Video game marketing, which frankly has been stale for several years, finally has its home run.
Actually, make that its perfect game success.
Back in January, we told you about the innovative marketing plan by the folks at 2K Sports - be the first person to pitch a perfect game in their new Major League Baseball 2K10 game and win $1 million.
The idea got a lot of publicity, but the story behind the winner will get a lot more.
You sitting down?
Wade McGilberry of Mobile, Ala., a 24-year-old experienced gamer, bought the game at midnight on the night it came out. After debating with his wife Katy whether he should go to work or not, he decided he'd show up to work in his capacity as a 401K record keeper before he tried his hand at making $1 million.
At around 4 p.m. that day, Wade returned from work. He logged on to XBox Live, which is necessary to record the time a gamer could accomplish the feat, and set up his computer Web cam in front of his TV, a requirement for the verification of the perfect game.
He set the game on the special perfect game mode the folks at 2K Sports set up for the promotion and just played.
Perfect game until the fifth. Base hit.
Perfect game until the sixth. Base hit.
Three more times, McGilberry shut the game off after he lost the perfect game.
But something strange happened during the sixth game. McGilberry took the perfect game to seventh, to the eighth and closed out the ninth. It had taken him less than an hour and a half to do it, he said.
"I called my wife, who was a work, and said, 'Honey, I'm done. I don't need to play anymore," McGilberry said.
McGilberry nervously submitted his tape to the folks at 2K Sports. His wife Katy thought it came so easy that some college student who didn't have to work surely did it before her husband.
2K Sports kept the contest open for two months and couldn't believe what they saw when they reviewed the time code on McGilberry's perfect game. Was it really possible that a gamer threw a perfect game in the first 24 hours the game had come out?
The promotion certainly sparked an industry, but now the question for 2K Sports will be, was it worth it?
Because insurance companies couldn't possibly come up with the odds of throwing a perfect game, 2K Sports didn't take out insurance and now will pay McGilberry a lump sum of $1 million out of its own pocket.
"We're very happy to give the money away," said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports. "This was something innovative we dreamed up and we were really able to make some noise in the marketplace."
Argent said that sales of Major League Baseball 2K10 have been better than last year's game, but wouldn't say by how much.
McGilberry says he's going to spend the first part of his prize money on paying off his mortgage. As for how many perfect games he has thrown since Day 1?
"The funny thing is I haven't even come close since then," McGilberry said. "There must have been something special about that day."
Said his wife Katy: "Somehow I think if he skipped out on work that day, I don't think he would have ever done it."
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