PR strategy will make or break a video game launch, so picking the right public relations partner is crucial. Do you need an agency? A consultant? A full-time person in-house? If you’ve never launched a game before (or even if you have), it can be daunting to figure out what you need and how much you’re going to have to spend to get it.

Clearly these types of marketing questions continue – infinitely – so we’re not going to try and answer them all at once. Instead, we’re going to post a series of tips and tricks to help developers and publishers understand PR best practices for the gaming industry. We’d love your feedback in the comments on what information would be most helpful, and we’ll try to answer as many of your questions as possible. For now, a few basics to get the ball rolling…

“I’m launching an iOS game – does the game’s pricing affect PR?”

Yes! While the free-to-play market is still a hot spot for installs, and f2p makes sense as a business model for many games, from a PR perspective, 99 cents is better than free. It’s hard to make your free game a priority when reviewers have so many download codes coming in from paid games. In our experience, that’s even true with big name branded titles, in most cases. Of course there are some exceptions that break through the noise, but if you’re an indie iOS developer releasing your first game (or in a similar situation), almost always our recommendation is to charge at least 99 cents, at least for the first few weeks. Rogue Counsel insists on reviewing our iOS clients’ games ahead of time to develop an informed strategy, so if your game IS one of the rare cases where price doesn’t matter, we will let you know. And we will be stoked to help you make lots of money with great PR.

“How long in advance should I contact PR agencies for my upcoming game launch campaign?”

ASAP. The longer the lead time, the better the campaign. This doesn’t mean you need to START the PR campaign a year in advance; not by any means. What it does mean is this:

  • You can get valuable marketing feedback earlier in the development process, which means input on your game from a totally new perspective.
  • You can vet multiple options and find the right PR agency, consultant or employee for your needs.
  • You can reserve time on said PR person/agency’s calendar for your campaign. Coming in late in the game means that you might get the PR partner you want, but be thrown on top of too many other clients to be a priority.
  • Your PR partner can make a better strategy, including events and opportunities that might fall slightly out of your launch timeframe that would be a valuable addition to the campaign. It also gives them a few months to continue thinking and brainstorming awesome ideas.

 

“Can’t I just do the PR myself? It’s just emailing reporters, really. Right?”

Okay, let’s be honest. This question is here out of aggravation. Let’s put it this way… We KNOW we can’t “just make the games ourselves” because that’s not what we’re qualified for or experienced in doing. With that being said, sure! You can do the PR yourself. Think of the money you’ll save! BUT, no, it’s not just emailing reporters. Rogue Counsel’s founders have years and years and years of experience in gaming PR. (We’re not old, just awesome.) We have personal contacts throughout the game journalism community, and know how to approach them. And, perhaps most importantly (actually no, all these points are important), we have launched so many games that we KNOW launch PR strategy, and marketing strategy in general, like the back of our PS4 controller. It’s not something you pick up after one launch, but after a while, the intricacies of the process are easy easier to navigate.

We know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to messaging and positioning, and we know what’s hot and what’s not among the industry today. We think developers and publishers should focus on making the best game possible – not worrying about PR. Then, give us that game, and we’ll make it worth your while (and our fee). That’s not just Rogue Counsel, it’s the PR community as a whole – well, the good ones at least. We’re in your corner, armed with words and dangerous with burritos.

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