EA's BioWare division bought out an entire commercial pod in Sunday's NFC Championship game on Fox to run a full two-minute trailer touting the highly anticipated "Mass Effect 2" game, hitting the market on Tuesday.
"'Mass Effect 2' is an incredible game. Everything about it suggests it is an epic title that deserves to be promoted in an epic way," Dustin Shekell, senior advertising manager at EA, tells Marketing Daily. "There is no more spectacular place to do this than the most-watched, male-oriented, nationally televised program on-air just prior to the game's launch."
The trailer, which has been online on the game's home page, plays much like a movie trailer, outlining the story of Commander Shepard, who leads a crew of operatives from around the entire galaxy on a potentially suicidal mission.
In addition to the trailer, BioWare plans a live Internet event during which game developers will showcase the game and interact with consumers about both the football game and the upcoming title.
The event will take place, at the Lions Head pub in Edmonton, Alberta (which is attached to BioWare's headquarters). BioWare has been promoting the event through its 5 million registered users, as well as through the Mass Effect Twitter and Facebook pages.
Console games have become big business. Last November, "Modern Warfare 2" set sales records and titles such as Halo build as much advance buzz as summer blockbuster movies.
"Titles like 'Halo' and 'Modern Warfare' have reset the bar in the industry from both a sales potential and product quality standpoint." Shekell says. "These titles have broadened the appeal and relevance of gaming overall within pop-culture while demonstrating that some game releases can even surpass the revenues generated by the movie industry."
Those increased expectations have increased the pressure on gaming companies to ensure their title launches break through the clutter. "With more competition in the entertainment space every year, let alone increasing competition for consumer share-of-mind, we need to make strong statements to ensure our messaging resonates," Shekell says.