4 Marketing Lessons I learned from Overwatch

If you’re more or less engaged with the world of video games (Not the mobile ones. Those don’t count.) then you must have heard about Overwatch. This colorful and fast paced online game has become the new sensation in the gaming world. Now I can write a thousand words talking about why this game is so freaking amazing, but I’m writing this piece for a different reason.

The success of Overwatch goes beyond the game-making prowess of veteran developer Blizzard Entertainment. It is a lot of brilliant pieces working together like a finely oiled machine. Look even more closely and you’ll find the makings of a great marketing strategy and flawless execution. Here are four incredible lessons for marketers to learn from Overwatch.

Make It Right

The success of a video game starts with the game itself (Like, d’uh!). Surprisingly, not a lot of game developers, even those of triple-A titles, tend to forget about this. They come up with flawed, half developed world with little or no things of interest in them and expect them to be accepted (No Man’s Sky, take note).

 

When this trailer landed in 2014, it immediately set the gaming world on fire. The legacy of Blizzard along with this jaw dropping trailer set the stage for what was about to come

This is where Overwatch shines. Blizzard really knows how to put together a game that lives on for decades. I am not exaggerating. Just look at their portfolio: Diablo, Warcraft, Starcraft and so on. Overwatch spent at least two years in development after it’s first appearance in 2014 and countless more before that. It is a brilliantly balanced game with near perfect mechanics. A new player can pick it up very easily get the hang of it in a few rounds of play. For pros it is turning out to be a livelihood earner.

Long story short, if your product is not good, it’s not going to live on. A great product is the prerequisite of building a great business and a formidable brand. Sure flamboyant ads and cheeky models can give a bad product a good face but it’ll never be sustainable.

Build the Community

The way Blizzard has supported the gamer community for Overwatch is incredible. Not only they listen to the gamers on how to improve the game, they have also made it a part and parcel of the game’s life cycle. Enter: Public Test Region or PTR in short. PTR is a special version of the game where they let the gamers test any new changes firsthand before making them public. That way whenever a new change lands, it’s already been tested by thousands of gamers.

Moreover, Blizzard has made the competitive scene extremely lucrative which has paved the way for hundreds of fan made YouTube channels and social media accounts dedicated to the game. These contents augment the product experience even better.

Give the Value for Money

At 60 dollars (roughly 5,000 Tk), the game is not really cheap. However, the amount of entertainment a player can squeeze out of this game is absolutely bonkers! I myself have played over one hundred hours since I bought the game and I have played with people who have spent more than 1000 hours playing this game. It’s incredible value! Moreover, occasional discounts and giveaways mean even greater value for customers. I wish a lot of brands understood that the price of a product does not need to be more or less; it needs to be equivalent to the value it gives to the end user.

Promoting with the Product at the Center

To yield the best results, the promotion plan must have the product at the center. It is the easiest and effective way to create a solid promotion plan. Overwatch was launched with far more materials than a typical game. For an online-only game, it’s really difficult to make an emotional connection to the players in way that story based games can.

But Overwatch did this really good. During the launch Overwatch published short films based on the heroes of the game and the maps. The game itself throws bits of lore which connect the players to the big story behind the game and sets the stage for new heroes to come. Moreover Blizzard keeps on publishing short animated graphic novels every now and then. These promotional tactic proved so successful that there are now hundreds of fan theories and speculation videos littering the internet keeping the topic alive on digital media.

This is one of many short films Blizzard launched that told the story of the heroes, gave the gameplay elements of human touch and made the gameplay more relatable.

It has been only one year since Overwatch was launched, and it already has established itself as a solid pro-gaming title. It has already had its first World Cup where South Korea came as champions (obviously).

I guess I have written written about the game on this article to an extent that you may start thinking that I’m getting paid by Blizzard to do so. But I am not the only one showing this level of extreme loyalty to this product. There are millions more. And that, I believe, is the ultimate return a brand can expect from the audience; loyalty to the brand to an extent that your customers become your advertisers.

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