not trusted information – it’s a stranger’s recommendations, whereas recommendations from one of your friends is infinitely more valuable.”
Ward’s comments come as the Liverpool-based developer aims to tightly integrate social network communications into its upcoming game Blur – a unique action-focused racer set to be published in the summer by Activision. The game will allow users to create micro-sized messages from within the game, with the text appearing on the user’s own Twitter feeds.
“Blur is really the first game to have this kind of social network integration,” said Ward. “We’re actually building a web API into Blur, so there’ll be an XML feed that web developers can use however they like.
“Right now, Blur’s name spreading through Twitter will raise awareness, but I’d argue that it won’t yet raise awareness in the way that a TV ad can. Of course, this kind of marketing is considerably less expensive than a TV campaign.”
Independent research says that Twitter was visited by over 21 million unique users in January this year, while Facebook enjoyed an eye-watering 112 million visitors throughout 2009 in the US alone.
Both sites are quickly being leveraged by more firms for marketing opportunities. Last year, Dell predicted it made over $6.5 million in orders through Twitter campaigns.
“More people are using social networks,” Ward said. “In the next few years, they will become vitally important.”