Player Engagement Through ESports, Virtual Reality and Crowdfunding

Yesterday, EEDAR‘s head of insights, Patrick Walker, discussed the rapidly growing and diverse nature of the gaming universe, which will be the focus of his session at GDC titled, “Understanding Engagement in the Rapidly Expanding Gaming Universe.”

[a]listdaily talks to Walker  about topics driving the video game market, such as eSports, the emergence of VR technology, how crowdfunding has helped extend player engagement, and of understanding the patterns that form a window into what consumers want.

PWalkerWhat do you think of Activision’s assertion that eSports can someday match or surpass revenues from traditional sports?

I think there is a roadmap for that, but it’s far away, and involves pieces falling into place, and it’s a far way off. Partly because you have to have buy-in from mainstream sponsorship at a higher level than it is currently at. When you think of the Super Bowl, the event is generating $5 million for a thirty second commercial.

This could happen with eSports, because you have a very lucrative target market that’s hard to reach through other sources, especially when it comes to live eyeballs. TV is seeing fewer live eyes with DVR, On Demand and online services.

As mainstream sponsors realize the power of this market and start to pump money into it, then we can see the value of that ecosystem start to rise. But traditional companies would need to wrap their head around a lot of  new things, like people watching others play games, understand the value of streaming services like Twitch, and come to terms with how a 17-year old kid can become an international superstar by professionally playing video games.

What about all these televised eSports shows?

TV is still an incredible network for advertising, and there’s a certain Halo effect that comes from TV that makes something legitimate. One of the really interesting trends over the past couple of years has been traditional companies that used to leverage television strongly, like Activision with its Call of Duty campaigns, have started to have a growing awareness of how valuable user acquisition campaigns can be through web advertising, social media, and YouTube. They’ve shifted a lot of money towards non-traditional media.

Then companies like Supercell, King, and Machine Zone — coming from the world of free-to-play, were all about user acquisition and performance marketing, which was entirely based on mobile or web — are starting to do brand marketing, because they realize that television is still an incredibly powerful tool. It establishes a brand and a certain level of validation as a part of mainstream culture.

So, television will be a big part of that mainstream growth, but I don’t think it’ll be a straight line where television companies will just add on more content. Television is experimenting with audiences in their own way to see how they react to eSports.

When eSports are shown on ESPN, are people buying it as a sport? When eSports becomes more mainstream, will it do so as a sport that’s covered on SportsCenter, or does it become a different thing entirely?

The one thing that you can’t deny is that there is a really important segment of the population that really likes eSports and has money to spend. And because of that, eSports is never going to become a fad. How big eSports gets, or what path it takes to going mainstream, might be up in the air, but it’s an absolutely viable business.

What potential do you see with emerging technologies like VR?

I think that it’ll take about five years [for mass adoption], and some of the best applications for virtual reality will be outside of gaming, and that will drive broad engagement.

Right now, we have three premium headsets coming out, and we have the Gear VR. What people like using the Gear VR to watch movies, but they also like showing off that initial sense of presence. You can also get it into the hands of a lot of people and you can take it to a party.

You can give people a sense of presence using Gear VR, and you can get it into the hands of a lot of people. I think there might be a limited market because it relies on a high end Samsung phone, instead of supporting Android or smartphones in general, but we’re going to see similar devices. Google is making its own [non Cardboard] headset, and you’d imagine that it work with all of Android, so you’ll see a broader penetration. Apple brought in people to work with VR on iPhone.

Then you look at the premium headsets that are coming out, and they’re creating great gaming experiences. The critical gaming community is going to be really excited by these experiences. I think early adopters are going to be really big fans, but there are barriers for getting broad mainstream penetration for these units — mostly around the price of the PC hardware and headsets.

PlayStation VR is well positioned because it has the PS4 install base [over 36 million worldwide]. But it also has challenges in that Sony has historically not supported its peripherals very well. So, you have a fan base that is wondering whether PlayStation VR will have better support than the Vita or Move. Sony also hasn’t shown all of its cards. A lot could change when more information about the experiences and price point are revealed.

I think that what both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have going for them is that companies with long term aspirations in VR are deep pockets are supporting them. Valve is supporting the Vive and Oculus has Facebook. Facebook in general has traditionally shown more of an interest in social connection that purely games, so its long-term goals for VR must be similar.

