Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To PR, Or Not To PR

Microsoft has certainly had some great PR moves in the past, and some excellent marketing. But every once in a while you get a blooper like this one: In an interview with Gamasutra, [Microsoft Kinect spokesman] Tsunoda boasted that Kinect will "blow away" iPad sales. The iPad sold 1 million units in its first 28 days on sale, and sold 3 million in three months.

OK, I understand you're trying to boost Kinect sales. But comparing how Kinect will do with something that is only vaguely connected, and is three or four times the price, isn't saying anything more than "I'm bad at PR." If you want to throw down a gauntlet, say that Kinect will beat out Move sales... though you'd have to be pretty convinced of your product to make that claim. Move is, at least on the surface, cheaper than Kinect (though you really have to compare a pair of full sets of Move controllers to a Kinect ). There's enough differences in pricing and configuration that you'd have to be really precise in order to make any kind of reasonable comparison (how do you count bundle sales, for instance?).

Really, it would be better to content yourself with something like "Kinect is going to sell millions of units over the holiday season." That gives you some wiggle room... does Easter count as a part of the holiday season?

For those of you called upon to be a press spokesman when it's not your day job, resist the temptation to be snarky or boastful. Be thoughtful instead... ahead of time. Prepare some remarks for the inevitable question you know will be coming; go over your answers carefully and think about how they'll come across. If you get asked questions that aren't on your prepared remarks, make a note and say you'll get back to them later on that. And then do so.

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