Tips for Getting Your Gaming Company Off the Ground
Whether you’re planning on starting an online arcade or a game development company, there are certain steps that can be taken to maximise outreach and ensure an optimal outcome within the gaming industry. To an extent, gamers all want the same thing – a fun and engaging game – so creating such an experience will always be the first half of the battle. However, you don’t necessarily need to have the best game in the world to build a strong following. Here are five tips that are practically guaranteed to help you get any gaming company off the ground:
1. Build a Pre-Launch Hype
Whether you’re releasing a game or an online gaming platform, the key to avoiding a flop and picking up momentum right out of the gate is to start building hype months before the site or game is launched. This step alone is absolutely essential and will directly determine how successful your brand is able to become in the beginning stages. If you’re launching a gaming site, it’s imperative that you live up to the hype with an appealing design – check out Sun Bingo and Boomtown for an example of launch day design done right.
2. Honour Release Date Projections
Nothing extinguishes a pre-launch hype more than a postponed release date. We’ve seen it time and time again – games that live up to their original launch dates typically do better than those that repeatedly put off the release. While in some cases delaying the launch will give you more time to spread awareness, many times it will cause a portion of the anticipating fan base to lose interest temporarily. Although they may come back later and purchase/play the game or visit your site, crying wolf might leave them out of the initial crowd that’s supposed to build up your launch-day stats. Bethesda Games proved the power of sticking to the original release date by selling 12 million copies of Fallout 4 in the first 24 hours.
3. Offer Trials, Bonuses, and Preliminary Products
Offering free trials, incentives, and pre-launch preview products are great ways to promote engagement. Bethesda released a “Pip-Boy Edition” of Fallout 4 several months before releasing the actual game. It was a version of the game that came with a wearable model of the Pip-Boy character, and despite costing $120 it sold out long before the real game hit shelves. This shows that people love to get in on exclusive previews.
4. Develop Intriguing Trailers, Gameplay Videos, and Screenshots
Perhaps the most important aspect of developing a pre-launch hype is creating anticipation-provoking visual content in the form of trailers, gameplay clips, screenshots, infographics, and posters. In fact, out of all the marketing expenses you’ll have, this is the one you’ll want to invest the most in. Professional media development doesn’t come cheap, but it’s worth every penny if you come out with a truly riveting trailer that will entice your target audience. The big game companies routinely start distributing media as much as a year or two ahead of their next game’s launch, so as a newcomer you’ll want to give yourself at least 3-6 months to get your promotional content out there before the official launch.
5. Give Out a Free Mobile App
Releasing a free mobile app or game is an excellent way to expose your game and brand to the millions of gamers who use the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Bethesda showed off his tactic as well, releasing the mobile game Fallout Shelter only one month after announcing the release date of Fallout 4. The app became the most downloaded game in the App Store and was played more than 70 million times per day during the first month. While you probably won’t achieve such numbers on your first launch, it just goes to show that releasing an app will only serve to complement the pre-launch hype.
Focus on Being Everywhere
Finally, the key to putting your gaming company on the map is to put your game and brand name in as many places as possible. Online gaming magazines, forums, game review sites, video sites, and game streaming platforms are just a few examples of avenues you can take to distribute articles, walkthroughs, screenshots, videos, and other promotional content.