Entertainment: Five ways to get into gaming

Video game launches are becoming as high profile as film premieres. Peter Hay looks at how to capitalise on gaming's growing popularity.

London's iconic Battersea Power Station has been transformed into a war zone. There are projected explosions on the walls and a legion of soldiers marching through the site. The capital's glitterati are stepping out of their blacked-out 4x4s on to the specially laid black carpet and into the glare of the waiting international media's flashing cameras.

This is not the premiere of the latest blockbuster war movie but the launch of video game publisher Activision's Black Ops, the latest title from its successful Call of Duty series.

Video games are no longer limited to a niche community of gamers who lurk in their bedrooms. Gaming has established itself as a leader in the entertainment sector, claiming higher first-week sales than the film industry over the past year, in terms of money made from box office takings versus unit sales of games. Black Ops made $650m in the first week alone.

JCPR MD Ruth Warder explains: 'Games launches being secondary to film launches is a thing of the past. Launches use all the traditional hallmarks of a big film; pre- release hype, a genuine premiere of the game, celebrities on the red carpet, crowds of fans and the figures to back it up.'

Frank PR's MD Andrew Bloch, who handles PR for Activision, says: 'The perception that games are for acne ridden teenage boys has been buried. The sales figures have forced the media to sit up and realise that games are now big business.'

As the industry increases in stature, brands are becoming wise to the power of the games platform to showcase their products and reach an ever-expanding audience, both on and offline. Here we look at the five key ways to grab your client a slice of the gaming pie.

Events

The story

Product placement

The soundtrack

Casting

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