Recently, someone discussed the possibility of an internship with me. While an internship over holiday break and the spring semester was enticing, it would be in a very particular field: healthcare. The marketer I spoke with understood my trepidation about the opportunity. She knew that the field was not for everyone and wanted to make sure that I took an internship that was within an industry that I was extremely passionate about. One industry that really intrigues me and that I am quite passionate about is video games.
The video game industry has a very engaged consumer base. The industry brings in roughly $100 billion annually. In order to get consumers to purchase the products, the main techniques used by the marketing department of video game companies are less prominent in other industries. While one will see the occasional television commercial or YouTube ad, the primary sources of marketing behind video games are demos, streams and in-person events.
Video game companies originally began giving out demo discs through third-parties (e.g. Pizza gave away PlayStation discs with multiple demos). Over time, the demo disc developed into downloadable gameplay for previewing a title. Now, the streaming of game content has become more prominent for big name titles. Often, individuals or companies like IGN, known for video game reviews, and Rooster Teeth, a hotbed of user-generated content, will receive or get to play video games prior to release. Those organizations or individuals often live stream or release gameplay online. Game developers have even begun to release early versions of games (alphas and betas) to large numbers of consumers to increase excitement. Other times, a game developer may decide to invite individuals and companies to an event to see and/or play with others (e.g. Microsoft held HaloFest for the upcoming release of a game collection, a television show based on a video game and a future title). Marketing strategy in the video game industry continues to shift towards letting consumers receive hands-on experience and spreading word of the game.