Like computers themselves, console and computer games have transformed considerably since their debut in 1970s. Games are played by all age groups and on devices ranging from dedicated consoles to tablets and PCs and most importantly on the omnipresent smartphones. The gaming industry is worth over $200 billion today and is expected to grow even more. It is also one of the highly paid and profitable professions in the world.
- Gaming is an industry which is all about competing, and consumer perception is the key. A good PR approach and implementation can often denote the difference between a tepid response and a resounding success in the market.
- PR in Gaming industry is as specialized as for wine industry. Any PR professional who wishes to make a splash needs to immerse themselves in the world of gaming and see it from the eyes of the gamer. Just as a successful PR professional for wine industry needs to know their Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons, a gaming industry PR professional needs to be knowledgeable about the game they are trying to promote. If they are not able to field standard questions, about the product they are promoting, from gaming journalists or enthusiasts, not only would it affect the image of the brand but also their standing in the gaming community. This doesn’t, however, mean that a PR specialist working in the gaming industry has to be an enthusiastic gamer themself, though that would be an added advantage.
- Since gaming is by nature extremely creative, overall market success demands originality and out-of-the-box approach from all those involved. Game developers need to keep their audiences excited while publishers need to come up with novel ideas to differentiate their products as outstanding. Likewise, gaming PR specialists too should strive for differentiation.
- Traditional PR and brand-building techniques like media events and celebrity outreach have or rather had their place in the gaming sector too, but their impact today is relatively less than it is for many other industries. Standard techniques like press releases and conferences are also less likely to be successful in this industry. But as they say, sky is the limit when it comes to creating out-of-the-box tactics and maybe even some which would be considered outrageous in the more traditional fields! Livestreaming games before their release and real-time interactions with gaming journalists and enthusiasts can be very productive. Gaming is a creative and inventive industry which requires an equally imaginative and innovative public relations approach.
- Fortunately, the gaming industry has a pretty busy events calendar which can be used to the advantage of aspiring game developers and producers. Gamescom, Asia Games Show and F3 premium events for big-time releases and even Indian events like IGX (Indian Games Expo), Gamethon and India Gaming Show can be considered depending on the target audience, budget, and other factors.
- Like any other industry, the key goal for PR before releasing a game is to create the maximum media hype and social media buzz using trailers, teasers, interviews with developers, etc.
- Since modern games involve tremendous visualization and picturization just like movies, creating catchy trailers of games before their release, helps to create the desired anticipation and buzz. But again, like movies, creating false expectations can lead to critical and negative reviews.
- More than any other sector, right use of social media presence is crucial for success in gaming industry. It is important to have good management on all common social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. YouTube influencers perhaps have a greater role than traditional media journalists when it comes to games, hence they must be leveraged to get as much traction as possible.
- Right timing is important in the gaming industry too considering that a lot of games are released every month. Building up a long buzz is not only expensive; it could also lead to oversaturation and loss interest.
- Again, listening to the consumer – the gaming community and your target demographic within it – is also vital for success. Popular game developers have developed their channels for this and depend on feedback. Networking is perhaps more important in the gaming industry than others. It has an extremely sizable international network; and as in many networks, everybody knows everybody else. Connections can run very deep and turn out to be very useful. Those with good people skills (isn’t that a given for a PR professional?) can easily extend their networks; even extending them across national and demographic boundaries. Effective and skillful use of networking can help garner success; conversely, ineptitude can lead to bad news traveling quickly too.
The gaming industry has its peculiarities and unwritten rules, hence it presents a goldmine of opportunity for the PR professionals who are young at heart and game for challenges galore.