Involving Content Creators Early in Game DevelopmentIn this blog post, we explore the benefits of involving content creators prior to the launch of your game, and share the lessons we've learned to ensure compelling and successful marketing campaigns.
Gaming influencer marketing is an efficient strategy for game developers and publishers to promote their games to a wider audience. The success of these marketing campaigns can often depend on how early in the development cycle content creators are involved. Game publishers can tap into content creator creativity and expertise to shape content that resonates with their communities.
In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of involving content creators in the pre-launch phase of your game, and share the lessons we’ve learned to ensure compelling and successful marketing campaigns.
We see it’s most common for game publishers to focus their budgets and engagement with content creators during the launch of the game, but including creators early can be a massive advantage. We recommend brands make it a priority to strengthen bonds between content creators and your development teams by collecting feedback as early as possible in the development cycle.
At Wehype, we support a method called offline testing. Offline testing through gaming influencer marketing includes having content creators play your game offline, privately. They make a mock video or mock stream of them playing the game, and provide useful feedback from a content creation perspective; what’s great about the game that they can create content around, and what would need to be improved so that they would continue to create content for their communities.
This can help you identify different areas, either big picture problems or very specific opportunities, that can be improved early in the game development process. An example could be to add Streamer Mode to your game. That allows the creators to disable for example personal information, notifications and sounds. Small changes can lead to massive improvements for the streaming and viewing experience. As a side effect of these initiatives, creators can act as ambassadors and help you establish a community and relationships from the start.
When your game is ready to be announced to the wider public — our recommendation is to also include key content creators by keeping them informed and part of the information flow for any information or gameplay previews. This can easily create hype, by allowing influential franchise fans to create reactionary content through either videos or livestreams. This can help rally your player base and creator communities around the newest info from the games they’re passionate about.
This phase is especially important because it builds excitement leading up to the immediate launch of your game. It can also significantly expand the organic reach and engagement on what could be your initial introduction to new audiences.
At Wehype, we offer an ad format that guides developers and publishers through this phase; Watch Party. This format has the power to amplify your game’s announcement through content creators watching the sponsored event live on their own stream, to secure an audience using creators that tune in at the right time: This can serve as an additional boost to maximize reach and awareness for your announcement.
The campaign we launched with Techland for their game Dying Light 2: Stay Human is a good example of creating hype behind an announcement event.
The first gameplay phase of your influencer campaign can build anticipation leading up to the full launch of your title. In this phase, you can tackle key points like stress testing, building communities in-game, and populating servers. Most importantly, content creators can showcase the content of your game at a point when pre-orders and wish-lists are still critical to the early success of your title.
The beta launch allows you to refine and improve parts of your game for content creation, and encourages influencers to create content that resonates with their audiences. Activating creators and giving them a seat at the table for important decisions before the full launch can have a lasting positive impact. Some of these creators could easily become long-term “ambassadors” to your brand, thanks to the relationship formed during earlier stages of your campaign, leading to organic content creation.
The pre-launch phases will help determine whether you can truly provide content creators participating in sponsored campaigns with a seamless, frictionless experience. The full launch is all about scaling and using the data and insights you’ve collected, and by leveraging the creator’s point of view you get valuable insight into how creators and viewers will experience the game on stream.
We recommend including gaming content creators early in your development journey. It can be a game-changer.