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EA Sports to show its "lighter side" for casual audiences

David McCarthy explains that marketing for Wii titles needs to be "less intimidating"

The traditional image of EA Sports as a label dedicated to accuracy and authenticity can be a turn-off for the sorts of Wii audiences that the company is trying to appeal to with some of its titles, prompting a new two-angle marketing strategy.

According to David McCarthy, executive producer at EA Sports, the label needs to show Wii gamers its lighter side.

"We do have to market it differently," he told GamesIndustry.biz. "I think the key thing for us is first and foremost we need to come across as less intimidating.

"EA Sports has built up a reputation over the years as, you know, if it's in the game 'It's in the game', or 'I'm better than you and I can prove it' - those are not necessarily things that resonate with people who are spending their hard-earned money on Wii games.

"For us the key is to show almost a lighter side, take ourselves a little less seriously, show that we're all-inclusive. Because the things are in the product there, but if you don't communicate it through the right channels then nobody gets it."

He went on to explain that experience from previous iterations of Wii titles had also led to the realisation that EA Sports needed to look again at how it was bringing new audiences into its titles, and whether or not the difficulty aspect was being correctly addressed.

"Last year we did our Family Play control scheme that was in some games, and that was an interesting learning experience because what we did is we had our full nunchuk experience, then we had the Wii remote only where the CPU does the motion for you and all you have to do is just gestures," he said.

"I think we made the incorrect assumption that dumb-down and you'll get the consumer. And that's not correct - what you need to do is welcome them into the experience and them ramp them up, and we hadn't done an effective job at that.

"So what would happen is that you'd come in on the Family Play scheme, you'd be able to do a move or two, have instant success - but then there was a 20-foot wall to get to the next slot.

"This year we've done a much better job of ramping in levels, and it's not just the controls themselves, it's also assists that go on underneath the hood - so as they get better and better, we start to take those training wheels off more and more," he added.

The full GamesIndustry.biz interview with David McCarthy is available now.

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