My son has been telling me that Friday 1st October is a big day for weeks. Why you might well ask. Well Friday 1st October was the release date for the phenomenon that is Fifa 2011. For the uninitiated, Fifa 2011 is a game for games consoles and the computer.
Andrew has telling me that it’s the biggest thing and I’m thinking ‘oh yes, exaggerating as usual!’ Well may be not.
As I paid for his copy the sales assistant pointed out that all three cashiers were selling the same game and there were more purchasers queuing. What’s more the people I spoke to already had Fifa 2010, Fifa 2009 etc. just like us!
So how come everyone has to buy the new version each year? Well some of the answer lies in football itself where teams change their strips and their playing staff every year so a game which is a year old is out of date. The rest comes from the new developments that the game’s producers, EA Games, introduce every year. Each year they seem to be able to add a bit more interactivity and a bit more fun. And that’s really my point.
Every business needs customers to make repeat purchases but how many develop their product or service offering sufficiently to keep people coming back for what is essentially the same thing each year? EA Games thoroughly understand their market and they know that gamers will keep on buying the same good product if they keep adding new features that their players will value. How do they know what their audience wants? Because they provide an online forum where their customers can put forward their ideas.
The marketing starts well in advance of the release date so that by the time the big day comes anticipation is at fever pitch. Go into a Game store on release date and all the staff are wearing football or promotional t shirts and the games are just flying off the shelves. The supermarkets have special deals linked to the game, in Sainsbury’s the deal was ‘get the game for £25 (in Game it was £39.99) when you spend £30 in store’. Such a good deal that they’d sold out of the PS3 version by 4.30pm! Tesco were offering it at the same price so long as you bought another chart game full price.
Andrew was right, Fifa 2011 is a big deal and every business could use a product like it.