|Try not to have your marketing resemble this.|
It's not at all clear what publishers, genres, platforms or business models will emerge victorious in the midst of all this change. Overall, the game industry looks to hit some $50 billion in revenues worldwide; but for individuals and companies, the key knowledge is exactly how that revenue will be distributed. The number of gamers will continue to increase; who they are, where they are, the platform they're playing on, and the type of game they're playing will continue to diversify.
How do you create an effective marketing campaign in the midst of such a chaotic, changing marketplace? First off, you have to abandon the idea of a standard marketing plan. Oh, there are standard things to consider, but you can't expect a single plan to work for all games. Even if it did work now, it would need tweaking in a few months... and perhaps wholesale changes in six months. Things are too fluid for business as usual.
Creativity in marketing is more important than ever. Look for the unique selling points of the game... and if it doesn't have any, why did development even begin on that game? Take those unique points and get creative... can you make an interesting video? Is there a compelling story the press might be interested in, perhaps about how the game was created? Does the game connect in some way to famous person, a news item that's hot, a fan base that's large and active? The marketing has to be compelling and creative, and it's best begun when the game is first being designed.
What's going to be happening this year? We'll see a continued drop in physical retail sales, an even greater rise in digital sales, an even bigger flood of mobile games... and the competition among games will only get fiercer. New consoles will be duking it out for mind-share and dollars... and it's not clear that any of them will do very well. Tablets, though, are a damn good bet, as are smartphones. So are markets in China, Russia, Brazil and many other countries.
It's going to be a very exciting year.