Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, April 23, 2010

Engaging the Enemy

Activision finally seems to be awakening to the PR damage that's been caused with the firing of Infinity Ward leads and the subsequent dueling lawsuits. In a bold move, they have sent a blogger into enemy territory to engage the haters. Activision blogger Dan Amrich has been posting to a Facebook group set up by Activision anti-fans, attempting to calm the waters.

He may not succeed, but the effort itself will put Activision in a better light. And, as you can see by this post and others, it's bringing more publicity to Activision's attempts to not be perceived as jerks. The alternative is to turtle up and not say anything, which means other people get to define your position for you. Now, there are dangers in communication like this; you may make matters worse if you say the wrong thing in your attempts to answer jabs. You may also piss off your boss, too, as you attempt to minimize the statements the boss made. It's a tricky line to walk.

Ultimately, will this affect Activision's sales? Perhaps not; the number of people aware of anti-Activision sentiment must be a tiny percentage of their customer base. The greater danger might be to Activision's ability to attract developers or to cut deals for licenses or acquisition of development groups. At this point, you'd have to think any developer that was approached by Activision with an investment proposal would either say "No, thanks!" or ask for a lot more money. So the corporate image can be worth millions, even if doesn't matter much directly to the customers.

Bottom line: It's better to keep a good image than to try and rescue a tarnished one, but in either case the effort is worthwhile.

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