Category Archives: Gaming

Gaming Trends & Issues on Modern Media Mix

DLC, Micro-Transactions and Loot Boxes: Innovations for Cold Hard Cash

It was 2014, and the finale to the Batman: Arkham games, one of the most popular series of the last decade, was just announced. Millions of thrilled fans went to YouTube to watch the Batman: Arkham Knight announcement, learning that Two-Face would be a villain. They also learned that if they didn’t pre-order this game they wouldn’t be able to play as Harley Quinn. Yes, they were pushed to preorder a game based a few minutes of video, which didn’t feature any gameplay.

gamePre-order exclusives are one of many ideas that the game industry has come up with to incentivize customers into giving their money away. Over the last decade the AAA game industry has come up with further innovations, not just to entice customers to buy games early, but also to gain a bigger profit. Sure, making games is a business and businesses are in it for the profit, but why are concepts like micro-transactions and season passes so common now in gaming?

In the beginning, the only way for companies to make money was through selling their game, make a new game and repeat. Most AAA games cost the same price, from a first-person shooter or a management simulator AAA, games usually cost $60. Why not just increase the cost of the game? For the answer check out Game Rant’s article about the subject. Truth is, companies are scared to deviate from the standard formula.

One of the first ideas for extra profit was to sell expansions, updates to games that add new content, usually for PC games. Not all of these updates are huge changes. Some content contains smaller additions such as cosmetic items or new weapons, to help keep players interested.

In the past few years, companies have been relying on DLC more than ever for a constant post-launch cash flow. There has been some debate as to how ethical these practices are. For example, some game critics argue that day-one DLC should be in the original purchase instead of being locked away until players spend more money. Yet, others defend these practices. There have even been some that have accused publishers of taking large amounts of content out of the initial game so they could sell more through DLC.

gameWith these new ideas being implemented, the AAA game industry transformed the idea of games being a single transaction product, into a continuous service that requires updates and new items, which in many cases the players must pay for. There is little downside to these DLC practices in the eyes of these publishers, because they usually take little resources and lead to a bigger net gain.

gameRemember the $60 set price mentioned above? Well, publishers started experimenting with different price ranges by releasing special edition games with more content. While the core game stays at $60, these special editions can go for much more.

Even with these additional avenues of profit the game industry continued to find ways of enticing gamers into spending more money with the implementation of micro-transactions in $60 games. For years, micro-transactions were utilized specifically for free to play games, where the player doesn’t have to pay, but the game’s progression is often purposefully slow to get them to pay for credits or items with real money in order to speed the game up. There is a large number of customers that are completely against the idea of these kinds of practices being featured in AAA games, and as the game industry has been using micro-transactions more than ever, the backlash against these companies has as well.

The success of micro-transactions has culminated in a controversial new business strategy that has taken the game industry by storm this past year. Loot boxes, a new form of micro-transactions where the player pays for a random item instead of getting to select one. This instantly began a debate between gamers as to how far was too far. There were many that defended these practices, while others voice their concerns.

For example, some critics argued that the loot boxes took advantage of people with gambling addiction. This was in light of the recent CSGO lotto controversy. A developer of the Lord of the Rings game, Shadow of War defended his game’s loot boxes by stating they were there to help the player. “It’s there as a player choice. It’s there, from my perspective, for people who are protective of their spare time and scared when a massive game comes along that they’re not getting to see the full experience. It’s the same design philosophy as us adding in difficulty modes. So now we have Easy mode, and we’ve added Hard mode at the other end of the spectrum.”

These are issues still being talked about today. An industry with a once simple business model, is now in a constantly evolving state where the next money-making idea is just around the corner. All of this has left a growing divide between publishers and gamers. There has been a growing feeling that customers are being cheated out of content initially because developers are focusing on expansions and DLC rather than the core game itself. Many would argue that these practices are only beneficial to the industry. Yet, this problem looks to continue as companies are finding financial success with these ideas.

