Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, October 30, 2009

Marketing Tricks & Treats

Halloween is here, and it's another example of a marketing opportunity. An alert marketer is always looking for ways to tie titles to current events, and a popular holiday is a good way to generate some press interest. Halloween is an obvious tie-in for a horror game, of course. But it also works for non-horror games, as in what Champions Online is doing with Blood Moon. Here's a series of events linked to the holiday, tied in with a free-to-play time in order to pull in some new users. It keeps the existing players happy (new content!); offers a free trial for people already interested in Champions Online; and gathers publicity for the game on web sites targeting their key audience. A good example of how to tie into a holiday even when your game isn't directly connected to it.

Now, this did take a lot of effort from product development, which is not normally the case with a marketing project. So marketing needs to have a good relationship with product development in order to pull off something like this... and there's the question of what you weren't able to get done because the product development worker bees were busy with this project. So it's not always the right answer, but it's worth thinking about this sort of idea.


  1. This is pretty common in the MMO space; most games have holiday events. City of Heroes has been doing Halloween events for a few years (and rolled out some new stuff this year.) WoW has seasonal events a few times a year. It's nice because these things are often tied into achivements and get players to log back in for a while.

    That said, these holiday events take a lot of effort, effort that could be spend on developing non-seasonal content. Are they worth it? Probably, as they get you press cycles and concurrancy spikes, both of which are good things.

  2. I can only conclude that MMO companies think they're a good thing, since they keep doing them despite the effort it takes. The only odd thing to me is why other types of games don't do this. One of the secrets to marketing success is to steal good ideas (being careful to file off serial numbers if necessary). It's easier than thinking up your own original ideas, and has the added benefit of demonstrated success.