The good news is, even if adoption is slow, these are companies that are prepared for that and are playing the 5-year game.

How has crowdfunding and Early Access helped spread awareness of games and drive user engagement?

So, I talked about the diversity of people playing the expanding game universe, and all the ways people can play and engage, including playing but not playing. But I think another trend is that you can get involved with a game over a much longer period of time, which includes pre-launch, launch, and now with games as a service you can play for a very long time.  

Assuming that a product creates the perfect experience that you really want, developers can engage you with that product for an incredibly long period of time. With Kickstarter, you put money into something that you believe in, and there are a lot of genres where Kickstarter has been an amazing thing. Isometric RPGs like Baldur’s Gate had disappeared from the market, but Kickstarter was able to find these fans that appreciated this niche and helped revitalize the genre with games like Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity and Divinity: Original Sin.

With Early Access, you can access a game while it is in development and provide feedback. Then you move into where betas are becoming more common. Then, when the game launches, you can participate in the game continuously with microtransactions, online modes and competitive PvP.

There are some complications that arise, like games taking an extraordinarily long time to complete. With Kickstarter, you could end up with a game that doesn’t meet expectations, or reaches a funding goal but never gets made. But by and large, I think they have been a net positive for the gaming community to have more involvement.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when looking for long-term engagement with audiences?

I think the tricky thing is not getting caught in the trap of thinking, “These things are so great that I should do all of them.”

Instead, they should ask themselves, “For the type of game that I’m making, and what the consumers want, what should I be providing?”

Does Early Access make sense for my game? Should I do a Kickstarter, or should I look for external funding? Should I do an eSport for my game? Should I build on mobile, or does it make more sense for my game to be on Steam? All of these things are levers for creating and driving engagement, but they are also opportunities strategic decisions that can be done poorly — making your game unsuccessful.

Animated ‘Archer’ Stars Make Waves In SI’s Swimsuit Issue

This year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has had no trouble making waves on the social front, thanks to the return of UFC superstar Ronda Rousey, the introduction of plus-sized model Ashley Graham, and even a twist that puts consumers into the action via virtual reality.

However, thanks to a savvy promotion in conjunction with FX Networks, the annual issue is getting a little more… animated. The publication recently reported that three female stars of the hit show Archer have made their debut in the issue. Pics of each of the characters, including Lana Kane, Cheryl Tunt and Pam Poovey.

SI Pam SI Lana SI Cheryl

True to the smart-alecky nature of the show itself, each image of the Archer stars comes with a description, similar to that of pictures in the real issue. This includes the photographer (in this case, characters from the show, like Sterling Archer and Algernop Krieger), location and a small caption underneath.

This promotion is a win-win for both SI and FX Networks, as it enables even more promotion for the swimsuit issue, and brilliantly ties in with Archer‘s forthcoming seventh season of the series, which makes its premiere next month.

The show has become a pop culture hit since its debut back in 2010, featuring characters in a fictitious spy organization that attempt to stop criminal activities around the globe and falling into various comical situations along the way.

The girls’ move into print is just the latest promotion for the returning series, as it previously debuted a trailer lampooning the 80s action series Magnum P.I.

FX Networks isn’t the only advertiser taking advantage of the swimsuit format of the magazine. Snickers also ran a humorous ad that appears on the back cover, featuring a model that’s been poorly photoshopped, with the sub-message “Photo retouchers get confused when they’re hungry.”

SI Snickers

Could we see more potential ads like this in future issues? Perhaps. But for now, it’s all about Pam Poovey and company. Danger zone!

Facebook Introduces Team Devoted to Social Virtual Reality

Facebook hasn’t held back when it comes to showing its interest in the virtual reality. Following its purchase of Oculus VR back in 2014, the company has made strides by showcasing new video pieces, as well as providing more of a consumer push for the forthcoming device, which will finally launch this year.

This week, the company continued to show its confidence in the medium, as co-founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise appearance at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked Event during the Mobile World Congress, as seen in the image above, explaining how virtual reality will play such a huge part in the market.

“In the future, VR will enable even more types of connection – like the ability for friends who live in different parts of the world to spend time together and feel like they’re really there with each other,” the company stated, summing up Zuckerberg’s thoughts on the technology.

But the team intends to take VR one step further with a truly devoted social team to help push the technology. “We’ve created a Social VR team at Facebook focused entirely on exploring the future of social interaction in VR,” it confirmed. “This team will explore how people can connect and share using today’s VR technology, as well as long-term possibilities as VR evolves into an increasingly important computing platform.”

