In such a competitive market for games developers, finding the factor that gets customers talking about a studio’s game and then actually buying it can seem like an uphill battle, especially as the gaming industry can be segmented in so many ways and audiences tastes are so different. Whether it’s choosing a popular genre, bringing back a much-loved brand, entice with offers, or creating an event of the release, there are many methods that can convince a gamer to get behind a game.
Find What’s Popular
One way to guarantee some semblance of success for a game being released is to draw from what developers know people already love. When a game genre becomes popular, it’s likely that developers are rushing through other games that match that genre before the craze dies down. For example, 2018 saw a spate of battle royale games, most notably Fortnite, to compete for the trend of multiplayer melees. There is the added risk or releasing a game that is compared too much to a competitor, but releasing a game as part of a popular genre can lead to the game being successful. The latest research reveals that action games dominate as the most popular genre, which lends itself well to the escapism of gaming – and that first-person shooters are the most popular sub-genre.
Another trick for developers in releasing games that do well is to release one that has an existing audience – because they’ve played the game, or its predecessor, before. Crash and Spyro were re-mastered and re-released as almost identical games with a polished look to attract new fans and those that played the originals. Sequels often do well – Call of Duty, Fallout, Grand Theft Auto, Just Cause – as they are released to an established fan base that have been able to air improvements that they might like to see to games developers. The first version of a game works well enough to entice players, but the sequel can often be deemed to be the better game. With an excited fanbase, games developers are often able to secure higher funding to bring to life some of the elements that they want to improve the game. First game teething problems can also be ironed out when sequels are produced. Some games, such as the FIFA series, do better for sequels as gaming technology allows them to be visually and functionally better, so fans know to expect this.
Create an Added Value Package
Offering something extra as part of the package could also increase the sales performance across the world of gaming. This has become more prevalent as gaming has evolved to become an online phenomenon. Purchasing an app or playing for free with in-app purchases or even online gambling can all benefit from added value packages that help differentiate their offering from competitors. For example, offering a free bet could be the deciding factor in a customer choosing a certain brand for their sports betting, which also goes to show that the brand cares about their customer enough to offer something to them. Sometimes the added value can be the physical copy of a game in a collector’s edition case. There are plenty of collectors of video game memorabilia who love to show it off. Plus, giving something extra away with a game might be more conducive for the player to share on social media, which will further drive excitement and drum up a buzz for the game. Essentially, added value is a way of showing dedication to fans and commitment to producing a game they should want to play.
Make the Release an Event
Another way of generating the buzz for a game is to make the release tied into an event. The best example of this is when a game is released at midnight, which inspires queues of eager gamers waiting to receive one of the first copies. The Pokemon franchise often release a special in-game prize of a limited edition rare Pokemon to those who attend release events, which adds an incentive not just to buy the game, but to be an early adopter brand ambassador. The use of social media to proliferate game sales comes from this ability to tap into the eager market that then tout the virtues of the game to their peers. Being involved in a game conference, such as Sony’s E3 can also add some excitement to the release of a game. The conference works to entice fans and spread the word while production is ongoing. More funding can be secured if the pre-sales excitement indicates that the money will be made back easily.
More people than ever are playing some kind of game. Whether this is the traditional PC or console game, or a modern twist on it with an online or mobile variant. But while this is good for games developers that the industry is flourishing so successfully, it can also be a double-edged sword as the competition for games can also be high. So, developers need to ensure that they are finding ways to differentiate and also engage players by creating a buzz and achieving sales targets in order to continue galvanising the industry.