Speaking at the Game Marketing Summit held in San Francisco, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Russel Arons said the goal for Batman: Arkham City was to make it a top-selling game, not just a top-selling superhero game. She made her point with humor, showing Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Photoshopped into The Joker’s body, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot as The Riddler, and EA CEO John Riccitiello as Catwoman.
“Batman’s greatest foes weren’t The Joker, The Riddler, or Catwoman,” said Arons. “They were Bobby Kotick, Yves Guillemot and John Riccitiello.”
In order to broaden the appeal of the game, they looked to capture the power of iconic black and white images, and the result were the promotional images with stark black/white contrasts with a smattering of red. The campaign hit 120 different magazine covers and 15 million targeted fans across a broad spectrum of social network pages hitting many different Warner Brothers properties. A viral campaign of videos created by different European units increased the impressions, with costumed actors appearing at press events and in the streets.
The three Batman: Arkham City gameplay trailers got over 6 million views, and their Facebook page had almost 850,000 fans. The exclusive DLC given to retailers enabled Warner to increase pre-orders by 200 percent over Batman: Arkham Asylum, resulting in over 6 million units sold worldwide.
As for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the game had to deal with the reality that it is a single-player fantasy RPG in an age when most of the biggest games have multiplayer. So in order to reach the mainstream audience, they concentrated on protagonist Dovahkiin’s heroic nature and the gritty, realistic tone underlying the story in an attempt to convey the game’s modern, cinematic take on fantasy.
For the marketers of Skyrim, they wanted the craftsmanship of the campaign to mirror the game, so even small details like the logo of the dragon took months of painstaking effort. The game also had a very restrained marketing campaign, with just three video assets released in the first eleven months of marketing.
It’s hard to argue with the results for the game: Skyrim sold ten million units in one month worldwide, and became the second top grossing title for 2011.