How Video Game Companies Use Swag to Promote New Games
The video game industry has never shied away from using promotional products to add extra excitement to their newest titles. With a dedicated fan based like no other, consumers are willing to fork over a little extra cash to get their hands on some additional swag of their favorite digital characters or titles.
Video game swag acts as a promotional tool and a thank you to an audience willing to support them for life if the companies are willing to continue making games they love. Gamers will sport their wearables proudly, display their swag prominently in their homes and accessorize every piece of electronics if you’ll let them.
But how to video game companies stir up extra excitement for their new releases? There are actual multiple ways that all include the use of promotional products.
There are a few tradeshows every year that really get gamers excited, but none get their palms as sweaty as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. E3 is like the Oscars of videogames, everyone who’s anyone in the industry is there and every video game company is desperately vying for the attention of the masses.
The game title and anticipation are big contributors to how much attention a company may get. Other than that, big screens, large displays and beautiful women are all different ploys to try and draw fans/reporters to their booths.
While all those things are fun to look at, nothing quite competes with something that someone can bring home with them. That’s why video game companies spend money on all sorts of different giveaways.
— DTJAAAAM (@DTJAAAAM) June 13, 2013
— Viola (@violaprisma) June 12, 2013
T-shirts, lanyards, buttons, totes and other custom products tend to go quickly by fanboys as they walk the tradeshow floor and after the show is over they take on a new life online through blogs, social media and the secondary market.
Stores like Gamestop and EB games know their audience. Gamers need to have their games NOW. That’s why you see huge lines outside of their stores late on a random Monday night. The only way to ensure that they get the game they want to go along with their Mountain Dew and Cheetos is to pre-order.
Pre-ordering games isn’t a huge commitment and doesn’t cost anything extra. All these stores ask is that you put a down payment (as small as $5) on the game to guarantee yourself a copy. And as an extra incentive, by preordering the video game company will typically offer a small gift to go along with the game. I recently wrote about how LEGO used promotional LEGO minis to help grow excitement for their upcoming movie/game, so it’s obvious that it’s not just video games using this to get a leg up.
These types of gifts may not be worth a fortune, but when you receive something unexpected and it doesn’t cost the consumer anything extra, it has the power to sway someone’s decision on purchasing now rather than waiting.
It’s nice to get a little something extra when you buy a game, but for those who have dedicated late nights, entire weekends, months or even years into a video game franchise are willing to spend a little more to get something few others have. Something that is going to show off their fandom, display it proudly and maybe even give them a deeper look into their digital universe.
These types of products can go for upwards of $200 and include special metal cases, statues, DVD documentaries, art books, cloth maps and other custom products specially geared to wow their fans. These types of items can have a high resell value on eBay depending on the quality and number of items produced.
These types of promotional products can definitely affect game sales. Jon Buller, vice president of Marketing Instincts said:
When a shout caster wore our custom League of Legends character hoodie (the infamous Blitzcrank hoodie) at PAX Prime before it was released, fans literally went crazy. Not only were fans excited about the future release of the merchandise, the hoodie actually drew attention towards the character Blitzcrank and increased in-game sales for the character.
Promotional goodies are a part of the gaming culture. Jesse Divnich, an analyst of EEDAR says:
It may cost a publisher $2 to make an action figure, and they may sell it at a $10 premium, but to the consumer buying it, they view it as well worth the money. There will always be a market for those few that want a little extra with their game. This market will never disappear.