When Spider-man 3 was released in May of last year, the film smashed box office records and earned over $150 million in its first weekend, going on to gross nearly $337 million domestically.
Today, retailers across the country opened their doors at midnight to sell copies of what is anticipated to be one of the highest-selling video games of all time.
According to CNN, Grand Theft Auto IV (GTAIV) is predicted to make $400 million in its first week alone. With copies sporting a retail price of $59.99, compared to the early days of Galaga and Pong, GTAIV developer Rockstar Games is poised to take in a whole bunch of quarters.
Interesting enough, it seems that gaming has really cemented its presence in the entertainment industry by emulating many of the marketing tactics that the movie business has employed for years. In the case of GTAIV, Rockstar Games released mini-vignette trailers more than a year before the game’s scheduled release. The result? Rockstar’s servers crashed as millions attempted to download the first glimpse of the next-generation footage (Funny side note, this actually lead to the first instance of Rickrolling, a tactic we have come to love in this office). For today’s launch, uber-popular social networking site Myspace has been painted in GTAIV graffiti, tempting viewers to visit fictional Liberty City and enjoy a nice vacation.
The impact of a gaming’s growing consumer base and the response from clever marketing programs have been astounding. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ annual Global Entertainment and Media Outlook from 2007 predicted a 38.1% rise in US gaming revenues from 2006-2011, leaving music and movies in the dust. By 2011, gaming could be nearly double the size of the music industry, which presently dwarfs the box-office.
Gamer or non-gamer, what are your thoughts? Is it easier to market entertainment sources that are interactive, such as games, versus film and music?