Since 2010, EEDAR has tracked advertisement activity for games at retailers. While these have historically been focused on physical media at physical retailers (i.e. large game posters in retailer windows, game cover displays, etc.), promotional activity has boomed in online storefronts thanks to the continued growth of digital ecosystems on consoles. Digital distribution is becoming a very significant part of traditional retail releases across all video game consoles. Electronic Arts recently announced that their digital sales accounted for over 50 percent of their 2014 revenue.
The new 8th gen consoles deliver significantly improved digital storefront experiences which have helped in the continued adoption of digital distribution amongst game purchasers. With these improved storefronts, publishers now have more capability than before to digitally advertise their games to consumers as the digital ecosystems continue to grow.
The quantity of game advertisements on consoles' digital storefronts grew 10 percent year-over-year for Q4 2014. During this time, Sony and Microsoft in particular grew their primary console websites into strong platforms for digital advertising. For instance, gamers can easily view timed deals on the PlayStation Store website, purchase digital downloads, and have their games remotely and automatically begin downloading on their console. These intuitive and connected websites have spurred advertisement growth considerably in the last year (advertisements on these websites more than doubled in 2014). As the overall digital ecosystem has surged with the introduction of 8th gen consoles, publishers have been adapting by further targeting consumers through these growing digital ecosystems.
The PlayStation 4's console storefront held the highest number of unique advertisements that ran for games during the 2014 holiday months: October, November, and December. Overall, publishers advertised much more on Sony consoles.
Through the 2014 holiday months, the most common type of game advertisement on digital storefronts is General Advertisements which are meant to simply raise awareness of the title amongst consumers. Targeted messaging enticing gamers to pre-order a game before it is released accounted for 19 percent of advertisements. A total of 17 percent of promotions through the holiday period were advertising timed discounts for titles. As price pulsing strategies continue to evolve on console (as they have in recent years on PC platforms such as Steam), EEDAR expects the percentage of Discount Advertisements to grow.
Sartori Bernbeck is Manager, Insights and Analytics, at EEDAR. The digital promotions data in the post is from EEDAR's Retail Tracker - you can contact Cooper Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding this data service.