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BizReport : Viral Marketing : June 28, 2012

Natural Motion: PR has "no impact" on mobile game downloads

Traditional marketing and PR campaigns to promote and acquire players for mobile games are pointless, according to the CEO of social mobile game technology and development firm Natural Motion.

by Helen Leggatt

naturalmotion_logo_biz.jpgCEO Torsten Reil doesn't believe that even well-executed PR campaigns make any difference to the number of Natural Motion mobile games downloaded. In fact, he knows so, reports Matt Martin of Games Industry International.

"We learnt the hard way that we really needed to rethink marketing. I don't think it works at all," declared Reil at Game Horizon, a UK-based games industry networking event. "It has no impact that you can see for a big game when you run a dedicated, very well executed PR campaign, it does nothing, absolutely nothing. The download numbers that you're dealing with overall are so huge that any PR downloads that you create are just noise."

Reil doesn't rule out PR and marketing's effectiveness in other areas of his business, such as recruitment or company announcements.

According to Techcrunch, one of Natural Motion's most popular games, My Horse, has had over 10 million downloads with only 3% of the game's revenues having been spent on marketing or acquisition campaigns.

Instead, key to capturing mobile users' attention and getting them to download a game is simple. First you need to 'wow' your audience with superior production values, creating a "word-of-mouth moment", and then let good old viral marketing take over.

"People will go out to a pub and show your game to their friends if they really like it," Reil said. "Very often it's because of production values and overall graphics. This is where we have a huge opportunity. We always want to wow people. Whether the traditional gamer or the mass market gamer they want to show off what they have on their phone."

Tags: Android, game development, game industry, iOS, mobile game, mobile marketing, PR, public relations, social game, viral marketing, word-of-mouth

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