Here's an interesting example of ancillary content that will likely receive some focused interest from video gamers. Electronic Arts is releasing music from its video games for download through Apple iTunes. According to last Thursday's press release, the music can be purchased through the Electronic Arts Web site. At EA Trax, users can create an "iMix of their usic for their favorite EA game on iTunes."
The market will soon expand from North American into Europe, and new music content will continue to be added from games past and present.
Steve Schnur with EA says in the press release, "As our culture goes increasingly mobile, music fans have demanded to take our game music with them. They have been looking for a singular destination that houses all of EA's music--and this is it."
Wayne Smallman writes, "For me, this kind of thing makes more sense than in-game advertising. While you can see things like in-game advertising adding a sense of authenticity to a video game, in-game music makes for a more engaging experience, and offers a more scalable platform for revenue."
Smallman is looking at inserting music into video games now chiefly with the realization they will come out the other end with a market as hits based on their initial exposure in these games.
Bob Caswell also has some interesting notes about the statistic cited by EA that 55 percent of those who played the game Need for Speed found new songs through playing the game, and that half of them made purchases or downloads resulting from that initial music exposure in-game.
Bob writes, "Count me as one of the 55%; I actually was interested in that Snoop Dogg remix a while back and was annoyed that it didn't seem to exist outside the game. This move by EA should have happened a long time ago and will only help the music industry. There are millions of gamers out there, and they're probably not listening to the radio to find new music they're interested in buying."
I don't know that I agree with Smallman that this replaces product placement and ads in games, but I think this is yet another profitable business model to build and extend involvements in gaming worlds, if the music fits with the game. This seems a fairly natural extension that works well in other media forms as well, and I think EA's model is worth paying attention to, not just for video game companies but for all media producers.
Thanks to C3 Affiliated Faculty Tommy DeFrantz for alerting me to the EA announcement.