Remembering the Past with E3

The Past, E3, and the Future

I just attended E3, and it was like a blast from the past. Judging from the conference, nothing has changed in the last 5 years except the graphics are a little shinier. Imagine masses of people lining up for hours to play 5 minutes of an upcoming game that looks and plays the same as current games.

E3 is extravagance; where massive money is spent with the singular purpose of attempting to woo the press into liking a game or company.

What E3 doesn’t get

E3 seems to think that gaming is all about console games played by 13 year old boys.  

There was next to nothing for PC gamers, despite it being both far larger and faster growing market than console games. Nothing about mobile games. Indie games were relegated to their one tiny little corner, which was jam packed with people checking them out. Definitely nothing about Kickstarter or other crowdfunding.

Basically, all of the things that are revolutionizing the industry and generating massive new revenue were all but ignored by the conference.  

Why is all the focus on targeting of 13 year old boys through explosions, scantily clad female characters, and massively muscled bros? Take into consideration that the average game player is 35 years old and has been playing games for 13 years, or the fact that 40% of game players are women. Is it any surprise that mobile and Facebook gaming grew so rapidly, when the majority of video games revolve around violence with sexist tropes? Yet E3 still seems for males under the age of 17, despite them only making up 18% of the total gaming market.

Check out the infographic for the stats above.

E3 Ignores the Market

E3 is built around driving press to write about console games, but seemed blissfully unaware that the majority of sales growth is actually happening on PC and Mobile, not consoles.  The entire market is heading that way, and you need marketing vehicles that reach both channels.

Video & Content Sells Games

In the controversial blog post ‘The Demo Is Dead’ indie game company PuppyGames argues that the key trigger in a gamer’s research/purchase process is video content, whether ‘a review along the lines of Total Biscuit, or a trailer on Steam, or on the developer’s website, or shared on Facebook or Twitter.’ 

Video has a massive impact on the demand for games.  Video content previewing the indie game ‘Octodad’ generated 6 Million views from user-generated content like this video by YouTuber ‘Cr1tikal’ which got over 1.5m views:


Reaching Gamers Requires a Video Marketing Strategy

E3 caters towards wooing press, because it at least understands that content is essential. Gamers are primarily pushed towards making purchase decisions through content, recommendations, and reviews.  But as PuppyGames argues, video is the key piece of content brands need to take note of, so how can gaming brands take advantage of this?

1) Hook up with content creators – There is a huge host of YouTubers and vloggers that create video content about games. Previews, reviews, walkthroughs, the list is endless. These guys and girls have serious credibility in the gaming community so why not get in touch and give them a good reason to talk about your game?

2) Content distribution – If video is the key research resource, and likely purchase trigger, it makes sense for game advertisers to seed their video content through appropriate, targeted channels to reach the right audience.

If game video content triggers purchases, the logical thing to do is connect that content with your ecommerce platform, take an engaged gamer to a place they can buy. That’s what we do at Coull.