The team will work independently alongside Oculus VR to help bring new ideas to fruition, and “build the foundation for tomorrow’s social VR experiences on all platforms” as a result.

It’s unknown just what kind of push is expected just yet, but video will play a big part, considering that Facebook Video has come a long way in just a short amount of time.

Samsung VR will also benefit from this push, since Zuckerberg was at the event to help promote its forthcoming gear. “Gear VR is by far the best mobile VR experience. And that’s’ because it combines the best hardware, from Samsung, with the best software – from Facebook, with Oculus.”

It’s also worth noting that Samsung recently launched a neat new promotion to get more VR units in homes, by providing a free Gear VR device with every pre-order of its forthcoming Galaxy S7.

It’ll be interesting to see what results Facebook’s VR social team produces over the next few months, leading to the arrival of so many units on the market.

The VR Content Consumers Want Most

Over the coming months, consumers will be able to experience the full push of virtual reality on the market, whether it’s gear produced by Oculus (the Rift), HTC (the Vive) or Sony (PlayStation VR). Now the question is what people want the most when it comes to those experiences.

A new poll from Futuresource Consulting, as reported by eMarketer, provided an outlook when it comes to what sort of content consumers are looking for. Conducted back in October, the findings indicate that, while games remain a big factor in the VR world, the biggest thing that’s of interest are movies.

39 percent of those polled stated that they want to see what movies can do with virtual reality, although games followed very closely behind with 38 percent. Also making the list were TV/music videos, educational apps and sports-related experiences.


Virtual reality also holds great potential for marketers, considering the many age groups that will be partaking in its technology as new choices arrive. Another report conducted by Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research took a closer look at U.S. Internet users (by groups) that are interested in the tech.

Poll 2

The largest group turned out to be Gen Z (10-17), with 79 percent indicating they were interested in some form of VR. Millennials (18-34) followed close behind with 73 percent, followed by Gen X (35-50) with 70 percent and Baby boomers (51-69) with 64 percent.

Keep in mind that these poll numbers don’t quite cover the entire demographic of the consumer medium, as they were done with select groups late last year. But it does point an interesting picture for when the Oculus and HTC Vive arrive this spring, and what plans Sony may have in mind when it finally confirms what it’ll be doing with the PlayStation VR.

Now, it’s just a matter of seeing how the market adapts to price. The Oculus isn’t going for cheap, with pre-orders going for $599. Likewise, when the Vive launches in early April, it’ll sell for $799. That leaves Sony in an interesting position, as it could “budget price” the PlayStation VR to around $500, in an effort to sell more PlayStation 4 consoles.

We’ll see where the market leads in the months ahead…and if the consumers will follow.

EEDAR Explores the Rapidly Expanding Video Game Universe

With the explosion of the mobile market, eSports, and the emergence of new technologies like Virtual Reality, the term “gamer” doesn’t mean what it used to. The size and scope of gaming is growing and shifting in unexpected ways, and the market research company EEDAR is there to track its changes and spot patterns from come from the staggering amounts of data.

[a]listdaily talks to Patrick Walker, head of insights at EEDAR, who will be sharing some of his insights on the ever evolving video game universe at GDC this year in a session titled, “Understanding Engagement in the Rapidly Expanding Gaming Universe.” He discusses how the gaming landscape is rapidly growing and changing, and how marketers and developers might be able to best take advantage of a wildly diverse audience.

PWalkerTell us about your GDC talk

It’s looking to understand the map of the video game engagement universe.  One of the things I’ve been interested in the past four years is rapid expansion of all the ways people can engage in video games. There’s also all the different types of people playing video games. The big theme over the past 4 years has been the growth of both of those things. We’ve seen mobile rise up, and it brought in a whole new type of gamer. These are not people who were playing games several years ago.

We’ve seen an explosion, in terms of diversity, of who is playing games and who is a gamer. We’re also seeing an explosion in the types of ways you play games. Being a gamer isn’t just playing games anymore. You can view games on Twitch; watch professional tournaments live; fund games on Kickstarter; create content and earn money through services like Steam Workshop; create and share content on YouTube; be a gaming celebrity and share your thoughts on YouTube, or be a professional video game player and make money at tournaments.

