The Impact of Gaming Marketing

When you think of big budget titles like Call of Duty, Uncharted, Halo, and Super Mario, something they all have in common to their success is marketing.  Marketing for video games have come a long way.  20 years ago, advertising for games comprised of print ads and tv commercials.  Today, companies spend millions of dollars to promote their games; especially AAA titles.  From trailers shown online and in movie theaters, to radio and official game websites, video games advertisement today has the potential to reach a wider audience. Microsoft is known for their huge marketing expenditures. For example, Microsoft budgeted roughly 30 million dollars to promote Halo 3.  This is quite a high budget for a sequel whose predecessors have made an impact in the gaming community.  In its first week, Halo 3 sold nearly 4 million copies.  For being the 3rd game in a popular series, it comes to no surprise it was able to sell millions of copies.  Sony on the other hand, is known for having a poor marketing when it comes to promoting their games even if it’s an AAA title.  Uncharted 3 for instance, had a marketing budget of around 7 million dollars in the UK. That’s nearly 4 times less than the 30 million dollar budget for Halo 3.  I believe the Uncharted series has proven itself to be an impressive technical feat yet, Uncharted 3 sold only 1.4 million copies during its first week.

Does the brand name speak for themselves or does an expensive marketing campaign influence the sales of a game especially for sequels?  Clearly, Uncharted is a successful franchaise but it doesn’t seem the name alone was able to capture a similar sales figure like Halo.  In having an expensive campaign as noted above, it seems to translate to huge sales but does that also mean games without a strong marketing campaign is set to fail in the sales department? We have seen many AAA game franchises who deserve a good marketing campaign such as Resistance, Infamous, Ratchet and Clank, and Killzone.  These games rely heavily on journalists reviews.

Reviews of a product in this case games, is a form of advertising.  Video game journalists have the important job as a critic to give their honest opinion on a game.  I strongly believe reviewers have the most influence because they are able to convince people of a game is worth their investment.  Furthermore, their words supersede any tv commercial or trailer because those forms of advertisement do not paint the entire picture of a game. Even though the name of a game can influence a purchase, that does not always mean the game will live up to the same qualities of their predecessor.  Games such as Gears of War 2, Prince of Persia Warrior Within, and Devil May Cry 2 all failed in some respect compared to the first.  Marketing for sequels is important, but spending a large amount of money to promote a game that is well established in the gaming community seems like a bad investment.  All people need to know is when the game will be released and for which console.  They should focus on investing the money into the game so they can make the best product possible.  Let the journalists who are the voice or reason for many gamers, provide the marketing with their reviews.  They do have the most influence in terms of sales.

Which of the three (brand name, marketing, journalist reviews) do you believe influence the sales of games? Share your thoughts with is below.

%d bloggers like this: