Comunicating Entertainment: Movies & Video Games

Probably the main difference between games and movies is the fact that games are interactive, while movies are absorptive. Although both games and movies are experienced based entertainment, these experiences are different in nature. Movies come to you and go into you but you don’t react back to them in order to change them in any way. In terms of communication channels, movies are one dimensional or mono-directional. Games, on the other hand, are interactive and require you to act and react in order to experience them, thus creating a true bi-directional communication channel, that is, a conversation between the customer and the product.

Because of this difference between movies and games, one difference between communicating a movie and communicating a game relates to the intended response of the customer at a communication stimulus. In a mono-directional environment, communicating a movie that has a compelling plot and characters is done, for example, by interrupting the customer through an advertising message. In a bi-directional environment, you can actually engage the customer in a meaningful experience because a game has compelling things he or she can dynamically interact with. If you can only interrupt your customer from watching his TV news and show him a movie trailer, you can actually engage a potential customer to experience your game through a demo of your product.

Another difference between games and movies is the duration of their entertainment experience. Movies have actually short stories and life spans (their time span being the duration of the movie and their life span being usually a season) and can only be communicated as a time-limited experience. Games, on the other hand, have a much longer life span and can be communicated as a continuous and developing interaction between consumer and product that doesn’t really have an exact ending point in time. For example, positioning the Beowulf movie would most likely communicate “an epic legend… this fall,” while positioning the Beowulf game would most likely communicate “play the legend… starting this fall.”

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