There is little that consumers can do to change the minds of publishers like Warner Bros. and EA. There has already been a large amount of vocal opposition against micro-transactions, but there are always those who will side with the companies. Wherever there’s a profit the industry seems to go, and so the only way for gamers to make a difference is to talk with their wallets.

-Reese Stolte

Squanchtendo: A Novel Way to Doubt Your Own Existence

Hello dear reader, is this reality truly reality or is it just a simulation? Have you ever played a video game? If you haven’t, you can usually bet on a very similar narrative among most games. You start playing and you’re some hapless individual with an innate and untapped power that you’re about to master. A billion hours later and your character is now something akin to a god. This is what you can expect from playing most games because they’re just games. They’re made to give you something that you’re lacking in what you might consider to be your real life. Which brings us to one the black sheep of the gaming industry: The Stanley Parable.

Stanley ParableUnlike most games, The Stanley Parable is a game in which you are some poor schmuck named Stanley working a dull office job for all eternity. You have no power, no real choice, and nothing special about you whatsoever. The narrative is something that you make sense of and ascribe your own thoughts to. You have to find your own meaning and it allows you to reflect on what you may or may not be missing in your own life. This is a bit abnormal in video games because usually the narrative is grandiose and somewhat shallow. The stakes are normally through the roof and it’s up to you to save the world/galaxy/universe.

In 2016, a small game studio named Squanchtendo was started with the creator of The Stanley Parable along with the co-creator and voice of Rick and Morty. When the two creators collided they ended up with a virtual reality product known as Accounting. That game takes a similar approach to The Stanley Parable however the tone is darker and the narrative is much sillier.

Stanley ParableIn Accounting, you are a virtual accountant and you travel deeper into other virtual worlds. While in these other worlds the time you spend in them does not stop and you eventually come out of each one at a different point in time. You eventually make your way out of each of these worlds and the game ends. Which leaves you with the thought of whether or not this is reality and if you should try to escape it, the game’s ending carries over to after you’ve finished it.

It’s not just their narratives that makes these two creators unique, it’s also their business models. The first product from Squanchtendo was priced at the modest price of free. While this does reflect the small amount playtime it offers, it also is a product that fans definitely would have paid for. The Stanley Parable was also priced pretty low for its content which was around $15. The primary reason that these games are priced so low is that they are not being funded by massive companies.

Stanley ParableThese creators made a conscious decision to focus more on an individual story than a sprawling experience that the larger companies tend to align themselves with. The focus on a smaller more compact narrative has become a trend for indie developers in recent years and continues to be the case. Generally indie developed games have a smaller price tag to go along with the experience they’re selling.  Whereas the larger companies have settled on a $60 price tag on just about anything they put their name on.

At the end of the day they’re selling a product, whether it’s a six hundred hour adventure through the galaxy or a ten-minute-long reality-bending romp in your office. While it’s subjective which of these are better than the others, fans like myself can only hope to see more creators taking pointers from the little guys because you’re never too big to learn something. So tell me, do you exist or does it even matter? Are you a fan of any of these games? Does VR lend itself to video games enough to justify the purchase?

-Brigham Swanson

Worth the Wait? The Problem of First Day Glitches

As many of you have experienced, you buy a new device or download a new software update on the first day it releases. Well when you do that, there are bound to be some glitches with the software. This is what I call “First Day Glitches.” Many companies have this problem including some of the best companies out there. Whether it be Apple, Nintendo, or even Microsoft, it’s basically inevitable.

glitchesFirst let’s start out with Apple and their recent update iOS 11 that launched on September 18th, 2017. This is exactly one week after the iPhone 8 and iPhone X launch. On the first day, many users were experiencing issues. One of those issues was with the iPad, with graphics that were completely out of whack. The user would unlock the screen, and right away the bar that includes all of your favorite apps would be in the middle of the screen. This made it impossible to get to some of your apps that were underneath that bar. Another problem users ran into was with Apple Pay. Some people reported that Apple Pay would not work, or would completely crash when they tried to use it.

