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Why Your Game Company Needs a Marketing Plan

The basic reason your game company needs a marketing plan? Without a marketing plan, your game(s) will only reach a fraction of your target audience. Learn more.

Jovan Johnson, Blogger

March 26, 2015

4 Min Read

Why Your Game Company Needs a Marketing Plan

The most basic reason your game company needs a marketing plan? Without a marketing plan, your game will only reach a fraction (if any) of your target audience. In the over-saturated marketplace, simply just putting your game online or getting it ready for physical sales is not enough to make it successful. You have to develop a plan that will first, get your game in front of those who would be interested in playing it, and second, convince those consumers to actually buy it.

Our game is amazing, do we still need a marketing plan?

Many amazing games have failed simply because the company has not put enough time, thought, or effort into their marketing. Video games are in exactly the same boat as any other product—there are thousands of others to compete with and a consumer base that is becoming less and less susceptible to marketing and more and more indifferent to any kind of company message.

Game marketing has been largely ignored, especially by indie developers, for most of video game’s history. Anyone who was alive in or has heard about the video game crash of 1983 knows that even the best platforms and games can be ignored in a market that is oversaturated with content (and that an entire industry can be nearly destroyed by a game about E.T.).

The hard truth is that gamers will not buy your game just because it’s a video game, no matter how good it is. There are hundreds of great games on the market and there are some just okay games produced by companies that are spending the largest portion of their budget on marketing, instead of on development, EA for example. There are already lots of choices for gamers, and they’re not going to just drop what they’re playing right now to pay attention to a game because it’s new.

As inclusive and as welcoming as the gaming community may be, in order to stand out from the crowd, you have to be willing to make a little noise, and that means having a marketing plan that puts you ahead of all the other game companies who still believe they can just pump out a game and people will find it.

How do we get started?

When marketing your game, you have essentially two options. You can either work with a professional marketing firm or you can try to market the game yourself. Whichever option you choose, the general steps are still the same.

You’ll want to start marketing your game before it is even released. Your game might not be the next Halo, with everyone and their mother standing in line to buy it the moment it hits the shelves, but you’re still going to make the vast majority of your sales the day of release, over the first couple of days, or during the first few weeks of sales. This means you want your most aggressive phase of your marketing plan to begin long before the game is completely ready to go.

A word of warning, however: the last thing you want to do is give your audience an unrealistic idea of what your game looks like or how the gameplay progresses. It might be best to hold off marketing until you have at least one part of your game entirely completed so you have screenshots or demonstration videos that reflect exactly how the game will look.

But why market at all?

A game trailer, for example, is one of the best ways to get potential players hyped about your game. Why? Because they can see the amazing graphics and get a peek at the unique storyline. Remember the official Destiny trailer released in September of 2014. It didn’t tell much (or anything, really) about the storyline, but it definitely made you want to pick up a copy when it was released. In short, that’s why marketing is important, it convinces your target audience to get your game, instead of someone else’s.

Jovan Johnson is a California licensed attorney who focuses on SEO, mobile games, and apps. He is passionate about mentoring students and steering dollars to scholarships, and speaks regularly about career opportunities. He is a principal at Johnson Moo, FurzyPaymaster.Co, and 320 Instrumentals.

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