Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, April 15, 2011

Slick Marketing for Portal 2

First time I've seen a billboard campaign for a videogame.
Valve is pulling out all the stops for Portal 2. Not only have the put a billboard campaign in place (with multiple billboards, not just in Silicon Valley), they have come up with a very clever scheme to both sell a lot of games and hype interest in Portal 2. It's a variant on hostage publishing, which is where you hold off on publishing a product until you have enough pledges to make it worth your while. In this case, Valve is selling a group of 13 indie games on Steam called The Potato Sack at 75% off (it's $38.72, a pretty good deal for 13 cool games). You get not only the 13 games, but a potato hat in Team Fortress and a special skin Portal 2 co-op play. The promotional price is only good until Portal 2 launches.

But here's the best part: If you buy The Potato Sack and play the games, you can speed up the release of Portal 2... but only if enough people buy it and play it. Brilliant marketing idea, guys. My potato hat's off to you. Make money selling a group of games and use that to help spread the word about an upcoming title and boost its sales, too. Talk about marketing that makes money... this is the kind of clever marketing we should see more of. Creativity in marketing is rarer than creativity in game design, and that's not all that common.

Take a tip from this marketing campaign and put some creative energy into your marketing.

(Hat tip to Greg Peterson for pointing out this marketing campaign to me...)

Update: Well, perhaps not everyone is as taken with this marketing campaign as I am. According to this post on IndustryGamers, there have been a number people dissatisfied with the campaign, as they thought just buying the games would lead to an early release, not realizing the games would have to be played. That's a good complaint if the actual phrasing was unclear; I'd have to go and look at it to see for myself. Still, I think the campaign idea is a good one, even if the execution was flawed.

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