Social Media: Changing The Ways We See Video Games

Videogames are exploding in popularity these days, and it’s truly amazing how we started with Pong in the early 1980s and now have games rendered in 60fps at 4K image quality. From Indie games to the top notch triple A games it doesn’t matter how famous a game developer is. They all have to advertise and give their hard work a platform to stand on for consumers to find interesting and ultimately buy their game. There’s many different ways we have seen advertisements for video games these days, but by far social media is the best method with the millennial generation being the largest group of consumers for developers.

Developers use social media to directly communicate with their fan base. EA and Activision have started to create a similar exchange with their users with the aim of trying to sound less like a faceless corporate entity. Companies have recently found that as they interact with their audience the associated product awareness provides positive feedback. With this positive feedback comes word of mouth marketing, which to this day is still one of the most effective methods of marketing a company can engage in. Users can feel a part of the development process as they are kept up to date with the latest news from the developers’ studio.

John Drake, a game developer for Harmonix Studios, spoke at the Seattle PAX conference on how multimedia content on social media was key in gaining their target audience’s awareness. “We have been told that video performs very well on Facebook. If you look at studies like Rovio (Angry Birds), they pump out videos all the time. Farmville…they post videos all the time that are like static screenshots. It’s a six-minute video and that’s how they reveal new content coming out for their game and their videos get 150,000 views so it can be a really strong channel for the developers.”

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We see networks and advertising not only outside of games on social media but also inside the games. You will see this primarily on mobile platforms because after you beat a certain level or finish a game with a friend you will see many pop ups telling you to try out other games created by the same developer. They will also use these ads as incentives for different items or materials that will help you progress in your current gameplay. Popular games such as Farmville and Candy Crush directly build in social networks such as Facebook. This then enables players to connect with their friends; meaning more in-game rewards that can potentially lead to users inadvertently advertising to users not yet aware of the game. It also allows players to use their online information to purchase in-game content faster, or personalize game content automatically using already uploaded information.

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Developers have also started creating social networks to connect with gamers. For example Rockstar Games created Rockstar Social Club used in their widely popular game “Grand Theft Auto V”. This internal social network allowed players to join groups together, send messages to friends in game, and track other players’ statistics to get exclusive in-game items for using the social network. It’s a massive incentive for players to join their service which allows Rockstar to gather user data and track their activity. Creating their own social network also allows them to advertise their own products and merchandise in the game, easily making an extra profit for themselves.

PlayStation Network (PSN) is also a great example of an internal social network. PSN allows friends to link up and play games at ease while also allowing other companies like Hulu or Netflix to connect to the same service for increased exposure. This concept allows the gamers to seamlessly switch between playing a game or watching a movie or TV show. PSN also allows gamers to purchase games using their Android and iOS smartphone app where purchased items can then instantly be available to download onto the PlayStation 4 Console.

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With both PlayStation and Xbox implementing these features (along with the just released Nintendo Switch) we can only assume this will be added into upcoming VR technology as well. It wouldn’t be shocking to see after purchasing your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive seeing an ad for another game with the ability to purchase instantly.

 

Brett Brook is a Partner at RedFox Creative. For more information or to leave a comment, send an email to brettb@redfoxcreate.com or visit us online at www.redfoxcreate.com for more information. We’d love to hear from you!

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