A common argument from publishers recently, is that a titles success is dependent on its release date. The concept that if you release in the same week as “Huge IP 6 : return of the WW2 zombies “, your doomed to the bargain bin of life.
Most recently the same argument has been put forward by Take 2 for the reason Bioshock 2 didn’t sell as much as hoped.
So is that it?
Is the only thing that guarantees success or failure of smaller IPs, is the timing its released in?
Well erm no, sorry this is an excuse for a marketing mistake. If you produce a good game and market it correctly timing is irrelevant (excluding date specific tie ins like Olympics), because if its good and has a presence; people will buy it at some point if you remind them.
Borderlands is a great example, one of my favorite games of all time and I have no idea when it was released. Being (like most adults) busy it was released under my radar, but a few months later a few people still mentioned how good it was and in particular a friend who I team play with a lot, suggested it had awesome co-op. So it was brought and since then I’ve also brought all the DLC and Borderlands 2 is an instant buy… but probably not on day of release, I’ll buy it when I can play it, when life, work and friends meet with a gap in my schedule.
Bioshock 2 is a bad example, I loved Bioshock 1 (I even own 2 copies, the 360 I played first and then brought it again on PC), but I don’t own Bioshock 2 (yet). There has been no chatter amongst my friends, no real excitement or suggestions I need to play this or any reminders.
tbh I thought it hadn’t been released yet :O
As such I haven’t got round to it, I’m sure I will (in fact oddly the article will properly remind me to pick it up soon) but there has been no push to remind me that I should buy it.
Mass Effect 2 did and was picked up but not in the week it came out. Even today, your far more likely to hear someone mention how good Mass Effect 2 is and if you hadn’t played it, get a shocked look and “you must play this”.
Everybody who games, sometimes gets excited by a title and wants it on the day of release. However I bet most adults who game don’t only buy a game in week 1 and 2. They will get it, *if* they have heard good things, and are reminded when they have time to pick up and play a game.
So if Take 2 think it was the timing, it wasn’t, it was your marketing.
Remind me every month its out and make it good so people are talking about it.
Stop thinking that blowing your load in 1 week and then nothing else is a good marketing strategy, its not and I doubt ever has been.
Games aren’t films, they don’t have premiere, short movie release, DVD then TV time depreciation.
Games release and then stay as good as they were for at least a year. So use that fact, take you marketing budget and split it into 10 chunks over the year. Sure your headline figures won’t be as good, but if your have good word and mouth and reviews, you get 10 chances to remind someone to pick it up, as fresh to the gamer as the day it was released!