Marketers Find A Plethora Of Options In Gaming

OMMA Global Hollywood-Play Me A StoryHOLLYWOOD, Calif.-- As marketers decide where to spend money to promote products and services, they may want to tap into a variety of video game models to reach consumers of all ages.

This diamond-in-the-rough marketing channel has the potential to hook consumers not only with causal games on handheld devices, but elaborate online shorts made from feature films that help producers tell the story, according to a panel of experts at OMMA Global Hollywood on Tuesday.

Nathan Kitada, director at 5432 Films, said the company has been working on a show for called "Hero Hospital" about a treatment facility for superpowers. The animation style, a cross between machine and cinema, taps into full-length movies and uses video games as the engine for content.

The series has five episodes, each several minutes in length. The first is scheduled for release next month. Putting the shorts together creates a half-hour show with time to run commercials between breaks.

In an interview earlier this month with Online Media Daily, Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise said the company is working on an Apple iPhone application that will allow game and cinema buffs to access the content on the go.

Short content works well to create a relationship with gamers. There's nothing wrong with having a lighter online version of a game running on Microsoft's Xbox 360 or Sony's PlayStation 3, agreed Neal Sinno, VP business development at Arkadium, New York; and Jayson Dubin, president at Intergi, Deerfield Beach, Fla.

The Web downloadable version typically promotes the sale of the longer content. It's a way to reinforce the brand and the title, as well as create an audience.

Josh Lovison, gaming and mobile lead at IPG Emerging Media Lab, who moderated the panel "Play Me A Story: Can Games Help Content Producers Tell Stores," said 97% of people under age 18 play video games.

When Lovison asked the panel if the young audience creates different expectations, Dubin said "yes" -- it sets the bar higher. The biggest problem from the demographics has been that brands know very little about consumers younger than age 18.

"We know so little about that audience that it's hit and miss," Sinno said, admitting that he's not a big game geek, but rather more into films.

When the conversation shifted to advergames, Tameka Kee, West coast correspondent at ContentNext, said "advergaming" is somewhat of a "dirty word" that conjures up images of a game that "sucks," but at least one -- "Blood Ties," a series -- has done well to promote the brand.

Tapping into innovations that have emerged in the past 15 years such as the combination of machine and cinema gives producers and brands new ways to tell the story through several types of media aimed at gamers.

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