To successfully bring a mobile game to the market it needs more than just creativity and good game developing skills. To introduce it to its users a publisher is needed. But what is their role and what skills are needed to self-publish a game? To understand this, we first have to side track and look into the world of marketing.
Marketers around the world use a method called the 4 Ps. It was invented and developed by Edmund Jerome McCarthy, marketing professor at Michigan State University. The 4 Ps – also called Marketing Mix – describe four controllable variables that a company should look at to define and satisfy their target audience for a certain product.
Product, pricing, place and promotion
The first P describes the product itself and defines what it actually is and which needs and wants it satisfies for the end-customer. The second important variable is the pricing. It is crucial to understand in which market segment the product can be sold and for what price. The third P describes the place, also referred to as distribution. It defines how the product reaches the customer.
In this post we focus on the fourth P though which stands for promotion. It includes all areas of acquiring customers such as advertising, sales promotion, PR, digital marketing and personal selling.
Although the 4P model can apply to all kinds of products, especially the aspect of promotion proves to be very relevant for the games industry. Instead of promotion though, we in the games business call it “publishing”.
Game publishing changes constantly
Essentially the main goal for developers is to be a self-publisher for the games they make. But being successful at bringing your product to the market might not be as easy as it sounds. Game publishing is changing rapidly, and what is true today isn’t necessarily true tomorrow. It is important to stay ahead of the curve, constantly update the knowledge pool and eventually be the one driving the trends rather than following them.
The decision to become a top-tier publisher of mobile games in the free-to-play (F2P) games industry is an important one and can lead to the success for a game that developers have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into.
What a publisher brings to the table
But what is it then that a publisher needs to succeed? The only true value-add that a publisher can give and that a developing studio does not necessarily possess itself is twofold: access to a healthy publishing budget and a team of player acquisition executives, live operations, analytics experts & possibly general marketing knowledge. All other areas need to exist in one way or another in a talented F2P studio. There needs to be a fundamental shift though in where team priorities and budgets sit when a product is launched.
A thorough understanding of the market and trends, a sufficient budget, an experienced team and the right allocation of resources is what can in the end decide over how successful a game will become on the market.
About the author
Executive Vice President
Christopher Bergstresser is a true game industry veteran. As Executive Vice President he focuses on sales activities, both in the games and licensing industry, as well as on overall business development and strategy.
Bergstresser brings along years of experience from the games industry, having worked in an executive position for key players such as Miniclip, Atari, Konami and Sega. His background and know-how from the games industry makes him a valuable asset for Iconicfuture.