Traditional game PR is dead. Dead long ago. Buried. And his alcohol-poisoned liver is being eaten by worms. ”This is how Cat Channon, a game journalist who worked for Take-Two, Warner Bros., reflects on old PR methods. Interactive Entertainment, Blizzard and Vivendi, and helped launch and promote World of Warcraft.
Kat calls traditional PR a close relationship between PR specialists and game journalists, which causes discomfort. When everything in the world can be solved with money, you can always embed a message for the audience in magazine articles, and marketers can put pressure on the press using budget funds. According to the old rules, any project must appear on a printed cover, information leakage is perceived not as an opportunity to gather information about the audience and measure user interest, but as an excuse to start looking for the culprit and where an exclusive article on IGN is the best answer to communication problems.
Other media space
The decline of traditional PR methods is due to the fact that traditional media are also not in the best position. Today the Internet is dominated by a system when the success and profitability of a publication depends on its position in the search results. When an editor of a publication decides to write a story about Fortnite, he makes not a journalistic decision, but a financial one, since he hopes that such an article is more likely to be clicked. And working differently, when Metacritic has elevated the importance of numbers over words, is impossible.
Today, a huge number of channels have appeared that can influence the opinion of the buyer, but also the buyer himself has many channels to express his own opinion. Now, the consumer's voice is heard louder than ever. The audience sets the media agenda, and not vice versa, and can influence the gaming industry, as it did with loot boxes [recall that due to the massive outrage over loot boxes, the government of some countries, for example, Belgium, recognized them as gambling].
PR is dead, long live communications
So what to do? Channon believes that publishers need to perceive whatever they do as a PR opportunity. Starting from the work of technical support, ending with ethics within the company. In the new era, any action by a publisher can affect the success or failure of a project: hiring a new employee, registering an IP, selling a company, concluding a new deal, etc.
“This is a communication mix that needs to be captured by the public for your purposes, while remaining flexible,” says Kat Channon.
As a positive example of her theory, she recalls how World of Warcraft was launched in 2004. Blizzard's success was in treating its audience with the same respect as traditional media. Then the value of this company was determined by its purely player-oriented approaches. This is why they were able to introduce real auctions in Diablo 3 and then remove them without long-term community hatred of their brand.
Another great example from Channon is Gunpoint, made by former game journalist Tom Francis. He used his social media to promote and consistently posted “authentic gaming content,” which led to good sales.
The next example is Goat Simulator. The authors ran an advertising campaign, spreading funny videos from the game that went viral, and also were active in social media. And given what the goat simulator really was, it is unlikely that it could achieve the attention it received if developers only used traditional media.
On our own, we recall Apex Legends, which rode on the fact that EA interacted with the audience through streamers and influencers.
But there are also negative examples. Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends have completely abandoned interaction with traditional media. This led to the company closing in on itself. She started having communication problems at all levels, both with the audience and in internal relations in the studio.
Communication with the press is still important
While communication plays an important role in promoting the game, the impact of traditional media still has a huge impact on consumers.
“It's pretty silly to think that absolutely all games can afford not to work with traditional media. If developers and publishers believe that they can only work with the same press when they need it, then let them do it at their own risk, ”says Channon.
The PR specialist sums up her thoughts by the fact that today developers should think first of all about what their game needs, and not try to cover everything at once. First of all, you should work with your audience, as well as with influencers and opinion leaders, and organize support for them. And also be ready to abandon your plans if necessary. After all, the main goal of communication is to sell your game, and not wait for someone to cover it in the press.
The Topic of Article: Traditional game PR is dead - how did it happen?.