The gaming industry has come a long way in recent decades. With the rise in esports popularity, the birth of multiple new streaming platforms and the desire for community now more than ever, the gaming industry is booming, with a few top gaming companies leading the way.
With an anticipated projected revenue of $365 billion for 2023, much of the industry’s success is synonymous with tech breakthroughs, new business strategies and cleverly-crafted marketing campaigns for launches.
The rise in gaming marketing agencies is a major contributor to modern-day gaming companies being able to push the creative boundaries when it comes to launches and this blog will pay tribute to the noteworthy campaigns rolled out over the years.
Keep reading to discover the top gaming companies that have contributed to the immense success of the gaming industry thus far!
The top gaming companies dominating the scene
Riot Games – K/DA for League of Legends
To promote the League of Legends World Championship in 2018, Riot Games created K/DA, a virtual K-pop group consisting of four themed versions of League of Legends characters, Ahri, Akali, Evelynn and Kia’Sa.
Voiced by (G)I-dle members, Soyeon and Miyeon, Madison Beer and Jaira Burns, the group was unveiled at the world championships with an augmented reality live performance. Since the campaign’s launch, the performance video has amassed 58M views, and the Pop/Stars music video has reached 551M views. Both videos acted as great adverts for the game, while forming its own fandom, gaining Riot Games more leads than ever before.
To many, creating an entire K-pop group to promote something might seem far fetched. However, it is definitely worth looking into creating music videos to promote your latest game launch, at least. If the song is good/catchy, it will automatically gain traction and convert solid leads over time.
Bungie – Believe for Halo 3
Believe is considered to be Halo 3’s most successful ad campaign, featuring a string of video advertisements with the tagline ‘Believe’, beginning September 11th 2007.
The videos were estimated to cost around $10 million to create and were directed by Rupert Sanders, a legend in the video game advertising industry. A massive diorama spanning 1,200 square feet and 12 feet tall was used to film a single battle scene from the game, with handcrafted human and Covenant figures represented at one-twelfth scale. Halo 3 fans could pan the length of the diorama on the Believe website.
Over 10,000 retail stores across the US held midnight launch parties for Halo’s release, along with multiple others across the globe. Within the first 24 hours of its release, the game made $170 million in US sales alone, generating the most amount of money than any other American entertainment property up to that point. By 2008, Halo had sold 8.1 million units worldwide and, to date, has sold in excess of 14.5 million copies.
If you are to take anything from the success of Halo’s Believe campaign, it should be to spend more time on your ad ideas and try to connect them with fundamental human emotions.
Sega – Sega does what Nintendon’t
To promote the Mega Drive in the early 1990s, Sega sought to battle Nintendo’s market leader position, attaching the slogan “Sega (or Genesis in North America) does what Nintendon’t” to a video ad that highlighted the features of its new gaming console. Take a look:
At the time, Sega knew that all school children and teenagers wanted to be part of the Genesis group, and used emotional, logical and ethical appeal to connect to this. As a result, Sega’s sales amounted to double of its competitor, Nintendo, for four holiday seasons after the ad was released.
We understand that assigning celebrities to feature in your campaign ads is a little excessive, particularly for small companies, however, regardless of size, all companies can adopt the key aspect of Sega’s ad – highlighting your product features.
Ubisoft – My Life as an NPC for Assassin’s Creed
Ubisoft’s My Life as an NPC campaign is proof that humour is often a great way to drive results. In this social campaign, dozens of NPCs took over Ubisoft’s Facebook and Instagram accounts to share what their life looks like in the game. Here’s an example of the sort of things they produced:
Even if your games don’t have the virality that Assassin’s Creed does, you can still use this quirky, funny and offbeat approach to promote them on social media. Instagram Reels, short videos, social media takeovers etc are all a great way to popularise your game and make it relatable to new and old players alike.
Tips for creating gaming ads
Connect with users through a story
You may have noticed that most of the examples we have shared employ some kind of storytelling in one way or another. The reason for this? Players like to choose games that run a different story from their own. It allows them to escape to another world to de-stress, be entertained or join a new community of like minded players.
Gaming marketers like to pair their compelling stories with impactful visuals. Check out Playstation’s Double Life advert:
Know your players’ motivations
As a gaming marketer, you should know exactly why people are choosing to play your game.
For example, if you are promoting a cosy game with stand-out design elements and encourages problem solving, you are most likely looking for casual gamers with interests in design and decor. Taking it one step further, you’ll soon realise that the main motivations for puzzle gamers are thinking, relaxing, passing time and exercising cognitive skills. You should be targeting people with these interests.
The best place to market games is within already existing ones. A lot of mobile games nowadays give players the option to watch an ad for more advantages in that game. This is a great way to be seen by more relevant players, increasing your likelihood of more downloads.
In-game ads are also great for brand awareness. While the largest franchises of games might not be available to smaller businesses, you can target various free-to-play titles instead.
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