Online gaming providers and publishers are always on the hunt for novel ways to increase their share of the online gaming industry pie. To do this they employ all manner of marketing and player acquisition tools, which means many hardened online gamers are well used to being bombarded with everything from special promotions to limited-time-only offers.
Here we delve into the world of online games, to see how top operators are doing everything in their power to retain loyal players as well as attracting new ones.
Harnessing the Power of Celebrity
One of the sure-fire ways to draw a mass of players to a new or existing title is to employ the services of a celebrity or influencer who will either relentlessly plug your game on their social media channels or even make an in-game appearance themselves.
The latter of these two options is becoming increasingly popular with developers, with the most recent high profile celebrity appearance being the one made by Keanu Reeves in a game that ultimately did not do him justice, Cyberpunk 2077. Whereas an avatar with a likeness to Reeves was used in that game, there are others which have decided to use voiceovers provided by everything from Hollywood actors to platinum album selling rappers. Such was the case in Call of Duty: Ghosts, whose developers took to harnessing Snoop Dogg’s powers, to provide typically lyrical and amusing soundbites for the game’s players to get excited about.
While gaming companies have benefitted greatly from the exponential rise in mobile gaming, this trend has created challenges for marketing departments trying to offer relevant promos
Everyone Loves a Freebie
Sometimes it takes thinking out the box to get players rushing to a new game or gaming platform, but there are also some other tried and tested methods that never cease to fail. One of these is providing products for free for a certain period of time or even making them entirely free and then hoping that players will make in-game purchases.
Free trial periods are particularly popular with online streaming services such as Xbox Game Pass which provides players with full access to the platform for one month for just $1. Other providers take a slightly different approach, choosing to provide their players with a certain amount of credits which are valid on specified eligible games, with the hope that, having played such games, the gamer decides to continue playing them rather than venturing elsewhere.
Finally, there are those free-to-play games like Fortnite and Apex Legends which are completely free for players to engage with. However, if a player wants to deck their avatar out in a special skin or get their mitts on a vital piece of in-game machinery, then they will be required to head to the game’s very own store to pick up the digital goods they desire.
There are now more ways than ever before for the marketing teams at gaming companies to reach out to potential players and provide them with enticing offers
Play for Free, But Pay to Train
Another free-to-play model which has become a favorite among players of particularly classic online games, is that of providing the base game itself for free but then charging players for training and coaching courses as well as merchandise.
This model has been particularly prevalent in online games such as chess and some other popular card games, where players can pay for everything from professional assessments of their skills, right through to making sure they never have to deal with in-game ad pop-ups ever again.
Streamers Are New Gaming Tastemakers and Trend Setters
We mentioned celebrities and influencers earlier in the piece, but in the world of online games some of the most influential individuals around are the professional gaming streamers who inhabit platforms such as YouTube Gaming and Twitch.
Men and women like Dr Disrespect and Pokimane have become highly influential characters in the industry, meaning that many will be paid by gaming companies to act as conduits for special gaming promos and offers which their followers are more likely to lap up.