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Levine wants games to be featured on mainstream outlets

Thursday, 7th July 2011 19:22 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Ken Levine would like to see games shown through more mainstream outlets, as doing so would bring more attention to the sector than advertising alone.

Speaking in a Gamers With Jobs podcast just before his E3 appearance on Spike TV, Levine said outlets that appeal to more than just gaming’s target audience could help a lot of titles get noticed.

Levine used an experience he had with market research as an example of how a more mainstream approach to getting the word out about a game could help matters.

“We had a room full of college students, in some fraternity in some state school somewhere – this is about a year ago – and they had never heard of Bioshock. None of them. Not a single one,” he said. “I think as an alpha gamer you assume that, ‘whether you’ve played Bioshock or not, you’ve heard of it, right?’ These guys had never even heard of it.

“I mean, how many times have you seen images of Transformers? Whether you want to or not you’ve probably seen it 15 or 20 times… We’re making products that cost however many millions of dollars and have the potential to have a large audience, but… to get people who aren’t alpha gamers there’s a whole different kind of activity that you have to undertake.

“We need to be on mainstream shows, we need to be on NPR, we need to be on The Daily Show, we need to be in those places talking about what we do. We’re still ghettoized as game developers, and Spike TV is a great place in the middle, but we really need to think about how do we reach out and talk to people so you don’t have a room full of college kids saying, ‘I’ve never heard of that damn thing.’”

Levine goes on to say programs such as the Daily Show, or the like, could do with having folks such as the BioWare doctors, especially since a lot of these shows will book a guest whose novel has only sold 15,000 copies, when many a gaming title will sell much more.

You can read more of this over on GI.biz which listened in on the podcast.

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11 Comments

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  1. DSB

    Games do seem to be moving into the TV spots more than I’ve ever seen them do, but ultimately the problem is what’s at the bottom. You have tv personalities and journalists to whom videogames aren’t even on the radar, and if they get pushed into the subject once in a blue moon, they’re completely incompetent in handling it anyway.

    Half of the interview would be the journalist trying to establish what a gamepad is.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. YoungZer0

    He should lead with an example.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Night Hunter

    I’ve often asked myself why there are no games developers on The Daily Show, I mean come on, most of the books or movies featured are not that interesting and in my opinion a good game even has a more prominent sociocultural impact than say Bad Teacher …

    #3 3 years ago
  4. DSB

    @3 Hold your horses, right there.

    First of all, I’ve bought several of the books after hearing about them on The Daily Show. They cover a lot of deep stuff for a comedy show.

    Second of all, there’s a humongous difference between inviting a comedian from a bad movie and inviting a developer from a great game. A comedian you’d expect to have some sort of schtick that people would find entertaining, whereas a games developer might well be the type who’d be more comfortable in a dark basement looking at code.

    Gamers might like listening to John Carmack or Gabe Newell, but that doesn’t mean they’d be entertaining to everybody else. Look at the business world in comparison, where only a handful of executives are ever brought into primetime. It’s not because other executives wouldn’t like to be in their position, it’s just because they aren’t interesting enough for the most part.

    You either need someone who’s able to communicate something in a thoughtful way, or someone who can bring a bit of personality to the table.

    Developers don’t exactly do a lot to be communicators, they just expect their fellew nerds to listen, but that’s where they need to get their heads at if they want that kind of slot.

    Look at the average promo video for games these days. It’s like listening to someone out of the shopping channel. “This game does everything, everybody will like it, and it’s really great, and we think it’s great because we put a lot of stuff into it, and we’re the best”.

    All they’re missing is “Dial this 1-800 number for your copy today!”. That won’t get you on a show.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Night Hunter

    @4: First of all, that’s why I wrote most of the books or films, but come on, there are people from the games industry on Fallon and to think that all the developers are “more comfortable in a dark basement looking at code” is just ridiculous. People like Ken Levine or the doctors could easily be on The Daily Show and personally I think that these guys are also people who have things to say. Not all gamers are stupid idiots with no education, and its the same with the developers. I could talk with Stewart about stuff, why shouldn’t they?

    #5 3 years ago
  6. DSB

    @5 That’s why I said some, and not all. Again, look at the average video from the devleopers out there. Clearly there aren’t a lot of great communicators in the games industry. They come off as social cripples delivering a prepared statement, with the same enthusiasm of someone reading back an order at Burger King.

    They need to be interesting to earn that spot. No offence, and I don’t know you (you could be awesome on stage!) but I have no interest in seeing you on The Daily Show either. Or myself, for that matter. The fact that we have attained language doesn’t qualify us for a talk show.

    I haven’t seen the doctors speak personally, and I’ve lost all interest in them since they started making mediocre action games, but Ken Levine would be awesome, no doubt.

    I think someone like the old Lucas Arts crowd might be interesting as well. And if they’re as funny live as they were in print, the Old Man Murray/Valve writers.

    Oh, and Suda 51!

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Night Hunter

    What should qualify people to talk on The Daily Show is not their voice but the fact that they should have something to say, and those are the best interviews. About politics, about society, whatever …

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Stephany Nunneley

    Levine is rather witty and would play well with someone like Stewart or even Colbert on their shows. Same with Ray and Greg. Anyone who has ever talked to the later can attest to the fact that they can hold a very interesting conversation. Esp Ray when he feels like talking :D

    #8 3 years ago
  9. kebagami

    Jimmy Fallon is making big strides on this front. He’s had many game related segments in his show. He’s also mentioned he wants to treat video game releases like movies.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. DSB

    @7 Right, and in a perfect world the most suitable people would lead our countries. But that’s also not how it works.

    If you can’t communicate, no one wants to put you on TV, especially the kind with ratings. It’s as simple as that. Personally I have very little patience for smart people who can’t express themselves as well.

    But it’s not either/or. There are plenty of developers who fit the part. Let’s also not forget things like Jack Black going on Kimmel to promote Brütal Legend. There are lots of bonafide celebrities who game. I know of one former premier league player who retired to essentially go full on with his semi-pro CoD clan.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Espers

    Gamers only play when they lay out on the couch, Pizza to your left, beer to your right, facing your HDTV and surrounded by a 5.1Ch and you Gf in lingerie trying her best to get your attention !! ,,, what was your name again ?!

    #11 3 years ago