The intersection of first-person shooters and multiplayer online competition has yielded a vast audience of players, and there’s no shortage of games that attack that genre. Jagex’s new entry, Block N Load, adds in the creation element from Minecraft to produce an unique twist on the genre. Block N Load launches on Steam today, with a Steam Free Weekend coming up. Players with a Steam account can immediately jump into the constructing, attacking, defending and destroying action in this online 5v5 shooter that is an explosive mix of build and battle gameplay. Block N Load is available to purchase from the Steam store, with a 15 percent discount off its $14.99 price for the launch week.
Jagex chief marketing officer David Solari spoke with [a]listdaily about the game and how YouTube and Twitch have been the key drivers for the game’s marketing efforts.
Tell us about what makes Block N Load so different?
We’ve tried to do something different with Block N Load. We wanted to make a game where building is as important as bullets, smarts are as important as skills, and players could contribute to their team in their way. We can’t wait to see the creativity and invention of those that play Block N Load now that it’s live. Today’s launch is only the beginning. We have a player-first mentality, and look forward to an exciting journey with the players as the game evolves.
What’s your plan for getting Block N Load discovered by players?
First off, the most important thing to us is the player. I absolutely believe that if you make a great game and have great sentiment, then money and success are a side effect. Those are not easy things to have, and you have to work hard to try and get them, but if you tick those boxes first then every decision you make has got to be about how do we make the game better, and make sure customers are positive and happy. All the way through the development we’ve done a lot of focus group testing, we’ve brought a lot of YouTuber guys in. It’s been really important for us to understand what players of these games feel about this game, are we going in the right direction, and creating what they would like. That’s why we’ve had a pretty decent length of beta as well.
How has your marketing mix evolved?
When we initially announced it, we did quite a broad market mix. We did some YouTuber support, we had guys who we’ve been working with who support us and they’ve been totally awesome. We did a thing with Yogscast as well.
We did a bunch of traditional display advertising, we did some digital programmatic advertising, but all of this for me was just testing. We were dipping our toe into pretty much every single marketing channel because I wanted to see what really worked. We did a survey recently with 3500 people and asked them the question: ‘How did you get into the beta ‘ We saw from that that 36 percent of the people came to the beta via YouTube and Twitch, which was great to see. We saw that 25 percent of people came to us via Steam. About 18 percent came from friends telling them about it and getting them involved. Things like PR was 11 percent, and advertising and everything else made up all the rest, so those are relatively small parts of it. For us the most important things are YouTube and Twitch, followed by Steam support followed by friend’s recommendations.
We will do bits and pieces of other advertising, digital marketing and all that kind of stuff post-launch. But we’re really focused on YouTube, Twitch, and Steam.
Were there any particular parts of YouTube and Twitch that stood out?
Absolutely. We probably got 30 percent of our views with our Yogscast partnership from guys that supported us as friends, which was great. Another 40 percent came as the result of the buzz around the launch and all the rest of it, and people making videos themselves, which was absolutely huge. The numbers were very good. I hoped and suspected that YouTube would be really important for us, and it turns out it was. We’re basically 10xing what we did before in terms of YouTube and Twitch, so we’re excited by all the things we’ve got lined up for that.
What can you tell me about working with Steam?
The game’s going to launch with a Free Weekend, which is super exciting. As far as we’re aware, they’ve never launched another game with a Free Weekend. We’ve been talking to them for a while about this game, and they’re really into it. If the Free Weekend goes well, then obviously if we’ve got a good chart position then they’ll continue to support us, and that’s absolutely huge.
Most games, if you don’t get a good start, they just fall of the radar and die. So we’re putting a huge amount of effort into shouting about our launch. Which is even more pressure on making sure the game is tight and clean and there isn’t a problem when you do launch.