You have all of these ways to play games that aren’t the traditional ways of playing games. So, I see a rapid expansion of players and business models. It used to be that you just bought a game and played. Then there was DLC, the rise free-to-play, and episodic content. There are so many ways to consume gaming content, both in terms of how you pay for it and how it is distributed (i.e. retail box, digitally, and through the cloud).

The first goal of my talk is to recognize this rapid expansion, but that’s just the first step. The next step is to try to find patterns that help you understand it and help you to make better business decisions. That’s one of the things that EEDAR is in a unique position to do. Our company does two things: we collect tons of data sources, and we do tons of categorization of video games, measuring its features, branding, sessions lengths, etc.

We can put all that data together to come up with patterns, like how a shorter session length will appeal to a mobile audience, and how free-to-play works especially well because of these short sessions. That’s very different from developing League of Legends for PC, where players are willing to sit down for 45 minutes and invest heavily in the gaming hardware. So, catering to that audience is completely different.

Where it gets really interesting is how that map of gaming can be used to think about the new experiences coming out, how broad they’ll be, and how successful they’ll be.

Is it possible to develop a game that has it all? 

I don’t think it’s possible to have it all, because of the gaming market. You could have when the gaming market was a very small slice of people that all wanted the same thing, but we’re not there anymore. We now have 150 million people in the United States (almost half of our population) who are gamers. Some are on mobile, some are console only, but they’re playing games of some kind. That’s a big and diverse audience that all want different things from their gaming experience.

Having it all is really tough. A mid-core mobile game like Clash of Clans might hit the most points. It’s accessible, competitive, gets some streaming, and has a deeply invested core community along with high product awareness.

What kinds of challenges do developers face?

The challenge for developers is, when thinking within the kind of experience they’re creating, what the gamers want. There are a couple things that developers wrestle with the most. One is bias from things you’ve already made, like making traditional strategy games on consoles, then applying that knowledge to making a mobile game. They don’t target what the consumer wants as much as they target what they know how to make, and they bring that to a platform where it’s not as well suited.

The other big trap is following other types of success, and eSports is a great example of this. People are seeing the success certain titles like League of Legends, DOTA 2, or Counter-strike: Global Offensive are having with eSports. It keeps games viable for a long time, and its players are super loyal, and our game has competitive PvP [Player Vs Player], so we should develop an eSports title.

But you don’t think about the needs of that community. It’s much more complex than just having PvP. It needs to be a great viewing experience for audiences. Then there are the needs of the competitive players, such as an infrastructure for tournament support, and a well-balanced game where their abilities really shine. Balancing that with the amateur PvP gameplay is a huge undertaking, and is going to be less successful.

I think some games are hugely successful because they meet the needs of their audience, and you see this a lot with companies that run one game, like Riot with League of Legends.

Return for the second part of the interview, where Patrick Walker discusses eSports trends, the potential of virtual reality, and more.

Image source

Disney Continues To Expand the Star Wars Universe

Following its purchase of the franchise for $4 billion, Disney has made the most out of Star Wars. Along with a lucrative campaign featuring well-marketed toys, campaigns and other promotions (along with video games like the best-selling Battlefront and Disney Infinity), the company banked on the release of the first new film in over a decade:  The Force Awakens.

It paid off big time, making $2 billion worldwide, and leading into what could be one of the year’s biggest home video sellers when it releases this April. This is merely the beginning for Disney’s plans with the franchise, as it indicated yesterday during its Disneyland 60 special, which aired on ABC. Along with paying tribute to a number of other franchises and iconic moments in Walt Disney’s history, the company took the opportunity to showcase what Star Wars-related expansions are coming to its theme parks.

The Force Awakens star Harrison Ford was on hand to present the footage, which provides a preview of many activities that users will be able to take part in when Star Wars Land opens in both Disneyland and Disney World Resorts. This includes an interactive gun battle aboard a First Order ship, being able to helm the controls of the iconic Millennium Falcon, and even stopping by a classic Star Wars cantina, where tourists will be able to engage with characters from the film along with aliens.

Other potential items include a marketplace, a museum devoted to events from the Star Wars films, and an intergalactic restaurant, among other items. These 14-acre expansions will obviously take some time to complete, as they aren’t likely to open for a few years.

