Svahn, M ~ Marketing the Category of Pervasive Games

Svahn, Mattias
Lange, Fredrik
Marketing the Category of Pervasive Games

Chapter 11 in Montola, M et al ~ Pervasive Games

Very good marketing article! Good overview of marketing pervasive games, but applies to all new products. Worth reading again when I’m writing about marketing the entertainment architecture.

“It is safe to say that some of the more extreme pervasive games, such as Momentum, can neber be mainstream hits.”
“We propose that the way to mass-market a pervasive game successfully is to stop thinking only about mainstream game launches, such as Halo 3 and World of Warcraft, and instead look more to the launches of brands such as iPod, Starbucks, or Jamie Oliver. Pervasive games are not really new. It is just that the mass market cannot really grasp them. They are where the mp3 player was before the iPod, where coffee shops were before Starbucks, or where cooking shows were before Jamie Oliver – they lack the one prototypical product that defines the whole product category for the mass market.
“Categorization is fundamental in human life. People categorize things automatically, even without being aware of it. The human ability to group instances into categories is automatic and critical in everyday life.”

“Product history shows that it is highly important to consier categorization when creating business moels for nevel products. What use, situations, needs, and solutions already exist that our product is replacing or adding to? These questions are central to marketing strategy decisions, such as what advertising style to use, and where to put the product on sale.”
“Thus, a new product should attempt to catch the eye of the market’s leading consumers. If the first impression regarding a new product comes from an association with a down-market-associated category, then the new product will inherit the associations from that category.”

“However, the launch of a truly new product, a rare opportunity, offers some opportunity to shake up perceptions.”

“The Majestic case [EA pervasive game that was marketed alongside video games] also demonstrates how important it is to avoid using category essences from a different category (in this case major computer games) if these essences make people perceive the product as something different.”

Pervasive games do not fit into domain of “entertainment”, because they are not the reward after work and chores like film, TV, or a rock concert are. They are with a player all the time. That’s why they need to be marketed as part of a different domain, for example “specialized hobbies and interests” which “can turn into mass-market products if they manage to establish themselves as “designer lifestyle” products.” They can be the next Harley-Davidson or iPod.
All of this applies to the entarch!

“Human consumers carry around a primeval feeling of there being a time and a place for everything and unaware participation goes agains that feeling.”
-> ARGs and entarch have to be VERY carful not to disturb that feeling!

“This quality of “while doing other things” contrasts the domain of [engrossing] entertainment and its members such as literature and the cinema.”
The domain of “reward” encompasses “entertainment” (a disruptive activity) and “leisure” (non-disruptive). An entertainment product cannot be marketed as a leisure product. But the entarch is doing exactly that! Can the entarch be sold as the matter that glues various forms of entertainment together, but itself if not “entertainment” but “leisure”, a “designer lifestyle product” that channels consumers to “entertainment” products?? If it were a “reward” product, we wouldn’t have this problem, but can you market something as “reward” or is that too abstract?

If their concept is sound, “it means that the competitors for the mass-market consumers’ wallet and attention are personal fashion items and visiting “fashion-places” rather than newly released titles for PlayStation 3. It means that in the short term it may be wiser to design a pervasive game for the iPhone than for the PlayStation Portable, even if the former is a technologically inferior platform.”

About the author

Woitek Konzal

Producer, Consultant, Lecturer & Researcher. I love working where technology meets media in novel ways. Once, I even won an Emmy for digital innovation doing that. Be it for a small but exciting campaign about underground electronic music collectives or for a monster project combining two movies, various 360° videos, 72 ARG-like mini puzzles, and a Unity game, all wrapped up in one cross-platform app – I have proven my ability to adapt to what is required. This passion for novel technologies has regularly allowed me to cross paths with tech startups – an industry and philosophy I am all set to engage with more. I intensely enjoy balancing out my practical work with academic research, teaching, and consulting. Also, I have a PhD in Creative Industries, a M.Sc. in Business Administration, and love to kitesurf.

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