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Bitmob Writing Challenge (June 2012): Market Value

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E3

The Bitmob Writing Challenge is a monthly prompt we host to help both new and veteran writers generate interesting articles and look at the game industry from different ways. I took a break last month following the drawing-based Cartoon Opinion challenge, so let's get back to speed with a more traditional assignment.

You created a great game. Now you have to sell it.

People criticize and deride marketing practices, but these methods are also necessary to give publishers and developers the exposure and hopefully purchases they need to make up for the cost to make games. These methods include old-school print advertisements, video trailers, promotions, and even the cover box.

Companies also need a public relations department or contractor not only to disperse information to news sites and handle controversies but also to build a relationship with the game’s community. PR specialists might not have the budget to drape skyscrapers with a Final Fantasy poster, but they can use Twitter and Facebook to generate interest in their products. And coincidentally, we have just bid adieu to E3 2012, which publishers used to start the hype train toward the holiday season (or, in many cases, next year).

If people can get as much enjoyment from anticipating a big release as the actual product, then let’s examine the machinations that make it happen. Read on for the rules:

 
  • Write a 400-800 word article about marketing in video games. While it's OK to explore the field in general, focusing on a specific game will result in a stronger and more unique piece.
  • Make sure that you are examining "how" the company is promoting something rather than "what" they are promoting. For instance, look at the trailers of an upcoming game. Do they show actual gameplay or cutscenes? What music is playing? Is the purpose to showcase what you can do, tease important boss fights or plot points, or just show the humor or seriousness of the title? Is the video successful in making people excited? 
  • While I mentioned E3 in the above text, make sure to critique one specific aspect of the trade show. Take on the gradoise showfloors, corporate presentations, and promotional models with a critical eye. 
  • Post the article by June 30, 2012 with Bitmob Writing Challenge in the tags. It will appear in Bitmob's Mobfeed and GamesBeat's Unfiltered page. At the end of the month, I will post a roundup featuring all your submissions.

Good luck.