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June 16, 2016

Top 15 Critical Misses of Game Marketing: And What Your Business Can Learn From Them

There are so many people around the world who love to play video games, and it’s for a good reason. The types of games are virtually endless, so there’s really something for everyone to like.

One aspect which is lacking when it comes to video gaming is the marketing and, up until now, the marketing and sales strategies of these top video game companies is probably the worst aspect about them. Here we have the top 15 critical misses and mistakes of game marketing; read on to learn what they are so your business, no matter what your niche, can avoid them.

No Market Awareness

A large problem with video game companies is they don’t understand the market or their target audience — often they do not even knowing who the target is.

Game makers don’t seem to listen to the demands and likes of fans, which ends up costing them dearly. If fans want something in a game, then put it in there.

Get On YouTube

Game makers have still failed to grasp the importance of YouTube and titling of the videos.

Makers have failed to create interesting and easily discoverable content for video sharing sites like YouTube and it continues to be a missed opportunity.

After The Click?

After clicking on an online ad, most game companies send you to some generic home page that may be vaguely related to the ad when they actually need to make a real landing site or microsite directly tied to the ad.

No Creative Testing

Game companies often fail to make multiple versions of the same ad and actually test the response of the public. Some ads work better than others but game companies don’t seem to find that very important.

Bad Press Kits

A large problem that many products face is a lack of good media exposure. Many game companies just don’t take the time to put together press kits and media content to inform the public.

The results are usually that no one knows a new game even exists, at least not before a lot of money has been lost.

No Benchmarking

Video game companies fail to benchmark and compare with other brands time and time again.

If you want people to buy your product you need to tell consumers why it’s better than other specific products; don’t be afraid to mention names!

Gender-Specific Marketing

One of the biggest problems with game marketing is that the companies only market to males. Video games seem to be very gender specific and if companies want to make more money, they need to find a way to include both genders.

Release Dates

Perhaps the thing that makes people the angriest is when games are set to be released on a certain date, but then don’t get released for months or even years after that scheduled date.

This makes people lose interest and move on to something else.

Top 7 Company Fails

1. The Sony PS3

The PlayStation is a fantastic product no doubt and it can do a whole lot, but where the makers of this great video game system went wrong was with the advertised priced.

The sales and marketing team decided to sell this product for more than $600 when it was launched. Due to the insane price of the PS3 upon release, it didn’t sell nearly as much as it could have.

2. Atari’s Jaguar Lie

Atari decided to release its own console called the Jaguar, and it was said to be much better than the 16-bit alternatives. The only problem was that it was a complete lie.

Gamers noticed no difference between any of the systems in terms of graphics and in the end it came out that the Atari was no better than a 16-bit system, and in all likelihood was only 16-bit.

3. The Capcom DLC Debacle

DLC stands for downloadable content, and it’s something extra that a gamer usually pays for after already finishing the game.

The problem was that Capcom released versions of their Street Fighter game with DLC that was already on the disc. This meant that people who already bought the game disc had to pay extra money just to access the full game.

4. The Nintendo 3DS

When the 3DS first came out it was a big failure because it wasn’t released with the new Mario game. All previous Nintendo handheld devices were releases with a Mario title, but not this one.

People had been expecting it to be marketed and sold with a great new Mario game. Once customers realized it didn’t come with Mario, they didn’t bother with the 3DS.

5. The Call to Action

Most video game companies simply don’t have a good call to action, and don’t work hard enough to get people to view their ads online.

Ads need to be big, bright, loud, and get the consumers attention every time, something that most game makers fail to do.

6. Microsoft and DRM

DRM stands for digital rights management and in short it was a way for Microsoft to get more money from people.

Each game was tied to one specific console and could not be used on others. This made people angry because many were not aware of this at first due to Microsoft’s lack of information about it.

7. Sega Saturn

The long and short here is that the Sega Saturn was released months before the expected release date and it was quite expensive.

This lead to no one buying it because most people didn’t even know it was on the market, causing Sega to suffer huge losses.

For all of the fun and entertainment that video games provide, the people who make sure have pulled some shady tricks. Whether they are marketing mistakes, the result of laziness, or just another way for the big game companies to try and sucker some more money out of people, there have certainly been some very big marketing errors made by the big video game companies.


Michael Pendleton is a marketing expert and contributor for well-known websites devoted to the marketing and business niche. He graduated from the New York National University and has eight years of experience in marketing managing. Now he is an owner of the website with free games: