Seems a long time ago, right? In just a few years, we’ve become pretty blasé about Xbox 360 and Nintendo marketing dominating the Christmas TV ad schedule – and Sony spunking over £4 million on getting PS3 noticed during an economic slowdown.
This week, the latest fillip in games’ outgrowing of its former commercial master arose, as – via an AFP deal – Nintendo bought a whole programme for two million quid. Not an ad. Not even a whole ad break (stand up, FIFA ‘09). But eight hour-long, pro-Nintendo extravaganzas.
Sure, the platform holder won’t be able to benefit from any jarring product placement in Britain’s Best Brain (the Government this week stood firm on their decision to outlaw the practice). On paper, its exclusive sponsorship is the only promotion the DS will benefit from.
But, come on: It’s hardly likely Carol Vorderman (or whichever PVC-skirted boffin Tiger Aspect hire) is going to tell the viewers that the DS is a piece of shit, either.
Commercial TV media spend is on its arse. ITV needed Government intervention from Digital Britain to offload its money-sucking local news commitments, following a £2.7 billion loss in 2008. Five – the home of Britain’s Best Brain – is holding out for a hybrid deal with Channel 4 to halt its sliding commercial intake.
Games no longer have to wait for TV media planners to flick us a few crumbs from their commercial feast. These days, we’re not only invited to dinner – we’re footing the bill.
Nintendo wasn’t the only one highlighting the shift in power between TV and games this week. Microsoft’s content deal with Canal+ in France – news broken by MCVUK.com – followed a similar (and similarly alarming) deal with BSkyB in the UK.
Above all else, these satellite TV giants have one mission: to hunt out where the money is. With an ever-expanding, transfixed audience of young, cash-rich consumers at their beck and call, it’s no wonder they’re keen to jump into bed with Xbox – as it comes good on its promise to evolve into the 'must-have entertainment hub for every living room’.
Koei has been particularly proud of its merger with Tecmo in recent weeks – repeatedly telling MCV that the newly formed Tecmo Koei Europe can become a premium European publisher. After Sony’s very public backing of the firm at its press conference this week, that’s a claim that we might all do well to take a lot more seriously from now on.