Ask A Dev: Public Relations and Community questions

askadev

#21

This article is quite interesting about game marketing:

And a slightly digressing fun read:


#22

The way AH engages with the playerbase is good PR in and of itself, IMO. I’m very satisfied with all the channels we have for communication at this time.


#23

#24

Arrowhead, if you had the choice, which gaming event would you choose to reveal your latest project to the public? Wait at least a few days before answering.

Arrowhead fans, which event do you think Arrowhead should choose to reveal their latest project?

  • Consumer Electronics Expo (CES) - Las Vegas (US)
  • PAX South - San Antonio (US)
  • D.I.C.E. Summit - Last Vegas (US)
  • Game Developers Conference (GDC) - San Francisco (US)
  • PAX East - Boston (US)
  • Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) - Los Angeles (US)
  • San Diego Comic-Con - San Diego (US)
  • Gamescom - Cologne (Germany)
  • PAX West - Seattle (US)
  • Tokyo Game Show - Tokyo (Japan)
  • Paris Games Week - Paris (France)
  • PlayStation Experience (PSX) - TBA
  • The Game Awards - Los Angeles (US)
  • EGX - Birmingham (UK)
  • Nordic Game Jam - København (Denmark)
  • Other

0 voters


#25

I’m not sure we can even say what we would want to choose because it could be dangerous if taken out of context, or people read into it too much or risk starting rumours which could potentially disappoint.

Instead we could discuss the general timing which game studios often announce their games - there’s normally a lot of articles and info on this and it can make an interesting discussion!

General disclosure before continuing to read: this is only my personal opinion and is not related to our project. The below thoughts are based mainly on online articles like this and some industry knowledge.


There’s loads of things developers have to consider when announcing titles, it’s pretty scary to know that if you misjudge timing it can do more harm than good! The main points I can think of is:

  • Size: AAA or Indie?

Basically it varies on a game-by-game basis. Wolfenstein 2 and The Evil Within 2 were announced 4 months before release. I guess this is because they had a large marketing budget, so getting the right information out at the right time was critical, as well as knowing when the game will be closer to finished the further development continued.

Some indie titles are announced year(s) before actual release because they want the community involved from the ground up, and this is also their marketing tactic. Overgrowth by Wolf Fire was announced on September 17, 2008 and released on October 16, 2017, after 9 years of developing and being available as early access (source). That’s insane! :open_mouth: I have a lot of personal respect for those guys as community builders, they seem to be very good at it.

  • Event: Consumer or Industry?

What’s the purpose of the event? How many press are present? Do you miss out on the opportunity to spread the word further if it’s consumer only? I guess there’s a risk that your game isn’t picked up on and you lose some marketing and coverage.

This particular point may change in the future because of the continuing trend in user generated content, streamers, bloggers and authentic influencers. Maybe the press will not be as needed (or trusted?), but for now I still think they are useful and needed.

  • Competition: Your game Vs. Other titles?

If you know other big names like Fallout 50, Battlefield 100 and Final Fantasy 1000 are all being announce at this particular event, would you want to announce your (probably) smaller title? There’s a risk that you don’t get any attention and are over-shadowed. On the other hand bigger game announcements also attract more attention to the event, so there’s a chance you will get more coverage!


I would love to see hard statistics and data on titles announced at different events for comparison, with all their timelines and attention they received (as in articles or mentions). Sadly I don’t think a study of that size has been done before?


#26

@ForeverAPeon I personally think it is smarter to keep tight on your game that people are already anticipating and release the first bit of news as close to release date as possible wiithout suffering a leak from a pre-release marketing or retailer slip .

There are some high profiles examples of this that proved such a model can be successful. At least with games meant to be enjoyed Single Player.

  • Fallout 4
  • Wolfenstein 2
  • The Evil Within 2

I think the reason to do this is to limit the marketing spend while still capitalizing on new product awareness created in your target audience from the initial excitement generated by a strong reveal. Beyond that I think there is high reliance on positive reception, strong reviews, word of mouth, and post-release new DLC support.

