The story of the video games industry is a classic from rags to riches tale. When they first appeared, they were considered a children’s pastime, a label they were stuck with for a long time. The technological development in the field of personal computers and consoles and especially the Internet have propelled them from obscurity to mainstream and one of the most profitable industries in the world. The revenue from gaming is expected to surpass $239 billion in 2022. That is a mighty big pie and it is no wonder that more and more people each year are trying to snatch a piece of it. One of the key components in video games’ success was marketing. There are plenty of lessons that can be learned from them, even if you are not part of the industry. Here are some of the most important ones.
Create A Powerful Visual Content
It would seem that each year we need better computers and more powerful graphic cards to be able to run new games. The reason for this is that game visuals are one of the main selling points of all titles. The more impressive graphics, the more powerful PC you need to run it. The downside is that if you can’t afford the latest equipment, you will be denied the pleasure of playing the latest titles in full resolution, with all details turned up to the max. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the game, though, you’ll just have to wait a bit until the price of the equipment falls as new models come to the market.
Have a Compelling Story
Even a game with lousy graphics can be a hit if it has a compelling story that appeals to its players. Nothing draws gamers like a powerful narrative and well-developed characters. They can identify with them and even develop actual feelings about them. Cratos, Master Chief, Ellie, Commander Shephard, and Solid Snake are just some of the names that have mesmerized players over the years. They are also the reason why even today, although some of those games are years old, gamers still return to them. The true nature of characters isn’t that important. Sometimes they are heroes, sometimes villains, often robots or even inanimate objects. As long as they have that something people crave to see, players will love them.
Emphasize Your Brand Identity
Your brand identity is what separates you from the rest of the pack. That is why it is vital to nurture it and make it as unique as possible. It helps if you have a nice backstory to use. The success of AskGamblers confirms this: from a student’s project to one of the industry leaders, the site has come a long way, ending up with a sales tag of $15 million. They offer an excellent example of how to build a brand from the ground up and become a powerful force in their field. Apple, Google, Mercedes, and many other established brands have proven time after time that having a powerful name is an enormous asset in business, both with partners and customers. The same goes for the gaming industry. Names like Blizzard, Steam, and Infinity Ward are legendary in the industry and many people buy their games solely on the power of the brand.
Nurture Your Community
This is one of the most important lessons to be learned from successful gaming companies. A brand with a loyal community will always have something to fall back on, even if they release a subpar product. That is why it is amazing that so many companies can’t get that right. Creating a bond with your community is more than having an occasional giveaway. It goes much deeper. One thing that will inspire loyalty is to show your customers that you respect them and value their input. Asking them for their opinion, especially about the future direction of your brand is absolutely vital. It creates a feeling that they are a part of the whole story, something all of us need in our lives. There may come a time when that loyalty is all that stands between you and ruin.
Be Open to Critics
To be quite honest, a vast majority of gaming companies also don’t understand how important engaging your critics are. That is why some of them release the same game years after years, banking on the fact that their audience will buy it out of habit, play it twice and forget about it. On the other hand, that goes to show just how powerful a brand can be. Still, it is no excuse and sooner or later, that will have to face the music and we have a feeling that it will be a highly unpleasant experience. Burying your head in the sand will not save you from consequences and the sooner you ace them, the sooner you can start mending the causes of them.
Of course, not every industry is in the position to provide samples as easily as the gaming industry. Those who are, though, should take full advantage of it. Providing samples to your customers is a time-tested way of obtaining crucial feedback on your product. It is far more effective than any focus group or controlled testing. Some would say that game developers have it easy and that it cost them the same to provide 1 or 100,000 samples. While that is not quite true (there are hidden costs in play), we see the point. Still, many industries deal with digital content and still fail to offer samples to their existing and potential customers.