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@ GDC: NeuroFocus Gets In Game, But Marketers Eye Pricey Lab Installations

This story was written by Tameka Kee.
At GDC, neuroscience-based marketing firm NeuroFocus rolled out NGame, a suite of products that apply brainwave research principals to game design. The idea is to help developers hone in on factors like which characters, game-play mechanics and graphic designs appeal most to their target demographic in advance, so that the game stands a better chance of success. The expansion into gaming follows the company's acquisition of U.K.-based Neuroco, another brainwave research firm, and the way NeuroFocus tells it, there couldn't be a better time to be in the science-based market research business.

Palak Patel, the company's director of marketing, said NeuroFocus' clients were increasingly interested in having brainwave research labs set up in-house. Called Neurolabs, the set-ups give major companies the ability to conduct neuroscience-based research on the fly, complete with NeuroFocus' proprietary technology and trained scientists. More after the jump.

Of course, not just any advertiser can afford to bring a brainwave research team in-house. The cost of an average neuromarketing research project starts out at about $50,000, with more expensive tests topping the six-figure mark; add in construction costs, and the price of setting up an on-site Neurolab can feasibly eclipse a company's entire annual marketing budget.

So who can justify a million dollar-plus investment on nascent research in this economy? (Well, Nielsen for one. The ratings and media giant took a stake in NeuroFocus early last year, though that was before Wall Street imploded). Patel said there was "high interest" from large companies in the CPG, consumer electronics and financial services industries, though she didn't disclose the actual number of Neurolabs that had been constructed. Tom Robbins, the company's director of content, said that requests for the on-site labs had come in on a "steady basis" since the company launched the service in mid-2008.


By Tameka Kee