Even the kind of games that rely on online community, they really don’t actually take off until they do something unique that ends up attracting a lot of users and creates a lot of buzz. Just recently I read that a Twitch stream of some popular Fortnite streamer had 600,000 concurrent viewers. This is all after they added a Battle Royale mode to a game that basically tried to do again what game like Starhawk had failed to find an audience on.

Fortnite was being a bit more successful at Build & Battle, but didn’t really take off until they added Battle Royale into that same game design after seeing Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds success with Battle Royale.

I think there really is no safe rule for when a game should be talked about relative to release date, but I do think a game company will end up doing a lot more marketing spend to keep their game relevant leading up to release the earlier they reveal the game before it is ready to be released.

Even for online games, I think the marketing spend may need to stay active (like with Destiny) until the game manages to hit critical mass (like Rocket League or Fortnite Battle Royale) and then word of mouth kind of takes over.


#27

I was actually reading about that Fortnite stream today! I wasn’t aware of what this was about, but I gathered that a famous rapper (Drake) appeared on the stream with another Twitcher, playing Battle Royale.

In this case it was a smart move by the developers to add that mode, but I think they also got lucky that a really big rapper was into their game in the first place and agreed to be invited on the Twitcher’s stream? I am unsure how much of that I would attribute to luck Vs. careful planning.

This is not to downplay your previous post in any way! I do agree with what you said. For me it’s interesting to look at indie games that made it big, and see what proportions of hitting the big time were down to marketing and planning VS. dumb luck VS. great game design.


#28

I think minimally luck and great game design, but ultimately just right game, right time somehow reaching critical mass. I don’t think planned so much as recognized and treated with great care when first signs of that tinder lit to ensure it doesn’t die out and is instead turned into a full blaze to take a life of its own (critical mass).

Fortnite as you probably know from Epic who were struggling to make Paragon reach the kind of success similar game Overwatch had right off the bat.

Fortnite was a 2nd game by Epic going after same audience with build & battle in the gameplay mechanics was also struggling like Paragon, but inspired by PUBG added a new mode (Battle Royale) and boom, that type of game now available on systems that couldn’t play any other game like PUBG. When Epic designed to catch lightning in a bottle by shifting all of Paragon team to increase support velocity of Fortnite, they offered 100% refunds to all players of Paragon.

So basically Battle Royale is really popular game mode, and PUBG was limited to PC and more recently Xbox One and had for long time just one map. In comes Fortnite, available on everything and has even recently gone on Mobile and pushing cross-platform play.

Rocket Leauge was another game in recent years to go to critical mass. To me it was another case of right game, right time. I mean it was unique, polished (having iterated over SARPBC), and had no other competition (game of the same type for the same potential audience) and had undiscovered broad player appeal releasing at launch as a PS+ free game. It also came out with cross-platform play with PC players. Now it is on lot more systems including Xbox and Switch, and doing competitions and treating itself as a serious eSport game.

So the key components hitting critical mass for new IP games in these recent examples (Overwatch, PUBG, Rocket League, Fortnite) could be listed as.

  • Online / Multiplayer / Endless Replay by Design
  • High level of polish especially as it applies to user experience for matchmaking
  • First of its kind for design established to be popular available to a new audience
  • Strong Post-Release support (new content, infrastructure scaling, bug fixes, user support, etc)
  • Cross-platform support and strong emphasis to try and have cross-platform play

#29

I voted Gamescom. While my reasoning was – hey, Arrowhead’s based in Sweden, and I think Gamescom is one of the bigger European game trade shows – there’s also Precedence

Aug. 20, 2013


*Obviously this has ZERO bearing on the new game. Maybe they’ll announce the new game from some civilian space shuttle in outer space in 2028. :man_astronaut: Maybe the game won’t be announced until Sony makes a “PlayStation V.” Maybe they just wanna wait until i’m retired and collecting Social Security before they announce it.

But I think precedence could be meaningful. :slight_smile: