• Monday, 28 March 2011

      Marketing Evolution (PR and Marketing)

      Ok instead of talking about PR and Marketing.
      UPDATE: Actually I'll call the title Marketing Evolution

      Ok this isn't going to be talking specifically about PR and Marketing, I would just be talking about the latest trends to how publishers and developers are approaching PR and Marketing.

      First I'll talk about Unboxing. What is this exactly? it is when someone who got their hands on a game unbox a collectors or special edition game for fans who had been waiting eagerly for the game and to see what is included if they too buy the game. Publishers see this as a good marketing tool so more people can see the cool stuff they get if they preorder a special edition game.

      It all started with random Youtubers making videos of it and now publisher or devs are using this as an opportunity to market their collectors edition games. That is the first step in Marketing evolution. I really do think this is a positive trend because many of us can see what we are in for! For an example buying a Collectors Edition with added Replica, how would I know if its some cheap replica or how would I know how big it is.

      The second towards Marketing evolution is Beta testing. Because of the rise and hype of AAA titles such as Killzone, CoD and Halo. Publishers now see a good way to market their services and games to gamers in terms of Beta testing. Seriously in concept Beta testing is just providing a Beta product to different users outside the company to help test the game out from a consumer perspective, their job is to play the game so that they provide feedbacks if they find bugs or just their opinion upon ways/idea to  improve the game.

      Sony and Microsoft are now using this Beta testing program to their advantage, they are using it so their customers can subscribe to their products. For an example if you sign up to Playstatsion Plus you would be eligible to get into Beta. Just because it says that doesn't mean you can get into any beta, you can only get into their PS3 Exclusive games.

      It is good to take advantage of Beta Testing because many gamers are anticipating a game so much that they want to get their hands on the game so badly and some simply want to be the first to play it. But it's really an exploitation, Beta is a free service, basically gamers are helping the developers do their job to fix the game. We don't get anything out of it however the only good thing we get out of it is to play the game early.

      I believe publishers should change this Beta Testing scheme, it's a good way to market their games although all they think about is a good way for us to make the developers job easy. And I do know it is for our own benefit.

      My concern is, the people selected to Beta test their games are not the right people! If many gamers gets their hands on a beta, they simply treat a beta as a demo. If they are not impressed by it, they would not buy the final product. Take DC Universe Online, many gamers complained about it crashing and finding multiple bugs, due to this they were not sold to buy the game. However many users who are interested in buying the game would give feedback on bugs and their thoughts of the game.

      I believe that Beta Testers should only be available to hardcore gamers. For an example Team NINJA hosted a Loketest tournament for Dead Or Alive Dimensions. The best DOA players from US against Japan's best DOA players. Not only is it just an ordinary tournament but more of a way to get feedback from those players, what needs improvements. If hardcore players dedicated to a franchise or genre gives feedback to your game, know that you will gain a massive positive results.

      So what I am trying to say is that only selected few should test beta for your games! If you just allow random gamers to beta test your game, you are basically turning away 40% gamers not to buy your game simply because of the bad experience of the Beta. Doing this would be hard but it can only be done via socialising with the gamers through a special service.

      My other concern is reward. Beta testing a game for a developer is basically doing their job for them for free! Why don't we get anything in return? Publishers are so blind because of this that they too treat Beta testing as a demo! Why don't the Publisher guarantee a safe return to their final release version? Meaning if we Beta Test a game for them, we would unlock a special item to use for the final product. This guarantee that even if a player wasn't happy with the Beta, at least he would gain something positive if he does buy the final product.

      Some demo do allow players to unlock points or items if they buy the final demo. Or am I going to far? remember I said that originally Beta testers are random people outside the developers company who help beta test a game and leave feedback. Those random people do not get anything in return so why should we gamers who help beta test a game get something back? I guess a guarantee return is not needed.

      Basically those are the 2 point I wanted to discuss about Marketing Evolution.  I don't  need to talk about Viral marketing because that was perceived ages ago, EA are the ones good at viral marketing with their games and they are successful when doing this.

      What I would say is Tour marketing, that is declining lately. Tour marketing is when publishers travel to different parts of the region, countries and state to demo showcase their games to the public. Doing that is cool but CANNOT guarantee many sales. In fact you spend ton of money travelling whereas you don't know if the people who demoed your game I the tour would buy it. Tour marketing still exist but does not happen often.

      Next up I'll be talking about RPG problems.


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