In the meantime, Disney has plenty going on in the Star Wars pipeline in the meantime, including a new live-action series coming to Netflix, as well as other products, like the recently announced Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which releases this June. Then, of course, there’s the next Star Wars movie, Episode VIII, which is already in production for a holiday 2017 release. In the meantime, another movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, set to arrive this December.

Considering the money that’s generated from the series thus far, it’s safe to say that the force is strong for Star Wars Land.

Miu Miu Launches Its Own Music App

Miuccia Prada has had no trouble leaving her impact in the world of fashion, but now she’s taking the next step in bringing artistry to a new medium – digital music. Prada has revealed a new project under her Miu Miu product line that will bring a new application to mobile devices.

Called Miu Miusic, the app will feature 10 custom soundtracks with music inspired by runway presentations, pieced together by renowned DJ Frederic Sanchez. The songs included in the app promise to bring a layer of complexity missing from most music services, with tracks that include “ride the Snake” and “Analog Dream,” along with many others. In addition, they will feature a number of graphic patterns and accessories sold by Prada’s Miu Miu line, which can be intertwined with the music.

The Miu Miusic app also provides a unique social opportunity to users. Short films can be put together through the app, and then shared across a number of media-related apps, improving upon Miu Miu’s already established social network. While Miu Miusic isn’t likely to be a direct competitor to bigger music services like Apple Music, Google Play Music, or YouTube’s music channel, it does give a unique opportunity for fans of Miu Miu (and fashion in general) to interact while sharing exceptional visions and sounds, as only the likes of Sanchez can deliver. 

The app is expected to launch sometime today on the Apple App Store, Google Play and the Microsoft Store.

Could Ads Be Coming To Facebook Messenger?

Ads have played a big part in Facebook’s strategy over the past few years, as the company has been looking to accommodate advertisers in creative ways, without interrupting the social experience of its many users. That said, it could be working on a way to implement them into its messaging service.

TechCrunch reports, per a “leaked document,” that the company is hard at work on a new ad set-up that will launch in Messenger as soon as the second quarter of 2016. With it, businesses will be able to send along ads as messages to consumers who previously talked about that company through chat.

To prepare for this, Facebook has supposedly requested companies to get in touch with consumers with message threads, in the hopes to have ads ready to launch when the service goes live.

The company is also reportedly working on creating URL short links that will instantly open chat threads with a business, should consumers want to ask them questions about products or other inquiries.

Facebook has already responded to the leak by stating, “We don’t comment on rumor or speculation. That said, our aim with Messenger is to create a high quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world, and that includes ensuring people do not experience unwanted messages of any type.”

However, this indicates that the company could be taking a cautious approach with its ads, so that it doesn’t overflow the experience that users have gotten used to now – nor will it introduce any unsolicited content that they don’t want. The process will supposedly revolve around those that have voluntarily chatted with a business to get ads, and not just general audiences.

This is a change of pace from what Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said in the past about Facebook advertising, stating, “I don’t personally think ads are the right way to monetize messaging.” But keep in mind that the social media giant has been making leaps and bounds in promoting brands the right way over the past few months (including its expanding video service), and that finding a way to effectively do it with Messenger could be the next logical step.

We’ll see what happens in the months ahead, but Facebook is bound to find an effective way to make this work without bombarding users with too many ads.

How ‘Chivalry’ Grows With Partnerships, Not Rivalries

Torn Banner Studios lets players armor up and get medieval with games like Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. In it, players use swords, shields and longbows to siege castles, raid villages and fight each other for wealth and glory. Its popularity has grown, thanks to some key partnerships and cross-promotions with popular games like Payday 2 and Rocket League.

Alex Hayter, Torn Banner Studios Senior Brand Manager, will speak at this year’s GDC about creating and maintaining these cross-promotional partnerships in “Collaboration, Not Competition: Growing Your Community Through Studio Partnerships.” But first, he takes some time to talk to [a]listdaily about some of the past promotions, and the finer details of using medieval weaponry in the modern age.

alex hayterWhat have been some of the best cross-promotions?

Torn Banner has done various kinds of cross-promotions between Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and other games such as Killing Floor 2, Payday 2, Rocket League, Depth, Natural Selection 2 and more! They’ve all been great in their own ways. The Killing Floor 2 and Payday 2 cross-promos are perhaps the most exciting because of the amount of new in-game content that both of those involved.

