If you didn’t pick it up from the headline I’ll be clear, this is a totally personal opinion and not an unbiased look on how gaming marketing should be done and which is more successful.
We all know that Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are being released this year, with both titles expecting to sell millions. We also know that CoD will sell more units – so we can still say that Battlefield is the underdog; so I find it very interesting to see how they are both marketing their games.
Obviously both have gone the standard route of skinning sites, adding banners and the rest of the usual online and print media options. However after that they both seem to go different ways.
As you’ve noticed on this site, we’ve posted a ton of Battlefield 4 videos recently and while I have not been impressed with the quality of the footage they have been the subject of a lot of online conversations and fans and haters alike have been analysing all the details and talking about them. So much so, that Battlefield 4 has now become the 4th most searched game that brings readers to the site. A month ago it was equal to Call of Duty: Ghosts but Activision has decided to tightly control all the news and footage that is being allowed onto the Internet.
But it’s not only the control that I dislike – but the fact that they have now made a deal with IGN so that they will be the preferred media partner to reveal the Ghosts multiplayer footage and options to the public on the 14th of August. Now I know there are a ton of other media houses who are going to be present* but the idea that IGN gets this exclusive leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Everyone loves to hate on Call of Duty, Activision and EA but in this regard it looks like EA is being the better company for their fans. I despise canned marketing where the media is expected to be thankful for getting early access to something, but where opinions are tightly controlled.
My advice to all the gaming companies out there: try interact with your fans openly and allow the coverage to grow organically. The only company that really does the controlled marketing perfectly is Rockstar and they do it well because they ensure conversations continue by dropping small news pieces all the time to keep people interested.
This total black-out on Call of Duty: Ghosts isn’t fun, doesn’t ratchet up the tension and I don’t like it. And I’m actually excited about the game so I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I was one of the Call of Duty haters.
*In the interest of disclosure, we were invited to the event in America next week but unfortunately due to our Gamescom schedule and budget we simply couldn’t make it.
Last Updated: August 8, 2013