The video games industry is relatively young, but it is already the biggest entertainment industry in the world. The global video game revenue for 2020 was $179.7 billion and has a projected yearly growth of 10.5% until 2026. So, with such a prospect, it may seem as a really attractive industry. However, there is an underlying truth of this market. You could develop the best possible video game, but if you do not market it properly it is doomed to fail. Video games need to be played to generate revenue. We are in an industry with over 2M companies that try to develop games. So the question is: how could we properly market games in such a competitive landscape? A potential source is to  leverage the power of digital marketing.

Digital marketing in the video game industry is increasingly becoming a necessary condition rather than a driver of success. However, a smart usage of the digital media tools still has the power of providing a competitive edge to your marketing strategy. In this article, we want to go over two of the most rising digital marketing strategies that are providing a competitive edge to video games publishers.

Paid-campaigns with influencers.

The power of influencers in the video games industry is astonishingly strong. They build strong communities and gain loyal audiences thanks to their gameplays and streamings. The promotion they can make to different video games may seem unpredictable. For example, in late summer 2020, they boomed the popularity of “Among Us”. The video game was launched in late 2018 and most of the time had MAUs of below 200 people. Out of nowhere, the game went viral thanks to the influencers starting to play the game. After this boom, “Among Us” has an estimated 500 million MAUs and over $35M in monthly revenue. Is then the power of influencers out of our reach? No, it is not.

Paid-campaigns with influencers have been reaching extreme momentum in the last years. The estimated ROI of these campaigns is $6.5 in revenue per dollar invested. So, how can we make it work? We can look at one of the latest greatest examples: the video game “Apex Legends”. The game, without any previous promotion, launched on February 4, 2019. Such a strategy may seem risky given the long and costly development cycles of video games. However, Electronic Arts, the game’s publisher, had a really clever strategy in mind. They announced and released the game within a day, but gathered an “army” of streamers and paid them to play the game during its launch day.

Electronic Arts paid digital campaign with influencers was a massive hit in the video games industry

The number of influencers paid generated such traction, that by the end of the first day, the game had already 2.5M downloads. Also, it achieved to surpass the engagement and social media traction from its main competitor, “Fortnite”, for almost a month. By February 4, 2019, “Fortite” had over 200M players. Getting over such a competitor during your launch window is something that every publisher would like to achieve.

Thanks to this digital campaign, the game achieved 25M unique players in its launch week. Also, it achieved over $92M in revenue during its first month. After the initial success, Electronic Arts has continued to actively market the game with additional different video and influencer campaigns. The game is projected to achieve over $1 Billion in revenue by the end of this fiscal year. Thus, never underestimate the power of a properly targeted digital marketing campaign.

Co-branding digital campaigns

Gamers are really passionate consumers. They live and breathe the brands and companies they love, sharing it with their friends and all over the world thanks to social media . By using co-branding campaigns, you have the potential to use each other’s fans to get to know your products and have a much stronger positive reaction to attract consumers to your video games. 

For example, since late 2020, Microsoft and Disney have joined forces to cross-market their products in co-branding video advertising campaigns. In this partnership, Disney markets its Disney+ Streaming service, while Microsoft markets its subscription-based gaming service. By joining recognised Disney brands such as Star Wars and Marvel, with recognised Microsoft brands such as Halo or Forza, the two companies have achieved incredibly high levels of consumer engagement by launching two campaigns focused on “The Mandalorian” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” series.

Digital marketing co-branding campaign of Microsoft and Disney

However, we can also find additional successful campaigns. In 2018, Marvel (Disney) and Sony Corporation joined forces to develop and market the video game “Marvel’s Spider-man”. By the date of writing it has sold over 20M copies. It is the most successful video game in the PlayStation 4 gaming device. Also, we find the partnership of Kojima Productions and Monster Beverage in the video game “Death Stranding. The video game has achieved over 5M sales, and the estimated impact of the co-branding campaign reported Monster Beverage Corporation an increase in its share price of almost 8%. The common factor among all those campaigns is that a well-built co-branding video advertising campaign has the potential to report huge benefits to both brands.