it up - 26th July 2003
big, they're sweaty, and they yell scripted abuse
at each other before pretending to belt the daylights
out of anyone within reach. They are the proud men
and women of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE),
an organisation that's turned theatrical combat into
Friday, thousands of fans are expected to turn out
at the Sydney Superdome to watch them during the WWE
Ruthless Aggression tour, a show that is as much about
spruiking video games as it is about ringside ticket
enough, there are new WWE video games scheduled for
release over the next three months, including WWE
Wrestlemania XIX for GameCube, WWE Smackdown! Here
Comes the Pain for PlayStation 2 and WWE Raw: Ruthless
Aggression for Xbox.
games have been associated with various professional
wrestling factions over the past 14 years. With the
WWE starting to tour Australia only in the past year,
the video games have served as a substitute for its
games accounted for over $6 million worth of revenue
in Australia in 2002," says Phil Burnham, account
director, GfK Marketing Services Australia, "The
WWE licence is the strongest within wrestling games
and accounted for 77 per cent of the genre's sales
market for wrestling video games has grown significantly
in recent years. WWE video games raked in more than
$US270 million ($412 million) last year in the US.
It has been a marketing coup for software publisher
THQ, which acquired the exclusive licence to develop
WWE games in 1999 and is now enjoying the spoils of
possessing the only recognised wrestling brand in
THQ is a third-party software publisher without any
corporate allegiance, so the WWE video games have
marked an interesting battleground in the so-called
console wars between the Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's
Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube. "With the emergence
of a new generation of consoles, the decision was
made to separate the three WWE brands (Smackdown,
Raw and Wrestlemania) across the three competing platforms,"
says Estelle Cleaver, promotions manager for THQ Asia
Pacific. This ensures that WWE fans will have an official
game to play, regardless of the system they have.
year, Microsoft was the first to test the waters with
WWE, sponsoring the WWE Global Warming Tour at Melbourne's
Colonial Stadium. More than 56,700 people attended
the event, setting a record for the venue.
was a very important platform for us, particularly
as at the time we were launching the Xbox in Australia,"
says the marketing manager for Xbox, Richard Hirst.
year, WWE is coming to Australia again as part of
its Ruthless Aggression tour, performing at Melbourne's
Rod Laver Arena on July 31 and the Sydney Superdome
on August 2.
this time around, it is THQ that's snapped up the
role of sponsor for the tour, one of those rare occasions
in which a third-party publisher has out-pitched the
big guns - Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. As far as
the local gaming industry is concerned, the WWE provides
brand association benefits worth spending to secure.
publishers now pitch for the rights to almost any
action-based movie licence. Likewise, internationally
recognised brands such as WWE are heavily sought after
and there's immense pressure from fans and consumers
alike for these licensed games to do justice to the
real-life spectacle which inspires them. "Licensing
is becoming a stronger influence on all game sales,
along with franchises built in the gaming world such
as Grand Theft Auto or Pokemon," says Burnham.
that end, THQ is hoping to deliver as much of the
overacted "beefcake soap opera" source material
are making the games as much like the television experience
of the WWE as possible", says Daniel Armstrong,
product manager of THQ Asia Pacific. "Short of
becoming a wrestler themselves, our games provide
WWE fans the only means to immerse themselves in the
wrestling world, assuming the role of their favourite
Wrestling Entertainment corporate website
but is it grown-up? - 3rd June 2004
- The Games People Play