Success factors in game marketing #1


You should never market two games in the same way, to do so is to totally misunderstand what you are doing. Each game is an individual that needs loving care. And so should be nurtured in it’s own special way. Only by doing this will you realise the full potential of that game in the market. This is what the people who have developed the game and those who have invested in it deserve.

So let’s  look at the first 8 criteria you look at when formulating your marketing plans for a game:

  • Genre. We live in the age of the me too alien shooting game. But customers still play many different genres. These customers will have different demographics but importantly they will have a different emotional engagement with the game. Tetris engages but not in the same way as World of Warcraft.
  • How good the game is. Obvious really. If it is excellent you rub it in every-one’s faces marketing wise and thank development for giving you an easy life. If the game is less good you have to work for your wages. But don’t give up hope and abandon it, you are a marketing professional so must still do your best.
  • Content. Obvious and yet not so obvious. You would market a game set in Paris differently to a game set in New York. Some marketing people don’t really know the content of the game that they are marketing. Don’t make this mistake. Violence, sex, race, political and religious issues can work for you or against you. It is up to your skill as a marketeer.
  • The time of year. Game sales follow a seasonal curve. Unfortunately games releases follow a similar curve. Christmas is for blockbusters, anything else gets lost and we don’t yet have the tradition of a summer holiday hit, like the film industry does. Other than that every season has it’s benefits and downsides. My favourites would be about three weeks before the clocks change in the spring and a week after they change in the autumn. Leisure behaviour changes radically at these two times.
  • Price-point. Again seemingly obvious. But remember that sometimes you will sell more at a higher price, because people will think that it must be better. Console games are generally overpriced as a result of the current business model so the attach rate is quite low. This means that you have to make every purchase very special indeed. Make the customer glad that they opened their wallet.
  • What the competitors are up to in general (Sega Rally was launched against Halo 3!). Blockbuster suck the market dry. They may bring more people into the stores but those people are only there for one purpose. Looking at competitor release schedules may help you make a one week change that significantly increases sales.
  • What competitors are up to in your genre. Customers are not going to buy two racing games in quick succession, or two shooters or even two platform games. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones never released against each other, follow their example.
  • USPs of that game. This is incredibly important. You may not even know what they are until you lever the knowledge out of development. Once I marketed the first game in which motion capture and Dolby surround sound recording were done simultaneously. The press loved that when I told them.

To be continued next Wednesday with 9 more success factors in game marketing.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Brucei was going to come in here and flame you up……but this art passes the lolcat test…not bad

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