CGA: Marketing ABC Part 2

February 7th, 2007 by Arjan Olsder Posted in Events & Conferences | No Comments »

The second part of the marketing ABC was led by Dennis Ryan, EVP Business Development at Popcap games. In this part, Dennis mostly talked about building a brand from original IP.

The four building blocks of “branding” are content, distribution, platforms and compliance of casual games.

According to Dennis, branding is not the differentiation. A great game however is prerequisite and driver for this. Freely translated, if the game is crap, you will never get any fame for it.

In regards to distribution, awareness is really important. Just like in the mobile games industry, good placement on tier one locations is of top priority. However, in the world of casual gaming, this means also a lot more brand awareness. As people scorch though different webshops, they will see the same title over and over, making it easier to make a purchasing decision.

Platform proliferation within casual gaming is as important as in mobile games. Having the Popcap titles available on all possible platforms, increases brand awareness. Who didn’t enjoy for example a game of Bejeweled on a large intercontinental flight on the TV screen in the seat ahead? This might not be a platform that brings in the money, but it pays itself back by increasing the brand awareness as well.

Another important thing in casual gaming is keeping track of your brand. It is not only important to get it out there, but also to make sure it is not used to promote the wrong thing. A good way of doing this, is logging into Google Adwords and check in how many combinations your brand is searched for and how many other companies have a bid on them. When looking at the actual Google page with the search term, you can see who is (ab)using your brand and contact the websites about it. Popcap is very strict in who can and can’t use its many brands.

To build your brand, marketing is important. You need to make sure you have all marketing assets you can be asked for ready. From general artwork to actual copy writing, you need to do anything to guarantee a quick launch. One of the biggest dangers here (and a little bit less for mobile perhaps) is exclusivities. Popcap will aim never to give any real exclusivity on any game. They might do it, but then it will be limited to one or two weeks in a particular market.

One of the problems facing both the casual games and the mobile games market is fragmentation of content listing. What is the difference between Action and Arcade games? Is it a marble popping or a bubble shooting game? Dennis believes there should be themed categories. A good example would be a first timer category with games that every consumer understands.

Currently, Popcap serves their games also on mobile platforms. They made deals with AstraWare for smartphone platforms and EA Mobile for regular mobile games. Popcap is impressed how much revenue mobile companies generate on low consumer prices.

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    Arjan Olsder is the Vice President of Pixalon Studios. Opinions expressed on this publication do not have to represent those of Pixalon Studios.


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