Jovan Johnson, app attorney: When should a developer begin working with a PR firm?
Luis Levy: For a traditional console or PC title, as soon as the game hits alpha. Assuming the studio is still in “stealth mode,” that’s when the first announcement usually takes place. For mobile games, we suggest at least three months prior to launch, one month for prep and two months for the pre-launch campaign.
Jovan: Do different types of games require different PR strategies?
Luis: Yes – in a way. The basics are the same, but bigger games might require a more substantial pre-launch campaign. A big budget and/or recognizable IP might make it worthwhile for the developer to announce the game early, while smaller games can often gain from a shorter campaign (and save some money in the process). It’s also possible for a bigger game (and a well-funded studio) to spend more money on PR, leading to trade show appearances – like PAX Prime – and social media campaigns.
Jovan: Is PR necessary for a successful game launch?
Luis: I wouldn’t say you cannot be successful without PR. That’s not true. There are many examples of games that made it solely based on word of mouth or support from specific communities like Reddit or NeoGAF. On the other hand, as a rule of thumb PR is very, very important to your game’s success.
Developers should worry about making the best game possible. They should not have to worry about drafting press releases and sending early builds to the press; it takes them away from the game. A PR professional will handle ALL press contact, from day-to-day management to interviews and PR materials like press releases, pitches and assets. We are paid so that our clients can focus on finishing their projects on time and, hopefully, on budget. :)
An effective PR program will always give developers their best shot at a hit. Without PR, a game can land with a thud; you’d be leaving your game’s performance in the marketplace to chance. In the end, success will depend on the game’s qualities/potential/relevance.
- read part two of our interview with indie game pr pro Luis Levy.
- visit Novy PR.
- back to the Mobile Dev Project.
- more on App Law.