With this new update, Apple added a new feature that records your screen while you use it. Although this was a good idea on Apple’s end, it didn’t have the greatest first impression. Users would start recording and their iPhone would freeze or wouldn’t record audio like it was supposed to. The only way to unfreeze your phone was restarting it.

Apple isn’t the only company to have these kinds of problems. Nintendo had had a couple of pretty big issues when they first launched new products. One of those issues was with the JoyCon controllers not being able to connect to the screen when in portable mode. This raised many red flags because it is one of the key points for the switch being both portable like a GameBoy or stationary like a console. The other major issue with the Switch was that the screen would glitch to the point of not being able to see your game or control it at all. This video shows the extent of problems that it caused for many people.

The last company is Microsoft, and they problems they encountered with their launch of the Xbox One. On the first day, Microsoft released their “Day One edition” of the console which had some problems of its own. The “Green Screen of Death” was the biggest issue among them all. On the first startup of the console, the screen would freeze on the screen shown below. Many people got lucky and just unplugged their console and restarted it but some people had to send it back to Microsoft to get fixed. Gamers that also played on the Xbox 360 compared this to the “Red Ring of Death” which cost Microsoft nearly $1 Billion.

glitchesMany other Microsoft gamers complained about the optical disc drive either not reading discs or making a crunching noise when the disc was inserted. Along with that, the download times of games was very slow, but the explanation for this is based on how large the game files are in order to provide such high-quality graphics. The higher the graphic quality, the bigger the file will be. This is one of those times you have to decide what you would rather have. Quality graphics and slow download time? Or Bad graphics and fast download time? Read more here.

Overall, these companies are great companies even with their flaws, and it is impossible to be perfect. These examples are why I always wait a few days or a few weeks until getting that new device or downloading that new software. If you wait most of the major bugs and glitches will be taken care of.

Here are a few questions to think about. Are you one of the many that have to have the newest thing right away? Or do you wait?

If you were involved with one of these companies, what would you recommend doing differently to make the first day go smoother?

And what are some other examples that you have bought or downloaded something on the first day it released that had some glitches like these?

Brett Olson

Overwatch: The Next Team Fortress 2?

“It’s high noon,” is a quote by McCree who is one of my favorite characters from Overwatch. Blizzard released the game Overwatch last year and it was met with raving success. Overwatch has had stunning marketing results, but will Overwatch become a trend in the near future?

OverwatchCelebrity Terry Crews recently did a video that came out this month. He did a mock audition for Overwatch character Doomfist. People are still playing Overwatch if Terry Crews just did an endorsement deal for Blizzard right?

According to Direct Marketing News Perry Simpson, he listed five reasons Overwatch worked well: brand integrity, powerful influencers, high accessibility, UGC (user-generated content), and a high-quality product.

However, the Gamespulp website reported that Overwatch is slowing down. The website claimed that the characters are part of the reason why the game is not doing so well. The website also stated that there’s no unlocks and loot boxes don’t count. Finally, you already have unlocked all the characters and abilities. What else?

Well, in all fairness, Overwatch currently has around 20 million players according to IGN along with an almost perfect review. Blizzard made a really good game here. So why people think that a game like this be slowing down? One word: trend.

A trend is a popular style that lasts for a brief period in time. Trends usually do not last more than a year. A good example of a trend that has lasted is the word ‘cool.’ So, does that mean that Overwatch is a terrible game? No. Of course not. It’s just that some (including myself) see this game as a trend. I haven’t played Overwatch in months now and I don’t really want to.

Overwatch is like World of Warcraft or Runescape. There is a dedicated, loyal fan base for these games, but it is like a trend. World of Warcraft has gained subscribers, but has lost many subscribers over the years.

