2023 is an excellent time for developers and entrepreneurs to start their own gaming company.
That’s because the gaming industry continues to grow at an impressive rate, with Netflix investing more in mobile games, the metaverse slowly reaching mainstream audiences, and esports competitions getting larger.
Experts predict the industry’s global revenue to reach $300 billion in the next five years.
A huge portion of gaming’s popularity can be attributed to how notable companies marketed their products. PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, Ubisoft, EA, FromSoftware, and Riot Games are just some of the household names in the gaming sphere.
If you plan to market your game, learn the best branding tactics from gaming giants. Take a look at specific companies that used the power of branding to propel the entire industry forward.
1. Naughty Dog’s Brand of Emotional Storytelling Reaches Mainstream Audiences
Although Naughty Dog started with kid-friendly IPs like Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, the developer has since evolved to create the most recognizable franchises in the gaming industry.
Uncharted and The Last of Us both feature compelling stories and cinematic gameplay. So it’s no surprise they have also been adapted to movie and TV screens.
The overwhelmingly positive reception of HBO’s The Last of Use proves two things: that video games can tell engaging, human stories, and that video games can successfully be adapted to other mediums.
2. Fortnite’s Collaborations Attract More Players
Fortnite today is more than just a battle royale game. It has become an avenue for brands and artists to connect with fans.
The success of Travis Scott’s, Ariana Grande’s, and Marshmello’s concerts, as well as collaborations with Marvel and the NFL, has proven to organizations that games can be an effective marketing medium.
Of course, Epic Games ensures the game itself does not suffer from all these collaborations. Recently, news leaked that several reality augments will be introduced in Fortnite.
3. Devolver Digital’s Anti-marketing Approach Gives Focus to Indie Developers
Devolver Digital has established itself as a publisher that promotes weird and quirky games. Their eccentric yet compelling E3 conferences are the stuff of legends. But that’s alright because the games they publish–which are sometimes just as bizarre–get more traction.
If you’re an indie developer with a quirky game, you’ll need Devolver Digital to notice you. But first, make sure your game’s title captures its weirdness.
To make brainstorming easier, you can use a good domain name generator. It will produce hundreds of names based on the keywords you give it so that when you do have a name, you can also lock down a website and social media accounts as well.
Cult of the Lamb, Gunbrella, My Friend Pedro, and Serious Sam are some of the titles in Devolver Digital’s lineup. All their names are interesting enough to invite curious players. With Devolver Digital around, developers that would otherwise be ignored by mainstream publishers are brought into the spotlight.
4. Nintendo Sticks by Its Mascots
If there’s one thing that Nintendo has done right, it’s sticking by its mascots since the beginning. Because of this branding approach, Mario, Link, Pikachu, and Donkey Kong are now some of the most widely recognized figures in pop culture today.
The late Japan prime minster Shinzo Abe even dressed up as Mario in his appearance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics countdown.
Nintendo also banks on nostalgia in other ways. It is continuously working on bringing back some of the most beloved franchises in the 80s and 90s, and Nintendo Switch Online is proof of that effort. This 2023, an insider teased the return of a popular SNES series.
5. From Software’s Name Alone Indicates the Game’s Difficulty
Sometimes, you have to let the product speak for itself. And that’s what FromSoftware did. The company’s IPs are known to be difficult and unforgiving for players with no patience. After the success of the Dark Souls franchise, many developers scrambled to create similar “Souls-like” games. But of course, nothing beats the original.
If you want to see branding at play, watch the announcement of FromSoftware’s Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon at The Game Awards. The first minute of the trailer did not indicate much, but once FromSoftware’s name appeared at the 1:29 mark, the live crowd lost their minds!
There are plenty of branding lessons to learn from gaming companies. If you’re an aspiring developer, make sure to research what industry giants have done in the past so that your debut will be meaningful.
As mentioned earlier, this year is a great year to start, as all eyes are on the gaming industry.