A higher marketing spend can increase a game’s gross revenue three times more than positive review scores.
That’s according to new research by EEDAR, presented at the Montreal International Games Summit by the firm’s Jesse Divnich. During the presentation, Divnich explained that poorer quality games will a bigger marketing will perform better than better titles with less financial support.
“You can make the greatest game and it won’t even matter,” he said. “I know that’s discourage to developers at first but it’s very true.
“Marketing influences game revenue three times more than quality scores. There’s a giant myth out there that reviews scores are the most crucial to a video game.
“The reason why that is is the information is readily available – we can go to Metacritic – and we see games like Grand Theft Auto and Call Of Duty succeed and we see they have a high quality score and we make that correlation. But the truth is, marketing actually has much more of an influence to game sales than high scores.”
The key example he gave was BioShock, which had a US marketing budget of $5.5million and sold twice as many copies as Dead Space, which only had $2 million behind it.
Divnich assured the audience that the research had taken all variable costs into account. However, he emphasised that marketing still has to be carefully targeted to be effective.
“There are times when marketing fails – you can spend so much money but it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Sony spent $150 million globally on the launch of PlayStation 3. They honestly thought they could release any type of commercial and it would sell.
“It is truly a WTF moment in marketing history. It creeped people out. Sony got complacent – they were on top of the world and they thought they could say ‘here’s the PS3, go out and but it’.
“A lot of people want to blame the high price points for the PS3’s failure, but I don’t think so. I blame the marketing – it impacted the success of the PS3 much more than the price.”