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4 Ways to Master Presale Hype in the Games Industry

4 Ways to Master Presale Hype in the Games Industry

Javon Frazier is the Founder and CEO of Maestro Media.

The gaming industry embodies continuous evolution, offering boundless opportunities to those who venture into it. Its capacity to bridge various forms of media and foster unique partnerships is unparalleled, allowing for creative and innovative collaborations that push the boundaries of traditional gaming experiences. This dynamic environment demands strategies that can generate and sustain hype, especially when introducing new products to a market as competitive and vibrant as that of gaming. The launch of a new game, particularly one that steps away from digital platforms and into the tactile world of tabletop gaming, requires a meticulous approach to creating and maintaining consumer interest pre-launch.

We recently saw massive results with a campaign we did with streamer and influencer DrLupo, launching the tabletop experience “Streamer Standoff”. Below, I outline the four key strategies that were instrumental in achieving campaign success, highlighting our actions and drawing insights from successful practices and marketing methodologies within the gaming industry.

1. Leveraging the Power of Partnerships

A foundational strategy in building anticipation for a game’s release is establishing partnerships that can amplify its reach and relevance. Collaborating with YouTube, influencers, gaming communities, and other brands within and outside the gaming industry can provide a multifaceted platform for promotion. For instance, aligning with a well-known figure in the gaming or content creation world, like DrLupo, can directly connect a new game to an established and engaged audience. This partnership should extend beyond just endorsement, weaving the collaborator’s identity into the game’s marketing narrative to foster a genuine connection with potential customers.

2. Implementing a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

Crafting a multi-channel marketing strategy is critical to capturing the attention of a diverse audience. This approach should integrate both digital and traditional marketing channels to create a campaign that resonates across different demographics. Key elements include engaging content on social media platforms, targeted online advertising, email marketing campaigns designed to build anticipation, and interactive experiences that can engage the audience. Utilizing data analytics to understand and target potential customer demographics effectively can enhance the reach and impact of promotional efforts, ensuring that the message of the new game permeates the noise of the digital world. As we crossed over from digital gaming into tangible tabletop gaming, this comprehensive marketing strategy ensured that we brought DrLupo’s audience with us and merged them with our existing fanbase.

3. Employing a Phased Approach

A phased marketing approach helps maintain momentum and interest in the lead-up to a game’s release. Starting with teaser content that sparks curiosity, followed by a gradual release of more detailed information about the game, can effectively build anticipation. Each phase should aim to engage the audience further, whether through exclusive previews, behind-the-scenes looks at game development, or interactive online events. Timing these phases to coincide with major gaming events or conventions can also leverage existing gaming community engagement to boost visibility and hype. In our case, the initial phase centered around DrLupo announcing the game on a YouTube panel at VidCon. It then transitioned into a focused launch on DrLupo's channel, where he engaged with his digital community by streaming himself playing “Streamer Standoff.” Exclusive shopping events and pre-sale opportunities were available for attendees. The retail launch will expand the game's availability, ensuring a global footprint.

4. Fostering Community Engagement

Cultivating a dedicated community around a game pre-launch can be a game-changer. Strategies for community engagement include creating forums or social media groups where fans can discuss the game, share content, and participate in exclusive events. Involving the community in the game’s development process through beta testing or feedback sessions can also create a sense of ownership and investment among potential players. Organizing contests, giveaways, or live Q&A sessions with the development team can further enhance engagement and build a loyal following even before the game hits the shelves. We had playtesting sessions at VidCon, GCX, and beyond, which provided hands-on experiences, boosting investment by drawing players deeper into the game's world. 

Successfully launching a new game in today’s competitive market requires a strategic blend of innovation, collaboration, and engagement. By leveraging partnerships, employing a comprehensive and phased marketing strategy, and fostering a vibrant community, game developers and publishers can create a buzz that not only peaks at launch but sustains interest well into the future. This holistic approach to presale hype not only maximizes the initial impact of a game’s release but also establishes a foundation for sustained success in the gaming industry.

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