TRADE GUIDE: FirstPlay

Ben Parfitt
TRADE GUIDE: FirstPlay

FirstPlay – a weekly interactive games show for PS3 – was launched on PSN last week. But what exactly is it? How does it benefit the industry? And how can developers and publishers get involved? CasualGaming.biz takes a closer look at Future’s latest project…

Reviews and Previews
Upon selecting a review or preview an advertisement will appear. These trailers are only skippable after the viewer has already seen them, and gamers are able – at a press of a button – to visit a website or PlayStation Store item associated with the ad.


The articles themselves are written by the Official PlayStation team, the reviews are rated out of 10, and the video can be displayed in full HD. This section also includes reviews of the latest Blu-ray releases. The first issue featured a preview of FIFA 2010 World Cup plus reviews of Just Cause 2 and God of War III.

Screenshots
FirstPlay allows publishers to deliver artwork and screenshots of its upcoming releases to consumers. Displayed in high resolution, readers can zoom in, move around, and even save the images out and turn them into an XMB wallpaper. Audio captions are also available with every shot.

Featured Downloads

In this section gamers are able to access a plethora of DLC. These include a variety of digital extras such as demos, beta trials, dynamic themes, costumes and so forth. The first issue included a FirstPlay Theme and an exclusive parachute download for Just Cause 2.

Network Highlights
Also available from the main menu is the Network Highlights section (see below). In here the FirstPlay team will take a closer look at the latest content available over PSN, such as videos, LittleBigPlanet levels. PlayStation Minis and much more.



Meet the team
Official PlayStation Magazine editor-in-chief Tim Clark heads up the FirstPlay team. As well as being an expert on all things PlayStation, he also has experience in the television industry, which has been invaluable in the production of FirstPlay.

The FirstPlay team (see below) also includes staffers from Official PlayStation Magazine, while day-to-day running of the show is handled by David Boddington – who joined Future following a stint at Endemol and The History Channel.

As well as experts in gaming, the full team also features professionals from TV companies such as the BBC and Sky.

TEAM FIRSTPLAY: (Clockwise from top left) Nick Ellis, James Jarvis, David Boddington, Tim Clark, Nathan Ditum, Adrian Ruiz, Liz Wilson, Dan Read, Paul Stevenson and Kim Richards

Subscribing
FirstPlay issues cost 99p each and are available via the PlayStation Store. Users can subscribe to the service for 90 days at the cost of £8.99, a saving of 30 per cent.

Audio
Future has secured popular British stand-up comic Lucy Porter as the voice of FirstPlay. The 37 year-old is a regular voice on BBC Radio 4, and has acting and writing credits on a host of sitcoms. She has also made appearances on UK panel shows such as Have I Got News For You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Mock The Week.

How can the industry get involved?

There are two main ways for publishers and developers to get involved with FirstPlay – either through advertising or content.

In terms of ads, there are six slots available that can run up to 30 seconds of HD video. These slots are positioned before certain content and can only be skipped after the consumer has watched it once. During the video, viewers can also press a button that will take them to a website (via the in-built PlayStation browser) or a PlayStation store item associated with the ad. In other words, if you are advertising a PSN download, users can go straight to the PlayStation Store and buy it.

In terms of content, publishers and developers are encouraged to work with the editorial teams on video, reviews, previews and features. Yet another key way to get involved is through downloadable content. The trade is invited to provide DLC, PSN games, Minis, beta trials, demos and more for the FirstPlay Featured Downloads section. A key benefit of using FirstPlay for DLC is that, in most cases, FirstPlay will cover the associated download fee, which can mean a significant saving for publishers and developers.

“We hope that by creating what is, in effect, a new medium, we’ll be able to bring people into engaging with games media – and learning about what games are coming and how to get them – who maybe weren’t before,” says Future’s FirstPlay publisher Richard Keith.
 
“FirstPlay offers very direct ways for the trade to communicate to this audience.  The high definition advertisements are an amazingly powerful way to get TV, cinema or viral ads laser targeted direct to PS3 gamers with no waste.”

The Facts:

Frequency:
Every Thursday
Length:
30 to 40 minutes
Size:
1GB approx
Price:
99p per issue or £8.99 for 90 days

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