With all the excitement surrounding the relationship between games and brands, it can be easy to overlook the innovations in games marketing. Prior to the launch of Crysis 2, its producers EA Games needed an effective strategy to help give the launch a more firepower. The Crysis 2 brand required an activation that could be realised on a limited budget and within a tight timeframe. It would also need to be an idea that would engage both gamers and non-gamers.
Gaming enthusiasts are notoriously difficult to impress. Games publishers are often faced the dilemma of wanting to promote a title to boost sales, but without appearing too mainstream for fear of alienating the hardcore gaming community. Crysis 2 was not regarded as a mainstream game, and any activity that promoted it would need to support the four principle ideas behind the game's ethos: Be strong, be fast, be invisible, be the weapon.
Recognising that the activity had to be fast, strong and conspicuous, it made sense that the game at the centre of the campaign should be treated as 'the weapon', that would achieve visibility by stealth.
Another key insight was that the best way to demonstrate a game is to allow potential players to have a go themselves, or at the very least watch live gameplay action of other players.
EA, working with London agency Collective, hired a guerrilla projection team that would arrive unannounced at high profile venues in London and Paris and project the game on to a landmark building with full audio and invite people in the vicinity to play Crysis 2 themselves on a big screen.
On the nights, the team activated the gamer community through social media channels and location based services, urging them to get down to the site to play the game before they were moved on by security.
The activity ran over two nights, one in London and one in Paris.
London: The team set up in 4 locations, including The Royal Festival Hall and Chinatown. Each projection was active for up to 40 minutes before being moved on. Fans were informed of the impending 'performance' only 45 minutes before each one and given details of the location. Gamers attending got to play a pre-release of the game and tweeted and checked in to Facebook Places. The resultant YouTube video has had over 107,000 views to date.
Paris: 3 locations including the Pompidou Centre and the Bastille.