Not your Parents’ video games!

So if you haven’t heard the latest Call of Duty game, COD: Black Ops sold over 5 Million copies in the first 24 hours . $360 Million in the first 24 hours. Expected $550 Million in the first 5 days!

That’s the highest grossing entertainment opening day this year. That’s not just video games, that’s entertainment, which includes the old standard – movies. Now the nay sayers will say that a video game costs $60, but a movie is $10. True, but if I go to the movies with the wife and kids, that’s a minimum of $40, and more likely closer to $80. If I’m buying the video game, that’s all I’m buying.

That’s right these aren’t your parents’ video games any more.  Remember Space Invaders? Donkey Kong? Sitting in your parents’ basement playing Colecovision? Intellivision? Atari?

Well no more. No more are gamers the geeks that are looked down upon. Video Games are mainstream. Two of the most popular series’ are Halo and Call of Duty. Halo has spawned Mega Block sets, animated movies and books.

Why?

Because these aren’t your parents’ video games. They have stories and back stories. Lifelike graphics and hollywood stars voicing characters. Multiplayer modes that let you converse and play against people all over the world. Total immersion. And for those that decry them as stifiling the imagination, well, you’ve obviously never seen the maps and game modes that kids create in the forge level of Halo. That’s where imagination is.

Not just kids, adults. Avg gamer is still male, but now try mid 20s. Women do it too – they love kicking my ass in Call of Duty. And the entertainment world is starting to take notice too.  Upcoming video games are being advertised on prime time TV – advertisements that promote the backstory in the game or may have nothing to do with the actual game – look at the Call of Duty ad with kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel:

Not one scene from the game. No pics of the game whatsoever.

Now the next step – Video Game branded mainstream consumer goods. Jeep has jumped on the bandwagon :

Now, I can’t remember the last time I saw a vehicle with a movie edition. Olympic edition, special sports edition, but I have never seen a Pontiac Aztek Titanic edition ( okay, maybe not best example), or cobalt avatar edition.

So what does it all mean? Well if I’m an advertiser looking for product placement in mass media entertainment, I think I’d rather have the protaganist in a video game be shown drinking a coke ( even better if it is in the start screen) than have product placement in a movie.

It’s also okay to be a gamer – at any age. I’m happy to admit it.

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