Overwatch is a fun game to play however and with twenty-two characters to choose from. A good variety of maps, weapons, abilities, and unique character’s backstories. The game is multiplayer only which might be a reason why this game is slowing down. How would a single player campaign work? I’m not sure.

What can Blizzard do since Overwatch is kinda-of looked at as being a trend? Well, Blizzard could patch the game, maybe add new maps, add new characters, and perhaps a single player campaign. Will they do this? Again, I’m not sure.

Other than Overwatch being rumored as a trend, I want to look more in-depth of the game’s marketing. Let’s compare Valve’s Team Fortress 2 to Overwatch due to the similarities. Overwatch seems to have a similar art style, character style, and general map rotation.

According to PCGamesN, Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s game director expressed his thoughts on the Team Fortress 2 comparison from a fan’s question during Blizzcon. He said, “Team Fortress 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, but we’re going in a different design direction than they are. If people want to compare Overwatch to Team Fortress 2, we would take that as the world’s greatest compliment,” said Kaplan.

Sure, Overwatch is not a complete copy of Team Fortress 2, but there are many similarities. Not to mention how Valve marketed Team Fortress 2. For example, Valve marketed and showed off Team Fortress 2 characters just like Overwatch. They made one video for each of their characters.

Blizzard has even reached out to a popular film channel on YouTube known as RocketJump formerly known as FreddieW. The video came out October 2016. They advertised Heroes of the Storm more, but they do have Overwatch character Tracer in it. It sounds like Blizzard is still trying to keep Overwatch relevant.

What are your thoughts on Overwatch? Do you think Blizzard implemented a marketing genius game or will people lose interest in this game very soon? Tell me in the comments below! Don’t forget to share this post with your friends. Thank you!

Kyle Konigsmark

Creativity in Action: Marketing Rise of the Tomb Raider

In 2013 “a survivor was born” when Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix released Tomb Raider, a complete reboot to an already beloved series. The game met with incredible success and news of a sequel. Rise of the Tomb Raider was announced and fans were excited everywhere.

Tomb RaiderThat was until it was announced that Rise was going to be an Xbox One “timed exclusive”, which meant that for the first year of release, Rise was only available to the Xbox. This was met with an overwhelming amount of criticism. So how was Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics going to sell the game? With a really cool marketing campaign.

Tomb RaiderWe’ll start with the Survival Billboard. This was a challenge that was held in London, the home city of Lara Croft, and sponsored by Microsoft in an attempt to promote the game. The challenge sounded simple, eight contestants stood on a billboard. The contestants had to remain on the billboard for as long as they could while facing harsh weather conditions such as cold rain, strong wind, freezing snow and intense heat.

The event was live streamed via Twitch, an internet live streaming service, and played ads for the upcoming video game within the breaks of streaming. Microsoft also launched a website that viewers could go to. The website allowed viewers to choose what weather condition the contestants would have to deal with next. What is incredible is that the event lasted 20 hours and 45 minutes before there was only one contestant left standing. This marketing stunt won Microsoft several Cannes Lions and left one contestant with some hypothermia. The Cannes Lion is an award for those in advertising and communications.

The next bit of advertising that Microsoft threw together was “Escape from Siberia”. In “Escape” four fairly popular YouTube personalities were tasked with surviving the elements for 48 hours. The YouTubers had to complete “obstacles” such as camping, which I guess is an obstacle? Ziplining, rock climbing and archer. The vlogs were uploaded to the “Xbox On” YouTube channel as well as each of the individual YouTube channels.

Now we will head over to “The Climb”, which was aired in 2015 on Comedy Central. The commercial was a cross promotional event with the stars from the show Broad City, in which they are trying to climb up scaffolding while mixing in gameplay for Rise makes for a really funny commercial.

Something that this marketing campaign did that I thought was really cool was it tried to reach the female gaming community, as well as just females in general. If you haven’t watched Broad City, 1. You should and 2. You need to know it has a large female audience.