With Killing Floor 2, we added several new weapons and helmets to Chivalry that were inspired by Killing Floor‘s horrific zombie world; and to their game they added an entirely new playable character called Tom Banner (the Chivalry Knight). Likewise with Payday 2, we added some awesome Payday-inspired grinning masks to Chivalry and their studio created a full-blown DLC pack called The Chivalry Gage Pack. So, those really resonated with our players and we had a great time making the content.

Everything’s relative to the amount of work put in. Even the smaller cross-promotional activity we’ve engaged in with our fellow studios has been great. We’ve done fan art crossover contests, social media shout outs and really simple in-game content updates – like the Agatha and Mason team flags from Chivalry being put into Rocket League in exchange for similar decorations going into our game. Sometimes the simple stuff is just as much fun.

What are some of the other methods you’ve explored to promote your games?

A lot of our marketing is geared around major patches and/or sales. Last year we tied Chivalry‘s Free Weekends on Steam to special events. “Community Fest” in May 2015 patched in a ton of community-made content (maps, weapons, armor) and some unique community perks. The “Peasants’ Revolt” in October 2015 allowed players to temporarily dress up as a peasant and gain access to a selection of peasant-themed weapons, including a pick axe and wooden sword.

The Chivalry Steam Community has been another valuable resource for promoting additional Chivalry content to existing players, while building a community of Torn Banner fans that will be (hopefully) interested in whatever future games we make. This past year we grew our Steam Community from 40,000 to almost 200,000 members using a variety of in-game rewards to incentivize people to join it.

Video content creator relations have also been critical for Chivalry’s success and really form the backbone of our outreach. Every time a new YouTube video goes up of someone playing Chivalry (over a certain viewer count) I get in touch with the creator to thank them personally and try to build a relationship. That might lead to key giveaways, new content for the videos, etc. More often than not, this leads to more videos of our games from that person and builds a connection with someone who’s genuinely interested in talking to us about our games.

Gage Chivalry Pack

In what ways have you seen awareness of Torn Banner games grow thanks to these partnerships?

Our cross-promos have had the huge benefit of our games being exposed to the entire audience of another game. In some cases, hundreds of thousands of currently active players. We’ve seen the direct results of strong sales during the launch period of these cross-promotions, as well as the long term benefit of players of games like Killing Floor 2 buying Chivalry so that they can access new content. Likewise, our partners reap the same rewards and our communities get fun new content to play around with.

Do cross-over partnerships work as well for console releases as they do on PC?

We haven’t brought any in-game cross-promo content updates to Chivalry on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4 because patching is separate to the Steam version of our game. However, when it comes to community the audiences have a lot of overlap thanks to social media and our forums – meaning that any of the smaller cross-promotions (community contests, etc.) we’ve done have helped generate excitement for those players on console too. I can see cross-promotions working well for any cross-platform titles because of this.


What is your approach toward finding a partner and finding a cross-promotion plan that fits?

I’ll be getting into the nitty gritty of this in the GDC talk. In a nutshell though… First we have a strategy for figuring out what partners to work with. This is based both on data (sales and player stats) and just generally looking at who we’d be excited to work with and would be a suitable fit for our game. Then we figure out what “weight” category of cross-promotion we’d like to pursue with them – into which we categorize types of cross-promotional activity (e.g. social media, contests, joint sales, in-game texture work, in-game 3D work, etc). Then we simply get in touch and try to go from there.

Have you found that developers are usually open to the idea of cross-promotion?

Definitely. In our case we have a successful game with a decent audience, so people we’ve reached out to have generally been interested. But I think developers of all sizes have much to offer one another in terms of getting their communities excited about each others’ games. A smaller, more “indie” title with a few thousand total sales might be attracting the exact audience that a game of a similar size and scope would love to appeal to grow their community.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when forming a promotional partnership?

Make sure you can commit to what you’re offering your partners!

This is where, I hope, the advice in this GDC talk will come in handy. It’s important to put a lot of thought into what sorts of new content your team is able to create. Sometimes the only viable option for a given cross-promotion is for only one person at your studio to work on a lot of stuff themselves.

For a smaller studio with a limited amount of people and resources, this has meant we’ve had to take a careful approach to not overloading ourselves with the opportunities presented by a potential relationship with another studio, so that we still can retain our time (and sanity) to work on our primary game development. Cross-promotions can be an incredibly valuable initiative to complement your game’s typical content updates, and a way to excite your community and use another studio’s game as a marketing platform, but it’s important to know the limits of what’s possible.