The pandemic’s impact still resonates across the gaming community and gaming content. In 2022, we have already seen major changes in video games, including increased content, inclusion of blockchain technology, and competition for headspace with traditional entertainment forms.
These changes to games provide gaming PR professionals with inevitable challenges but also with opportunities to create new stories, leverage new channels and reach new audiences.
So how can you make sure that your PR approach is staying tailored to today’s games? Below are some top 2022 trends for games and key PR tips to adopt. This is part one of a two-part series focusing on the broader changes happening in 2022 in the gaming industry, with PR strategies to help you carve out your own lane.
Trend #1: Biggest year for gaming content
This year is on track to be the video game industry’s biggest year in terms of content—across console, PC and mobile alike. COVID-related delays have inadvertently led to one of the most crowded and exciting gaming release calendars in recent years.
- Be strategic about launch timing. Q4 is not automatically the best quarter to drop, so leverage creative PR activities to build anticipation.
- Newsjack all the way. Prepare to jump on any relevant trending topics as long as it feels authentic to the DNA of your brand.
- Expand beyond traditional media. Look to podcasts, newsletters and less traditional channels to break through. These are becoming more influential than ever.
- Don’t count out community-led storytelling. This channel can be more powerful if leveraged correctly. Also, keep in mind that community advocacy will need to be consciously and continuously harnessed and not left to chance.
Trend #2: User pushback to blockchain technology in games
Many game companies are evaluating the commercial potential of using blockchain technology to support in-game cryptocurrency, tokens, NFTs and new business models such as play-to-earn. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place: many shareholders and investors want to see NFT strategies as they see it as “the next big thing”; however, gamers in the AAA space negatively react to the technology.
- Brace for mixed feedback. Ambivalence about and straight-up criticism of play-to-earn titles and NFTs in the gaming space will not be uncommon. Do your research to find media targets who can help you amplify your innovation without turning off your fans.
- Conduct community listening. Actively assess potential backlash and survey the opinions within your fan community. Have an issues management plan in place to address and quell any strong opposition and negative engagement.
Trend #3: Gaming becoming mainstream entertainment
Game IP value spikes as transmedia becomes more relevant. Games IP becomes entertainment IP. We’ve lately seen a slew of high-quality, commercially successful video adaptations. These movies, TV shows and cross-game promotions have effectively portrayed stories, characters and themes.
- See gaming as another form of digital entertainment. You are not only competing with other video games, but all sorts of digital entertainment and social media platforms. To win over consumers’ time and mindshare, you must tell the bigger story, go outside of endemic media and get creative.
- Understand that the term “gamers” has a new meaning. 67% of U.S. adults, or 227 million people, play video games. Gaming is becoming more mainstream than ever, and you should adapt your approach to reach this expanding audience.
- Leverage as many tools in your PR toolbox as possible. Utilize the game’s art, music, characters, as well as the people and company behind the development, to tell multidimensional stories across media verticals. You need to go as wide as possible to reach a diverse audience.
By embracing these trends and utilizing these tips, you and your team will be in an advantageous place to use PR effectively.
Check out the second part of our gaming PR series that goes beyond games themselves and shares our top PR tips for 2022’s gaming industry changes and trends.