Another thing that Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics did was to hire Karen O, the frontwoman for the band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen wrote the song and performed it for a music video that featured Lara Croft fighting and overcoming challenges from the video game, the song is called “I Shall Rise” The video was uploaded to the “Xbox On” YouTube channel on November 12th 2015. As I was saying this campaign tried to reach a larger female audience than most games do in general. However, I do not know whether or not Rise of the Tomb Raider was successful in gaining a female audience.

Now with any marketing campaign you have to have a presence on social media, and this game had just that. “Lara Croft’s Adventures” was the name given to the Instagram promotions that included several accounts which all linked together. One account was the Tomb Raider Journals in which several pictures are displayed with notes written by Lara to provide context on her current journey.

The next Instagram account was called Tomb Raider Research in which it showed Lara’s “virtual bulletin board, the account had photos, newspaper clippings, artifacts and notes and like the other account all were used to help provide context.

Tomb Raider

With all of these avenues of advertisement at their fingertips, was Microsoft successful? Yes and no, and here is why. It is true from a marketing standpoint that this campaign was brilliant and fun, in fact it won the Game Marketing Awards: “Outstanding Overall Marketing Campaign 2016”. It is true that the game was the highest selling Xbox One game during the week of Christmas 2015 and by the end of 2015 the game had sold over 1 million copies. So, it’s not like the company lost money. But the downfall comes from the fact that it was a timed exclusive for one year and on one console. Because when the game was released for the other systems such as PC, the game sold three times the amount in its first month of release.       

I guess in the end the game was a success, even for the Xbox, just not as much sales as they had projected. Crystal Dynamics is already developing a third entry for the rebooted series. Maybe they will think about pairing up with Microsoft again, or Sony, or neither and just release the game to all platforms.

So, what are your thoughts on the rebooted Tomb Raider series? Should Crystal Dynamics partner with a company like Microsoft again or not? Comment below! Peace out homies.

Nick Mussehl

A Marketing Campaign as Convoluted as the Plot of the Game

The Metal Gear franchise has a storied history over the past thirty years. The first release was in 1987 that redefined and created an entirely new genre of video game. The creator of this series is Hideo Kojima and he is well known for his convoluted story arcs as well as character development. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was released in September of 2015 and is the most recent addition to join the modern console series since 2008 when Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was released.

Metal Gear

In December of 2012 a trailer for a game called “The Phantom Pain” was released, featuring a fake game development studio brand named Moby Dick Studios. This sparked a keen amount of interest in this game that had essentially shown off a spectacularly crafted world but no one had heard of these developers before.

Metal GearIn March of 2013 an interview was arranged between a game journalist and the CEO of Moby Dick Studios. The journalist arrived to the interview to find a man dressed in bandages over his face. His name was Joakim Mogren, and he bore a striking resemblance to one of the characters in the trailer. Joakim refused to answer any of the journalist’s questions but he did reveal that there would be a more official announcement later that month, and he showed some photos from the game indicating that it would be running on the Fox engine.

This interview had a number of journalists speculating as to what exactly happened and how strange the interaction was. Later that month the official announcement was made at the Game Developers Conference. It was unveiled by Hideo Kojima himself with a terrifying mask dressed in bandages similar to Joakim. Hideo announced MGSV: The Phantom Pain and the community surrounding the MGS series rejoiced as they eagerly began to speculate on the events leading up to and during the game’s storyline.

Metal Gear

When the release date for MGSV was announced, they also unveiled a skimpily dressed character design for Quiet which caused a fair amount of controversy. When pressed about this, Kojima mentioned that when the game was released people would regret their assumption that she was just a sex object. But in my opinion this has yet to be seen. However, the controversy more than likely helped the game’s presence in social media and increased their visibility.

