What's Machinima Got To Do With It?
Established advertising titans are gobbling up new digital shops to keep current. How are you keeping current?
You might be planning your integrated second-screen campaign as of this writing, or “going mobile,” or deciding if your app market has reached saturation.
You might be thinking of gamification, a newer digital word which translates into turning real-life situations and products like consumers goods & services into a game: making it fun.
There are more than half a billion people worldwide playing online games at least an hour a day, so… how do we cash in? 5 million gamers in the U.S are spending more than 40 hours a week playing games -- the same as a full time job!
Games are respectable, games are generating billions of dollars and hours depositing players on the digital shore who will venture into the sea of whatever you are selling as long as you make it fun enough.
Video games are hot right now. You might have heard of Machinima.com, the YouTube video gamer channel which, as first reported by AllThingsD, recently closed a $35 million funding round led by Google… The new financing comes as Google’s YouTube has been investing heavily in bringing in all sorts of new original programming.
As Paul Rossi of The Economist Group said to me as he studied my business card: “What is machinima exactly?” And he looked at me in full knowledge that I wasn’t a 15-year-old boy. It is a good question. Machinima is film done on a game engine, that is, machine cinema. The audience for machinima.com is a highly targeted segment of the population that is predominantly male and 14 to 30. So the site’s programming reflects this, whether in its popular zombie webseries “Bite Me” or the animated “Seven Brothers” by John Woo, which is done not in screen capture, but in motion comics. Machinima.com is for that coveted section of the population, and their programming reflects this demograhic. Happy Hour delivers funny films from the many game engines for some fun stuff.
It's no surprise, given the enthusiasm for game culture, that YouTube’s biggest entertainment destination outside of the music companies’ is a game channel for gamers, featuring games, with videos about games, and trailers galore. The audience size is just so huge that sponsors such as Warner Bros have committed millions in support of this channel as well; they want their trailers seen on here. Inside Gaming is the machinima.com newsletter, which offers a lot of information on this space.
Machinima as a genre means a lot more, though. Ars Technica recently broke the story that Valve's Source engine will make its big-screen debut in a movie called "Deep," set in the post-apocalyptic landscape of World War III, where the remainder of mankind huddles in abandoned ship hulls and struggles to survive $18.7 million -- the film's budget -- is a huge one for a game engine film.
Machinima as a genre is also called real-time animation because everything you see on the screen while watching machinima has been captured as it occurs. The fact that a game engine can allow you to craft story, with nuance, drama and humor, means that those who have a sure handle on this craft will be called upon increasingly for much lower budget, very targeted & higher concept film making.
We are culivating and investing in new digital frontiers which have become part of our daily lives. Finding ourselves affected by a new focus isn’t scary or strange when we use the philosophy of what works. Fun is usually amongst life’s true rewards, and what people want to be a part of. I guess that’s why it’s called “fun & games.”