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April 26, 2016

What Entreprenuers Can Learn From Blizzard, Steam and PSN

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Any entrepreneur that has any experience at all in the market knows that making it today requires more than a good idea, good product and good promotion. You definitely need good Web development, but part and parcel of that is doing a bit of strategizing to capture the imagination of the market, especially in the electronic game industry. There are thousands of games out there, from the simplest to the most complex, and keeping the public’s attention, and patronage, presents a continuous challenge.  You can make headway in the industry by checking out what the big boys are doing and what they have to offer. Here are some things from which you can benefit.

Blizzard Entertainment

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Who hasn’t heard of World of Warcraft or WoW? Ten years ago, you couldn’t go to a public Internet café or a teenage boy’s room without seeing it. Blizzard released WoW, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), in 2004, and it took the world by storm.  Subscriptions peaked in 2010 with 12 million people playing online. However, its popularity steadily declined after that, save for some short-term glitches after each new release.  What did the company do? It took subscription reports for WoW out from their first quarter earnings report in 2016.

What’s the logic in that?  Blizzard has other games in the pipeline such as Diablo and Starcraft (which debuted even earlier than WoW but which never achieved the heights of WoW), and more recently Overwatch, that have steady numbers.  However, the continuing decline of WoW subscriptions (a mere five million subscribers in the last quarter in 2015, compared to 10.2 million in 2014) was pulling the company’s statistics down.  By taking the WoW numbers out of the picture, Blizzard was able to claim an increase of 25 percent of its monthly active users over the same period in the previous year.

The strategy is a public relations game. Dropping WoW metrics from the quarterly reports was to highlight the continuing relevance of Blizzard’s offerings to the market. However, solid WoW fans can still expect Blizzard to field new releases for their benefit. In this case, swapping the old for the new made strategic sense.

How does this apply to entrepreneurs in general? Don’t be afraid to pull the plug on a non-performing asset. Even if you continue to offer it, dial it down so that you can focus on promoting products that are gaining in popularity.

Steam

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If you have never considered using Steam as part of your revenue generation, then you are missing a massive opportunity. Steam has pioneered a way for developers to monetize the accessibility and interchangeability of a game.

This digital distribution platform is useful for connecting and syncing multiple devices for online games, which provides you with the ability to offer subscribers the chance to trade cards within the Steam community, or even create their own. The value of these trading cards depends on what a company attaches to them. You could exchange them for game coupons, or game keys. The trading value is artificial, but as long as you control its distribution, you can maintain its value.

As an entrepreneur, you can use Steam to create revenue in this manner, or have your own trading system. Garena, for example, sells shells (for real money, of course) to players that want to “buy” accessories for their fictional characters. You can also trade and sell these accessories, and depending on its rarity, can actually increase in value. In shells, of course. It’s a sweet deal game entrepreneurs should use to increase revenue.

 Sony Playstation Network (PSN)

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Can you learn something from Sony? Well, its new campaign is focusing on social media, so pay attention. In its latest incursion into promoting its Playstation Network (PSN), Sony marketed its PS4 by appealing to the player’s emotional need for “greatness.” Tagged “Greatness Awaits,” it encouraged hardcore gamers to upload their best game play on their PS4 console to the dedicated social hub created for that reason.

While this is old news, it does highlight two important things you need for your own strategy: emotional appeal and the social media. You, too can achieve “greatness” by encouraging your players to share their experiences on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and featuring them on your site. Everyone likes to be appreciated; it strikes a chord in anyone’s heart, hardcore gamer or not.

Conclusion

Breaking into the electronic games industry is not going to be a walk in the part. However, if you take the trouble to study the industry, you can make it happen. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, either. Stand on the shoulder of giants and enjoy the view.


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Rogelio Pagayon Jr. is a content writer and a consultant specialist at HostingFacts by day, a loving husband and a father to his daughter by night. His main interest is managing a content, online marketing, basic tech stuffs, Playing in a band with his officemates, and being the best husband and dad to his wife and daughter. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter.

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