Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flocking To The Summer

It's been a longstanding tradition in the adventure gaming industry to save your really big product releases for the summer. This evolved for several reasons: First, the initial audience for RPGs and card games (and to a lesser extent war games) was the teenage boy, whose biggest buying season was the summer (when they were out of school and looking for things to do). Second, the biggest conventions (GenCon and Origins) were in the summer, so timing a release for one of those cons meant maximum exposure to the gaming press, distributors, retailers, and the biggest group of customers in one physical location. Not incidentally, a company can also make a pile of money selling a new release to eager gamers at the con.

Things have changed in the market since the early days, though. The demographic is now much more widely spread, so counting on a summertime spending surge is not as sure a thing. And since many companies have adopted this strategy, you are competing harder for attention and dollars. It's OK if you're one of the biggest companies with the most-awaited new release, but you can get lost in the crowd. And attendees only have so many dollars to spend, so you have to make sure they spend some of it on you.

In short, there are now some good reasons to release major products at other times of the year. The best time depends on your game, the demographics of your audience, and what your distributors will suggest (since they know what to expect in the coming year). With all that said, it can still be a great idea to release your new product at GenCon or Origins if you properly prepare your audience. It's always nice for a small publisher to come back from a show knowing that the whole trip was paid for by the direct sales at the show. Marketing that pays for itself, and that lets you know that right away... now that's marketing everyone can believe in.

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