While most game developers have a passion for gaming, at the end of the day it is still a business. That means that attracting players and making sales is a top priority. In turn, that makes marketing a priority. Here are three ways that game marketers can use gaming communities as a gold mine for growth.
Tap Into Existing Communities
Blogs, social networks, forums, and other online communities have a lot of influence over purchasing decisions and what games become popular. You can make a lot of headway before you even start by studying what is hot and trending on these communities.
Is there a certain type of game that people talk about? Are there specific elements that the popular games have in common? Map it out and see if you can reverse engineer the specifics of what can add to your game’s popularity before you start production (or even before you come up with an idea).
Create Your Own Community
Community matters a lot in gaming; especially now that the internet is so ingrained in our everyday lives. Most popular games have a thriving online community that interacts and plays together. That goes for everything from RPGs to first-person shooters to sports games. And community is the backbone for most of the popular mobile app and social app games.
A significant part of the fun of games is interacting with others and sharing the experience with other gamers. If you can support a community then you have already gone a long way into at least giving your game the chance to become popular.
Marketing To (And Within) Gaming Communities
You can’t create a game and hope it becomes popular simply because it’s great. Great is the price of entry. You have to invest in marketing. Great marketing is the reason that some not-so-good games become profitable. At the same time, lack of marketing is the reason why some great games never see the light of day.
The good news is that it’s easier than ever to leverage communities to get exposure for your game. The first, and most obvious choice, is to go directly to the popular gaming sites and target people interested in the genre of game you are offering. There are websites that focus on specific genres, or you can potentially advertise on more general gaming sites but limit the ads to the categories of interest.
Additionally, you can run advertising on social networks. Social networks are a gold mine because users willingly share their interests. Use this information to target those people that would be the most open to exploring your game first.
Finally, build marketing into the game. Provide players with an incentive to on-board new users for you.
One example of this is providing existing players an incentive for sharing the game and inviting new players on social networks. Mobile app games are great at doing this. But you can also add this type of functionality into console and computer games.
The incentive does not have to be in exchange for social network interaction. You can just as easily provide referral codes.
No matter the direction you choose, just remember that existing players – your community – can be a gold mine for growing your game.