In the cut-throat world of gaming, a clear pattern has emerged: losers chase trends, and winners chase demographics...
speculation has surrounded the creation of screenPLAY, 7mate’s new program starring Nich Richardson and Stephanie Bendixsen. Is Australia ready for a new video game review program so soon after the abrupt cancellation of Good Game? Can screenPLAY attract sufficient ratings on a digital channel to survive? And why in the world is St. George Bank funding it?
It all makes perfect sense, dear reader. Opening your first bank account is a very important step on the road to adulthood, and once you’re locked in with your primary financial services provider you’re unlikely to change for the rest of your life. As such, the generic, nondescript, feelgood advertising campaigns of the major banks are a ridiculous waste of money. Bank marketing should disproportionally target the young.
Granted, TV shows cost a lot of money to make. St. George will pay a high price for each new customer enticed by the affable telepresence of NichBoy and Hex. But if you amortise that cost over a customer’s lifespan, it more than pays for itself. Borrow short, lend long – banks have always made their money playing the long game.
screenPLAY recently ran a promotion where you could win a Nintendo Switch if you switched to St. George. Given the amount of long-term income at stake, they could probably afford to give away a Switch to every single new customer, maybe with a new game every six months or so to sweeten the deal. But the jolly green dragon’s actuaries most likely determined such expense unnecessary.
Force of habit is a powerful force indeed, and major corporations are very wise to exploit this effect to the
look at Wargaming - the Belarusian Bear has cornered the market in Dad Games
maximum extent allowed by the law. By harnessing habit (i.e. addiction) they create not customers, but vassals. The very best kind of slaves: slaves proud of their chains. NichBoy actually boasts about the $4,000+ he’s spent on Hearthstone cards, and his whale tale is far from unusual.
The screenPLAY initiative is the way of the future. Amazing, then, that so many games publishers are forever stuck two to three years in the past, chasing trends when they should be chasing demographics. You see the same pattern, again and again: There’s an unexpected breakthrough hit, and two to three years later the imitators bring their knock-offs to market. We saw it with MMOs, MOBAs, and CCGs. And now we’re seeing it with PUBG. The creators of Fortnite have launched a mediocre 100-player Battle Royale mode, and more copycats are sure to follow.
One could imagine Gearbox and Boss Key desperately rushing out their own Battle Royale modes to breathe new life into Battleborn and LawBreakers. But it wouldn’t work. As of this writing both those games struggle to get 100 simultaneous players in the entire world – the wait between matches would be interminable.
Then there’s the ever-increasing number of tone-deaf promotional cross-overs. Adding Elvira to Call of Duty does not make the game any cooler. It just makes Activision look desperate. “Hey kids, remember Elvira?” No. They don’t remember. And anyone who does is just going to feel old.
Luckily, some gaming companies seem to know what they’re doing. For a textbook example of how to win over a demographic, just look at Wargaming – the Belarusian Bear has thoroughly cornered the market in Dad Games.
Fathers have responsibilities, and precious little free time. A dad who thought nothing of dropping 20 hours on a game in his younger days might struggle to find 20 minutes of leisure time in his busy dad schedule. Wargaming’s fine dad-friendly products cater to the discerning tasterich but time-poor gentleman.
Total War: ARENA may seem like a departure from World of Tanks and World of Warships, but its timing is impeccable – it’s arrived just as the Total War franchise’s core fan-base is entering a new stage of life. It pares away everything save for the very core of the Total War experience: highstakes tactical skirmishing.
Assuming 2K are on the ball, I’d estimate that the next dad-friendly cab off the rank will be Sid Meier’s Civilization. Civ VI raked over the coals when Uncle Sid’s aging fans would’ve been better served by a break from tradition. Some manner of onlineonly freemium experience; 10-minute sessions taking place on a compressed world map, something more akin to Candy Crush.
Time waits for no-one. The first of the Big Four banks to offer customers premium currency, loot crates, and/or exclusive skins for hero shooter waifus will gain a competitive edge.
The Cold War may be over, but the Dad War is just getting started...