The video gaming industry took the world by force ever since its proliferation in the 1970s. Most people don’t realize that the average gamer is 39 years old, 40 percent of all gamers are female, or that the industry as a whole received $10.5 billion in revenue in 2009. To some, these numbers might come as a shock, but to a gamer, it’s a lifestyle. The world of “video game public relations” is equally as huge and lucrative.
Video games rely heavily on advertisement and pre-release sales. Game developers depend on the income that gamers provide by purchasing games before they are released in stores. With that revenue, the developers pay for anything from advertising to orchestral recordings for soundtracks. The success of a video game is entirely dependent on what occurs the months before release.
The ongoing competition between Sony and Microsoft is a perfect example of video game public relations at play. After Xbox had a public relations disaster during the 2013 release concerning policy changes on the console, Sony retaliated and used the new policies against them. This mistake was handled in an extremely hostile way toward both customers and Sony, leading to millions of dollars in lost profits for Microsoft in 2014.
Promotional events, pre-release parties, or social media interaction- you name it, and video game public relations teams have done it. Often ahead of other industries, video game public relations teams need to stay connected with their “techy” audiences and try new things to keep them on their toes. Dealing with things like release pushbacks, game crashes and an almost entirely online community of gamers adds to the to-do list of public relations professionals in this field.
By Nick Hebert
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.