Jump to content

Pre-release marketing and media


Recommended Posts

Just stumbled this really short read on shacknews about GTA 4 and the way Rockstar handled the marketing/media releases before the actual game release:

(...)But the amazing part is, despite all the media and the coverage, I had no idea how the game was going to start. I had no idea what my first few missions would be. I had no sense of the world of Liberty City. Sure, I might see a familiar storefront or two, but I'm free to explore, to discover it at my own pace.

And the more I think about it, the more I find it a welcome change from the exploitive marketing efforts of most publishers. I believe that many companies are simply showing too much of their games, which ruins that sense of discovery and makes me feel like I've seen it all before.

I think he touched on an interesting subject. Most publishers and developers seem to think - the more coverage, the better. They tend to forget that each magazine cover, feature and preview needs to be filled with content. If you take a 3 years+ dev cycle and shorter getting games in terms of gameplay time, you won't have a lot of new to offer to the anticipating customer once he/she picks up the game and puts the disc into the drive.

On the other hand press coverage and exposure is undeniably a key piece to market and to ultimately "sell" your game. It's two worlds clashing against each other all over again. At least Rockstar seems to have found the right balance! Just wanted to hear your experiences and opinions about this :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good point indeed, but like you said, publishers can't sell they'r games unless they show a tiny bit of what's the game about, pretty much like a movie trailer, and some movies got a second and third trailers.

It's just a matter of finding the right balance i think

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, for GTA they don't really need to show anything, everybody know what the game will be about and how most likely it will play. ITS GTA! Everybody knows what is it all about and Rockstar knows it. I'm pretty sure that if they would only show that "IV" and no game at all it would sell as well hehe. I don't like when I buy a game and start playing and I shortly find out that I saw most of it and there's nothing new to explore/discover :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rockstar had a much better initial position to pull this off from. They could release very limited amount of information and yet have everyone hyped - which is what they did. I highly doubt that this would work for everyone though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rockstar had a much better initial position to pull this off from. They could release very limited amount of information and yet have everyone hyped - which is what they did. I highly doubt that this would work for everyone though.

I agree with this pretty much.

Though I do think less, better media would really benefit most of the games that get launched. Rockstar does probably some of the best trailers you'll see for a game and half of them aren't even direct gameplay clips. Those commercial trailers they released were great and gave you a sense of the world without really revealing anything particular about the core game, just an impression of the world they're creating.

A lot of the time trailers are after thoughts, mostly trying to imitate what films have done (which are mostly garbage, every trailer's basically the same) and gameplay videos that are direct pulls from whatever part of the game with no sensitivity towards character/gameplay/story spoilers. I avoid most of the media released for games anyway, but GTA had me watching all of their official trailers, not because I needed to be sold on it, but because they were good.

Then again, Rockstar does all of their media internally, so it's pretty clear why they seem more of an extension of the game world than a marketing departments sales attempt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rockstar had a much better initial position to pull this off from. They could release very limited amount of information and yet have everyone hyped - which is what they did. I highly doubt that this would work for everyone though.

So what's your suggestion for everyone else?

Browsing the official GTA4 site they seem to have also added a lot of content for viral and guerilla marketing, like myspace templates, "wanted" posters with the game's characters to print out yourself, avatar images for forums/messengers..

Makes sense to use these strategies instead of just flooding each site with screenshots (over years).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Makes sense to use these strategies instead of just flooding each site with screenshots (over years).

To be honest, that sounds like an almost suicidal strategy for most people. What GTA4 does is largely irrelevant to what other games have to do; it’s the largest gaming franchise on the planet and had lots of money to throw at those viral campaigns. And ultimately, they could’ve released a bunch of trailers that just said “Grand Theft Auto 4, Coming Soon” and still would’ve generated more than enough hype.

Advertising is supposed to hammer an image into your head, or at least the subconcious, the GTA name does this by itself because it’s an extremely successful franchise several titles deep. Other games certainly do not have this luxury, and they need to hammer home exactly what the game is about, and what you will be doing, even to the extent where it’s spoiling parts of the game. Getting people to buy the game is more important than detracting from their experience once they have it, and a punter himself can choose not to look at the media released for a title once they're set on buying it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Makes sense to use these strategies instead of just flooding each site with screenshots (over years).

To be honest, that sounds like an almost suicidal strategy for most people. What GTA4 does is largely irrelevant to what other games have to do; it’s the largest gaming franchise on the planet and had lots of money to throw at those viral campaigns. And ultimately, they could’ve released a bunch of trailers that just said “Grand Theft Auto 4, Coming Soon” and still would’ve generated more than enough hype.

Advertising is supposed to hammer an image into your head, or at least the subconcious, the GTA name does this by itself because it’s an extremely successful franchise several titles deep.

Other games certainly do not have this luxury, and they need to hammer home exactly what the game is about, and what you will be doing, even to the extent where it’s spoiling parts of the game. Getting people to buy the game is more important than detracting from their experience once they have it, and a punter himself can choose not to look at the media released for a title once they're set on buying it.

Marketing concepts usually consist of multiple strategies. Of course using just viral or guerilla marketing to promote your product makes little sense unless you are a poor start up company, which isn't the case with Rockstar.

This so called "hammering down an image in your head" stands for the classic advertisement channels to reach your consumer, problem is that these are so flooded with competitor's messages, it's hard to gain consumer's attention. Unusual ways to surprise him or to make use of mouth-to-mouth propaganda (hello interweb!) simply has become an effective, cheap instrument to market your game (as long as you do it right - alliwantisapspforchristmas.com anyone? :P). It's a good strategy for small companies with a small budget. Obviously you will still need to show media of what the game is about (preferably in a vey compact manner) but this is also about gaining attention.

I didn't mean to talk only about GTA4, that's just the example from the article and for further discussion - a bad example I must admit. GTA's brand recognition is so big, it has reached pop culture status. I agree, they could put practically anything out there and people would buy it. Think about other games, ones that are not sequels to popular titles. Maybe games that are not unique/visually attractive enough to have a few screenshots speak for themselves. Why would would he choose to even look at the footage? :)

As for everything that follows the purchase, why disappoint the consumer and make him regret his purchase/make him feel like he was tricked into buying the game? Why not exceed his expectations, so he buys the sequel? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • MapCore on Discord

  • Our picks

    • Post in Yanzl's Source Emporium
      Two new asset releases!

      First up is Basalt. Sadly I can't release all of the assets as some of the nature stuff is from Megascans and can't be redistributed. Also only includes the assets I've made.


      https://www.dropbox.com/s/e86kdqwpvhhs5x6/Basalt.zip?dl=0

      Second one is assets I've made for Pitstop. A small release that includes some road and concrete trim textures, a bunch of sponsors and some skybox buildings that might be useful.


      https://www.dropbox.com/s/x6tn3b6nfo2u77d/Pitstop.zip?dl=0

      As always, free for non-commercial use with attribution. 
×
×
  • Create New...