Natural Motion CEO Torsten Reil spoke during Game Horizon in Newcastle about how traditional marketing and PR is ineffective for mobile titles. He said there was no material impact on how many copies of his company’s game were downloaded because of traditional marketing.
“We learned the hard way that we really needed to rethink marketing. I don’t think it works at all,” said Reil. “It has no impact that you can see for a big game when you run a dedicated, very well executed PR campaign, it does nothing, absolutely nothing. The download numbers that you’re dealing with overall are so huge that any PR downloads that you create are just noise.”
“The only thing you could argue is that maybe it gets you just over the hump to get a viral thing going. Whenever we’ve done PR and then not done PR there is no difference,” added Reil. “It doesn’t mean PR isn’t useful in general, for the company, for recruitment, it should definitely have a role but I’m seeing more and more PR agencies for iPhone games realizing that they don’t actually move the needle anymore in terms of overall game downloads.”
Reil said the focus should be on getting users to click and download games and make them eye catching. He cited My Horse, which has been downloaded over 11 million times.
“There are better ways of marketing a game and creating downloads. Some of these are how you use the App Store. We’ve found the name of the game is incredibly important in terms of discoverability,” he said. “The icon is your packaging. You can essentially double the number of downloads by getting these things right.”
Reil noted that viral marketing is still important for iOS games and noted that AAA production values can be a benefit. “You can go viral in the old fashioned way on these devices,” said Reil. “People will go out to a pub and show your game to their friends if they really like it. Very often it’s because of production values and overall graphics. This is where we have a huge opportunity. We always want to wow people. Whether the traditional gamer or the mass market gamer they want to show off what they have on their phone.”