Metal Gear So, the marketing team for MGSV had to rekindle the community it had once garnished with gamers to raise awareness of the upcoming release. To do this they released a playable teaser type of game that was retailed for full price in 2014 called MGSV: Ground Zeroes. In my opinion this was a very intelligent thing to do, because not only were they able to create a product that hints at a later release. But it also gauged interest and people’s willingness to purchase a full priced game that wasn’t a complete product.

Another fairly clever aspect of MGSV: Ground Zeroes is that the game is almost entirely packed with easter eggs of self-referential content as well as a huge amount of fan service that was definitely appreciated. One specific mission in the game has you pointing a special sort of flashlight at logos of Kojima Productions as well as the various titles of games that have been made in the Metal Gear franchise.

When you point your flashlight at these titles or logos a voice will say something along the lines of “this one’s not very special” or “nice job, that’s another one” depending on whether Hideo Kojima himself worked on the game. If you find all of the relevant titles Hideo Kojima himself will speak and assume that you’ve got extensive knowledge of the series. Then he will thank the player for their knowledge of the series and their support throughout the years.

Metal GearThe amount of time that this campaign took to painstakingly create some semblance of news throughout a course of 3 years is astonishing. The constant trickle of tidbits kept the fans of the series speculating and the critically acclaimed reviews of the game helped with the recommendations through word of mouth. The game itself cost $80 million to create and on the initial release date $179 million were made and a total of 6 million units had been sold in the following months. All in all, I would say that the campaign was outlandish, counterintuitive and at times completely absurd but that’s just what fans come to expect from Hideo Kojima.

Brigham Swanson

Amazon’s Video Game Power Grab with Twitch Prime

In 2014, Amazon bought the massive streaming service known as Twitch. Three years later Twitch now has a paid membership known as Twitch Prime that is free if one is already an Amazon Prime member. Meanwhile, Twitch has reached out to a multitude of video game companies in an attempt to gather a larger audience.

Twitch and video games are already tied together. Twitch is primarily used to stream video games of all varieties, but YouTube also has a massive presence in the video game community. Google owns YouTube and Amazon is competing with Google. That is the strategy behind why Amazon bought Twitch. One of Google’s largest properties is YouTube, and Twitch is something that can compete with and maybe someday rival YouTube. Amazon wants to take on Google, so they started by competing with one of its largest money makers.

But will this strategy work?

With Twitch Prime, this strategy may stand a chance. Twitch has been expanding in recent years, but YouTube is still a colossus. It is reasonable to think that YouTube can’t be competed with, but if that was true then why did Google try to buy Twitch?

Twitch

Twitch has a great foothold in the videogame market that is actively growing thanks to Twitch Prime. This new service that is directly related to Amazon Prime allows members free  “game loot” by making partnerships with various video game companies. This cross promotion is important and done with multiple gaming companies. I will be using Hi-Rez as an example.

TwitchHi-Rez is the gaming studio responsible for the hit MOBA Smite. While only a few years old, Smite has over 25 million players and is growing. In the month of January, Twitch Prime focused on promoting Smite. Exclusive skins, chest rolls, and access to an event were given to Twitch Prime members. These things would either have to be bought or were not attainable otherwise.

Twitch Prime also went as far as to host Smite’s World Championship in association with Coca-Cola. This is a huge step that promotes Twitch Prime, Hi-Rez, and Amazon all at once. Amazon Prime members get Twitch Prime for free, so if a subscriber has an interest in video games obtaining Twitch Prime is easy and painless. Once that subscriber has Twitch Prime, they would be immediately made aware of Smite and its world championship that they could watch for free. After watching, they may be interested in the game which is free too.

This chain of events is beneficial to all three companies without forcing the individual to jump through a multitude of hoops. It is a creative, yet simple way Amazon is using Twitch to compete with YouTube and by extension, compete with Google.

So far, the strategy is effective. It worked on me, as I am an avid Smite player and had not heard about Twitch Prime until Hi-Rez began to advertise it. I already have an Amazon Prime membership, so it was easy for me to get Twitch Prime.

