This was a great, eyeopening presentation, but unfortunately I got slightly electrocuted at this point by a faulty plug socket. Luckily something (the power strip) sucked most of the shock, but it was a weird violent judder there for a few seconds, and then I had a dizzy-headed sweat flush for about half an hour. The perils of digital life… ! (I think my teeth are picking up radio signals. Sure feels like they are.)
This meant I missed taking notes on Susann’s fantastic presentation on the marketing of the Sims franchise, which has sold over 56m copies worldwide, and has a female playerbase of 60% (which, let us remember, still leaves a very large and significant 40% male playerbase). Susann talked about the players, the marketing strategies, and how really there were little differences in Sims consumption by men and women, except perhaps in the surrounding community, where there are more registered female users than male..
There are four fundamental play functions in the Sims: building, storytelling, creativity and control. All four appeal to people who like to play, full stop. (Play may be an operative word here: “I’m not a gamer, I play the Sims” is a common phrase used amongst the female players…)
EA used some nice little marketing touches: advertising in the ‘marriages’ announcements section of a Swedish newspaper, and using celebrity endorsement (genuine celebrity players) in Germany, through to ‘design your perfect day’ in the UK, with Sugar magazine. Interestingly, Sugar were reluctant to work with a games company, reluctant to let them advertise, saying games were ‘violent and for boys’ – yet they capitulated, and that particular competition was the most popular Sugar competition ever run.
Good stuff. I hope she takes this story to other conferences, she's a good speaker..