In May, Nokia unveiled Reset Generation
, its flagship mobile title for its reimagined N-Gage mobile platform. The name refers to "the people who grew up with video games -- everyone under the age of 37," said project producer Scott Foe at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival, where he discussed what he feels is key to innovative distribution modes for games.
is available online for free and can be embedded in other sites as well -- "we do this because it's a billboard of our brand," says Foe.
So, if the ambition is to create a "YouTube of games," what are some key factors in the process?
Part of it, recommends Foe, is bearing in mind what the delivery method will be, and tailor it for distribution on websites and social networks. "Keep the area of display small -- you have to be able to fit all your social networking stuff around the screen."
This sort of "cross-pollination" should be encouraged, says Foe. "Don't make them go to it, allow them to embed it in their sites and pass it on easily. We should consider it ‘bacterial marketing,’ not ‘viral marketing’ because it should be passed on by using it, by giving it to others to use."
YouTube allows for a broad variety of video types, and similarly, Foe says, "bacterial" games should embrace all plaforms, rather than restricting to Flash or Java only. Signup forms and registrations are just one more barrier to entry, Foe adds.
"In word-of-mouth marketing -– if marketing is warfare then consumers are the bullets," says Foe. The new consumer is a "constellation of affinity," and more consumers read Penny Arcade than USA Today.
"There's a reason for their success -- authenticity," asserts Foe.
"Too many times these days, someone makes a product and asks, 'how can we make it go viral?' And if they’re trying to sell a chicken burger. they put a dancing chicken on YouTube. Well, if you have a house and you put a dancing bear in a tutu on top of it, the whole neighborhood is going to come out to see the bear, but no one is going to buy the house."
Instead, he advises companies to "bake the concept into the game" -- for example, says Foe, Nokia used known artists like The Behemoth's Dan Paladin to generate buzz-worthy art for Reset Generation
to create buzz. "That didn’t take off, but the game’s soundtrack, performed by 8-bit Weapon, did."