One of the pleasures and facilities that modern life has brought to us is being able to get home and conquer planets, battle aliens, play football with Cristiano Ronaldo or even compete against with a friend who is on another continent.
All this possible because of video games.
Already considered by many as the ‘tenth art’, the video gaming industry has influenced both the way new generations interact with each other within an education environment, through the gamification of education, and introduced new narratives for the filmmaking industry to utilise as production companies seek to build on the successes of video game franchises. In addition, the video game market is skyrocketing – data released recently by Newzoo show that in 2017, that Brazil had approximately 66.3 million players, with business share moving around something close to R$ 1.3 billion. These numbers make Brazil the 13th in the global ranking of consumption. By 2018, according to the same survey, there will be 75.7 million gamers who are expected to generate R$ 1.5 billion in revenue.
And this gaming market has traditionally been monopolized by established large video games companies such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, however, in recent years, other big technology companies like Apple and Google have been rising in the rankings due to the gains of their respective app stores and games for smartphones.
These games enable game developers to act faster and more frequently because of low development costs. This cost depends on the size of the game, but some mid-sized games cost between U$ 60K and U$ 120 to be created. Not bad, considering Angry Birds alone brought Rovio, its developer, US$201 million revenue in 2017.
Those who cannot afford regular public relations services can now get in touch with social media influencers to advertise their new product, with YouTube and Twitch content creators becoming loudspeakers for game news.
But despite all the opportunities the video gaming sector presents, without a bespoke PR strategy and plan the benefits of advertising may never be realised, due to the vast size of this industry. A specific niche must be targeted to avoid being lost in the void.
So, what would be the most basic information the market should know about your company or game? Below we have a small guide on how to use all the fun, development and modernity of this billion-dollar gaming industry to excel and make the right PR choices.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Begin at the start. Know your product. It seems a very logical thing, but this rule is not always followed. It sounds unprofessional if you cannot answer basic questions from gaming journalists because your experiences with the product or service are minimal. The Journalists will most likely lose interest at this point, as with any industry, when not enough publishable material is produced from their questions. This is no different in the video gaming sector.
And remember you do not have to be a hardcore gamer have a great retro collection at home to make a good PR for a gaming company. The cool thing about video games is that they are usually accessible – showing interest in them is easy and more than enough to get along in the area.
Many in the video gaming industry say embargoed press releases are rarely used, which is unlike many other markets where they may be seen as very normal. This culture has evolved because, over time, gaming news sites have grown with a collective philosophy to deliver news on their sites as fast as possible.
A PR always tries to meet the needs of journalists. But in this industry, time is critical. When certain news items have already been posted on competing for news sites, journalists will not call for your release. But unlike large-budget PR campaigns for console games, for example, the sheer volume of mobile games released worldwide has reduced the time scale, meaning that instead of advertising up to 18 months earlier, when in the early stages developers are not advised to make any announcements until they can demonstrate screenshots and viable demonstrations that the game is almost ready.
Embargoes, in general, can help on both situations. That last-minute release is very urgent and a restriction is out of the question? Maybe deals with specific journalists can be brokered with exclusive content provided, like interviews.
The gaming industry, like much of the entertainment area, is known for being relaxed and being open to communication which means there’s no need to be too formal – no sir or madam on your releases. What makes work really a delight is the very nice communication with other professionals in the industry but hold on with the excitement.
The gaming press may find humour in a very exaggerated formal email, but it is not welcome not welcome to appear too informal the first time you contact the media on the first time that you contact the media – you may not be taken seriously. So be friendly but show respect in your communication with the press. Keep it up and, who knows, after a while, you can say “hello my old friend” without it being strange.
Life is Strange
Having a lot of success in a creative industry like games requires constant originality. Without new ideas or an unconventional approach, the market would stagnate. This principle applies to all game developers who need to keep their audiences enthusiastic, while publishers need to create new marketing techniques to make their games stand out in a crowded marketplace. But this should also apply to other participants in this industry; from HR managers to public relations specialists.
So, don’t bother with the annoying standard press releases that may have worked with other companies and companies. Take a risk and try ‘thinking outside the box’ for public relations tactics. Talk to a gaming journalist in the chat room of your favourite game, for example, or start a friendly discussion in a gaming forum. And if you do PR for a game developer – play a live stream of the game while answering questions from the press and fans; the possibilities are endless. As with many games, take a chance and you will be rewarded.
World of Warcraft
While the gaming industry is giant, it can seem like a small universe from within where everyone knows everyone. This brings you many opportunities, you can easily extend your network if you know how to use your current contacts effectively. But do not forget that the news spreads very fast, both positively and negatively.
The virtual world is already a reality. And the digital marketing and PR agencies cannot in any way stay out of it. As it is said, the world of adventures awaits us.