It is working now; however, that does not mean it will continue to work. The biggest roadblock that Amazon has is that it is trying to compete with Google. While Google is already a difficult company to compete with, YouTube is its own headache. While Twitch is growing, it has a long way to go before it can overpower YouTube.

That begs the question, is it possible to overpower YouTube? Can Amazon compete with Google like this? Will Twitch only rest in its large, but specific video game market? YouTube meanwhile has a multitude of video markets with video games being only one.

Only time will tell if Amazon’s strategy will continue to work. Companies like Hi-Rez will continue to benefit in the meantime. The trifecta of marketing is running smoothly, but will it ever gain enough momentum to overpower its rivals?

Sam King

Pokémon Go: Convinced to Catch ém All?

Pokémon GO was released in July of 2016, on various dates; depending on what country you lived in.  Pokémon GO is a free to play, augmented reality game for both iOS and Android phones.  It has in-app purchases, but these are not required to play the game. Pokémon GO has been downloaded over 500 million times worldwide.  But what made this game so successful?

PokemonThe game is a product of Nintendo and Niantic Inc., a software company based out of California.  Niantic was most commonly known, before Pokémon GO, for “Ingress”,  another mobile game where you travelled in the real world to achieve goals in the game.

Before diving into the marketing aspects for Pokémon GO, there is one more thing to be mentioned. Back in 2014 on April Fools Day, Nintendo teamed up with Google and had a one day prank called the “Pokémon Challenge”.  People could go on Google Maps with their computers or use the app while travelling and catch Pokémon.  This was very well received and is considered the inspiration for Pokémon GO.  I think this was also indirect marketing for their current game, a “if you like this, you’re going to like this” tactic.

The marketing campaign for Pokémon GO was actually quite small.  You could almost be bold enough to say, “It sold itself”.  The campaign kicked off with a single 3-minute trailer in September of 2015 that was posted to the Pokémon YouTube Channel.  This went viral and currently has over 42 million views.  Nothing like this game had ever been done before and the hype led all the way up to its launch date.  Fans were disappointed in a few initial bugs, but Niantic quickly fixed them.

Amazingly enough, the companies Niantic and Nintendo did very little marketing for themselves.  Besides a few other small trailers, they didn’t do much else.  And they didn’t need to, with so many people talking about it on social media.  The real advertising for this game came from many other sources.

Pokémon GO has special areas called PokéStops where you can go to get useful items; these are usually real world landmarks, like a statue or a restaurant.  Pokémon in the game also spawn in specific areas that are always the same.  This is where other companies come in to use Pokémon GO as a way to advertise themselves.

PokemonMany restaurants and cafés use their location to entice “Pokémon Goers” to stop by for a drink or for a bite to eat.  This symbiotic relationship benefits both the establishment and the game itself.  The business gets more money in sales, sometimes with deals for “trainers”, and the game gets free advertisement and might even convince others who don’t play the game to give it a try.

Another way that Pokémon Go got its publicity is law enforcement and subway stations.  This is an indirect type of exposure that often warned trainers to “not catch while driving” or to “stay behind the yellow line”.  This is just more exposure for Nintendo and Niantic, whether the law enforcement and subway stations like it or not.

Most recently, Nintendo and Niantic have released a new video announcing the addition of Generation 2 Pokémon to Pokémon GO.  This is clearly a well-timed strategy on their part.  Everyone has been inside all winter, and now Generation 2 is released right on cue.  This is probably the smartest move of the whole campaign.

Overall, I would say that the marketing campaign was effective, even though what they did was very minimal.  When you slap a big name like Nintendo on anything, it will probably have success.  By releasing this on a platform that almost everyone has access to, and knowing that their target demographic would be young adults who grew up with Pokémon, I’d say that their campaign was “super effective”.  So what do you say?  Do you have it in you to catch ém all?

Mitch Diamond