As a gamer, consider the very best board game or video game that you have ever played. How did you discover it? If you heard about the game from a friend, how did they discover it? As a developer, a publisher or the head of an emerging game studio, this is a question that is critically important if you want to get others to play your game or get others to buy your game.
While some may wonder why this post blurs the line between those who develop games (the developer) and those who publish games (the publisher) at Social Games Chicago (SGC) we are first and foremost a community that is committed to helping Chicago game developers to build studios and open markets. While the distinction between developers and publishers is well defined for well established factors in the industry, most hobbyists, indie developers and new studios wear the hats of the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker and almost everything in between (look for more on the distinction between publishers and developers in future posts).
There is also nod for game marketing.
In the classic AIDA model that is attributed to Elias St. Elmo Lewis, the first stage in the process of engagement is “Awareness.” This is just as true in the video gaming or traditional gaming space as it is an any marketing space. In order to get a gamer to play or buy your game they must be made aware that your game even exists. In early gaming, many arcade games even had an “attract mode” that gained the attention and the awareness of gamers when the game was on, but not being played.
“These ARE the droids you did not know that have been looking for.”
Developers that were patrons of the arcade, probably remember the haunting and iconic melody of Nintendo’s Donkey Kong machine. Well before you saw the Donkey Kong machine, you were aware of its presence via its distinctive sound.
Ignoring the past sequels, a full year before the premier of Star Wars Episode VII, fans were made aware that the movie was going to exist. More than a year before gamers could play Halo 5, they had to be made aware that the next chapter in the Master Chief saga would be available to play. These two success stories began with addressing “awareness” in the AIDA model with a lot of lead time before the experience (the game or movie) was available.
There are tens of thousands of games out there with thousands more added every year. How will gamers discover your game? How will they be made aware that it exists? How much lead time will you need to build awareness?
If you would like to see more in this series, follow us and #gamemarketing to @socgameschi