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Gaming industry leaders join forces with Promax/BDA to form MI6

Fueled by the interactive entertainment marketing industry’s demand for recognition, Microsoft and G4 have joined forces with Promax/BDA to develop MI6: Marketing Interactive 06, a special conference addressing the needs, challenges and accomplishments of today’s marketers in the interactive entertainment sector.

Conceived by and for interactive entertainment marketers, MI6 will be produced under the guidance and direction of today’s top gaming and entertainment marketers themselves, who will also contribute to the formation of a year-round, non-profit trade organization and an annual marketing and promotion awards program.

Promax/BDA garnered the support of such leaders after answering a long-ushered call to give the gaming industry’s marketing and promotion executives their own not-for-profit professional association and a globally recognized awards program focusing exclusively on the marketing and promotion of interactive entertainment. With the relationship between entertainment and interactive gaming continuing to grow in both strength and opportunities, Promax/BDA was the natural choice in embarking on such a mission. The global non-profit trade association already represents designers, marketers and promotion executives working in electronic media with several annual international conferences.

In addition to providing well-deserved recognition, the MI6 conference will also look to increase the effectiveness of interactive marketers by spearheading idea sharing within the sector and encouraging communication with marketers in other entertainment areas. The conference will also provide education and training opportunities for marketers, and will reach out to include public relations and retail professionals who are also engaged in the marketing and promotion of interactive entertainment. MI6 will preclude itself from being involved in industry policy making or lobbying on regulation or other governmental matters.

Microsoft’s Director of Xbox US Subsidiary William Nielsen said: â€?As a marketer, I’m thrilled to be involved in the formation of an event that will give credit where it has been long overdue. We have events and awards that recognize the contributions of the game designers, the platform manufacturers, the software developers, and the retailers, it’s high time we recognize the role that marketing and promotion plays in the success of interactive entertainment.

“We are a network that combines entertainment, games, interactivity, technology and multiplatform delivery,stated G4 TV’s Chief Operating Officer Dale Hopkins. “As such, we see the need for education, idea sharing and networking opportunities between these overlapping segments of the media industry. We welcome the benefits that an event like MI6 offers and support its formation wholeheartedly.”

Slated for June 27 and 28, 2006, at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, The W Hotel and other locations to be announced, MI6 will offer its participants professional development and education through special key note addresses, seminars and workshops, all designed to impart knowledge and learn from the experiences of other professionals in the entertainment arena while also fostering industry networking, idea sharing and mentoring.

The gathering will also include the presentation of new awards, dubbed Senet Awards, after the ancient Egyptian board game, believed to be the oldest game in the world, dating back to 3500BC. Administered by Promax/BDA, these honors will give game marketers the first-ever chance to vote for their peers, with sophisticated online judging software.

The Senet Awards will recognize superior achievements in the design, marketing and promotion of interactive entertainment properties, as well as the specific contributions of marketers to the success and continued growth of the video gaming and interactive entertainment industry. Peer judged awards will be given in more than 50 categories.

Corporate in-house marketing and promotion teams, advertising agencies, small creative companies, design firms and independents involved in the marketing and promotion of interactive entertainment will all be eligible to submit entries for award consideration.

“We have seen a growing crossover and migration of our Promax/BDA membership with the interactive gaming industry, and agree that its time to recognize the divergent needs that this growing sector of professionals has,” said Promax/BDA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Chabin. “‘The value of their contributions shouldn’t be squeezed into other events or programs, but deserves to be in its own very illuminating spotlight. The video game sector of interactive marketing is also facing genuine challenges in targeting and connecting with new consumers at the retail level and, as with any industry, building the tools and intelligence necessary to meet these and other challenges and succeed in facing them will be critical to the success of our member companies as 2006 unfolds.”

In addition to the support from Microsoft and G4 TV, Chabin has also called for the formation of an MI6 Advisory Committee, on which Microsoft’s Nielsen and G4’s Hopkins have agreed to serve. The trio is actively pursuing other executives from the industry’s most powerful and recognized companies to join the Advisory Committee and help guide and facilitate the development of the MI6 conference. Announcements of other Advisory Committee members and speakers for the MI6 conference are expected shortly.

At the completion of the MI6 conference in June, the Advisory Committee will then look to form a trade association, complete with board of directors, as a means of providing guidance and credibility to the continuing MI conferences and Senet Awards.

Once the board of directors is in place, target date is October 2006, the MI will turn its attention to the development of an online community for educating, inspiring and facilitating idea sharing among its fledgling members. Regional seminars and workshops, as well as networking opportunities, are also in the long term plans for the association, as is a certification program.

“The MI trade organization will serve not only to enhance the professional value of its members,” Chabin continued, “but also to help attract new talent to the industry through the aspirational stories of its members. It will spark creativity, validate the vital role that marketing and promotion play in interactive entertainment and foster greater synergies between the gaming, entertainment, technology, distribution and retail sectors of this business.”

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