Marketing for videogames – Part I

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Have you developed a videogame, are you already thinking for launching it or publish it by yourself? Well, now you just need to communicate it, create interest among the players and make it known. It’s time to think about video game marketing.

We will focus on indie video games from young studios, we will focus on strategies and actions based on a modest marketing budget for video games. It is easy to think that, with a large budget, communication will be more fruitful, but nothing could be further from the truth. If we do not rely on an analysis and a previous study, we can “shoot” at the wrong target and squander the investment.

But let’s get down to it, in case we were going to launch a jRPG-themed game with pixel art graphics in Steam.

Internal and external analysis

First, we should carry out a study both internally, about our product, and externally, about the indie jRPG video game industry of pixel art graphics and the competitors we have.

In the internal analysis we will identify our strengths, what we offer, the characteristics of our game and its strengths, what does our game have to stand out from the rest? An exceptional LORE? Communicate it! Outstanding characters? Communicate it! Video game marketing should be all about this.

Everything you don’t communicate doesn’t exist!

We will have to investigate the market penetration of jRPG or pixel art graphics. We will also have to analyse the users of Steam and identify how many of them play videogames like our to know how much we can cover at most. And finally, analyse our competitors, what they do, how it communicates, where it carries out actions and what success it is having, as well as its digital assets: Social media, landing pages, websites, influencers, promoters.

 

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Analysing the competitors, we can also do a benchmarking of their social networks, so we can see what kind of publications are more successful among their followers: videos, gifs, stories, images.

It is good to summarize the above in a SWOT matrix (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) so that we can make a strategy that responds to the part that interests us most.

Target

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Next, to optimize our resources, we must investigate our target player. If we try to impact the public that is not interested in our videogame we will be wasting time and money.

At this stage, it is essential to resort to the analysis of competition carried out in the previous point. We can also investigate where our followers are: in social networks, in forums, in specialized media. Once we have identified their ‘habitat’ we can analyse their ‘natives’ so that we can create a player profile.

The following data is key for a player profile:

  • 15-year-old players are not in the same places as 40 year old players, depending on whether our game is more oriented to adults we will have to make another type of communication.
  • Frequency of play. Casual or gamer?
  • Geographic regions. In some countries, one gender is more successful than the other.
  • Most viewed channels. We must investigate which channels our target audience is, youtubers, social networks, specialized media.
  • If our game is more anime, our audience may also be interested in manga or anime series. If our game is a horror game, our target audience is likely to be interested in horror movies and mystery novels.

The more data we have, the better, as we will be able to position ourselves in the consumer’s mind, favouring the possibility of being added to his wishlist and, later, to his cart and to his list of games.

In this way we will be able to carry out sniper-type marketing actions and make a fair impact on the target audience.

Objectives of our campaign

We will need to keep in mind several objectives for the three key points of a title launch. These objectives must be supported by the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) philosophy.

  • Pre-release: The year before the release date, for example.
  • Launch: The month prior to the title launch.
  • Post Release: The year after the launch of our game.

In this way we will be able to determine a series of objectives so that we can control the status of the marketing campaign. Some examples would be:

  • Wishlist: “Get 5,000 people to add our game to their wishlist by December 31st.”
  • Day-one: “To reach 10,000 sales on the day of launch.”
  • Social media: “Get 15,000 followers on Twitter by May 5.”

With this data we will already be in a position to establish some premises for the development of marketing actions for videogames. We can see all this in Part II.

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