Gaming and marketing.
To combat the difficult market for games of all kinds, game developers must be clever in their marketing approach to get the attention of consumers who might buy their games.
Modern First-Person Shooter
Battlefield 4 is a first-person shooter with extensive landscaped maps set in a modern era (unlike Battlefield 1 which is a World War era shooter). To get the word out early and often about the launch of Battlefield 4, the developers had video previews shared on YouTube which could be embedded in web sites for wider distribution. A series of videos showed active play, new maps and the type of gameplay options coming to the game, like flying an attack helicopter, riding a jet-ski or the ability to get access to better weaponry.
Gaming websites like gameguideworld.net and gaming magazines were given exclusive sneak peaks early into development to wet the beak of gamers who had loved previous Battlefield games. The developers also drew distinctions between Battlefield and the popular Call of Duty (COD) brand which tends to be a less realistic, more arcade-like burst fire type of gaming that lacks strategic play.
Going Real World with Promotional Content
Players of the previous Halo game were eagerly anticipating the release of Halo 2. The developers wanted to broaden the audience but also to engage fans to keep their interest high, so they would spread the word. The marketing on Halo 2 included following on from a bee lover segment in the previous Halo title by putting a beekeeping site online. The mysterious site was said to have been hacked by an unidentifiable foe.
With an early video trailer before Halo 2 was released online, gamers were able to follow a series of clues in the real world left at public payphones, accessing secret documents, and speaking with actors over the phone. What was termed ‘augmented reality’ resulted in successful participants receiving the game ahead of its official release.
Many games now have in-game advertising shown when looking at the control console and at other opportune moments. The ads often promote upcoming games in the same genre that the gamer is playing, so a Call of Duty gamer might see an advert for the latest Battlefield release if it’s believed that a good chunk of COD players enjoy a change of pace with Battlefield too.
One of the benefits to developers of in-game ads is that ad blockers cannot remove them from a PC, Android or iOS app. They can target a captive audience while making money from hosting the ad in their game.
With the advent of an internet-oriented world, developing, promoting and releasing games has become less expensive. While the games are more detailed and larger, they can be promoted without the need for expensive billboard and TV advertising. Online trailers and ads targeted towards a specific demographic deliver a high return on the ad spend. Also, with games being digital downloads now, there’s no physical product, packaging or distribution costs either.