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How do you market a Sleeping Dog?

Games 31 Jul 2012

In three weeks, the game Sleeping Dogs will be released in Australia. I’ve had a few chances to get hands on preview time in the last few months, and I can honestly say I’m genuinely excited to play it when it’s finally released.

Read my Gameplanet preview here.

Prior to actually playing the game though, I had very little interest in it. Originally it was to be the third title in the True Crime series before being cancelled by Activision then acquired and rebranded by Square Enix soon after. The main sell points are the gameplay elements taken from other games – the fighting mechanic of Batman Arkham City, the driving of Need for Speed, the free running of Assassin’s Creed, and of course set in a GTA type open world. Even the plot, characters and themes are inspired by classic Hong Kong action movies.

In other words, nothing about this game is particularly original, and I’d not seen anything that made me all that interested.

Even the box art, while admittedly very cool from a design perspective, didn’t really give any sense of the game itself.

So my question is, with all due respect to Namco Bandai Australia, how would you market this game?

Internationally the developers (United Front Games) have been exceptionally active on Twitter and Facebook, with just over 4,000 followers and 60,000 fans respectively.

Look at the social networks of the other games it’s inspired by though. Need for Speed (8,700,000 Facebook likes), Batman Arkham City (1,088,000 Facebook likes), Assassin’s Creed (3,330,000 Facebook likes), Grand Theft Auto IV (3,882,000 Facebook likes). I understand some of these represent a game series, but still, 60,000 fans isn’t many in the grand scheme of things.

The announcement trailer is the most popular video on their Youtube page with almost one million views, and yet it shows none of the gameplay at all. More recent efforts seem to have been put into making sure special editions are up to scratch and specific for certain regions, including Australia.

The best move was to have the game playable at gaming conventions such as GDC, PAX East, London Comic Con and E3, allow people to actually play the game themselves, but even then you’re competing against a significant amount of other more established and recognisable titles.

I don’t actually have an answer here, it’s just something I was thinking about when previewing the game. I’d be interested to hear thoughts from others as to how you would go about marketing a game such as this.

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One Comment

  1. Peter Kossatz
    July 31, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Maybe they are trying to sell the game by its box art, a lot of developers tryed selling games for retarded reasons, EA wants to sell Dead Space 3 by the fact that it looks like lost planet, and Bethesda wants to sell Dishonored just claiming that is steampunk, and you can cut necks.

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