No Marketing? No Problem. "State of Decay" Clears Two Million Games Sold

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

No Marketing? No Problem. "State of Decay" Clears Two Million Games Sold

It's almost staggeringly counter-intuitive, the idea that a game—or anything else for that matter—could sell, and sell extremely well, without the benefit of formal marketing methods behind it. Whether extensive social media work or expensive advertising work or anything like that, most products all but require marketing to sell even passably well. The idea of “if you build it, they will come” hasn't really worked since Kevin Costner gave it a shot, but in a way, it's working out—and pretty well—for “State of Decay”, the game that's sold over two million copies so far despite nothing significant in the way of formal marketing efforts.

So what did it? What drove “State of Decay” to staggering heights of sales despite precious little ad spend or anything like that? Undead Labs, the company behind the game, points to the fan base for the success, crediting a string of players who livestreamed the games and illustrated the almost dizzying power that video platforms have in game promotion. From Twitch to YouTube and all points in between, “State of Decay” illustrates how a good game that people can actually experience before its release can drive sales.

Yes, “State of Decay” is a terrific game. Its follow-up entrants, “Breakdown” and “Lifeline”, did reasonably well as well, but the key takeaway here were that these were good games, and thanks to the game streaming, people got to look not at selected bits of video footage, but rather a complete look at the complete range of experiences. Bugs, glitches, and all showed up, and it became clear to the user that this was a good game, well worth the cash to try. “State of Decay” wasn't without its glitches; anyone who's played has likely wondered how zombies managed to get through a closed door, or how a town with a population of a couple thousand, tops, is constantly restocking with zombies despite the fact that you've been driving a pickup truck through them for the better part of an hour. But regular fixes emerged, and the gameplay itself was more than sufficient to get gamers interested.

So what's the takeaway in all this? It's worth considering a more direct method of promotion for those out there who want to promote a game. Free copies to “Let's Play” makers and similar gamers is a great idea to draw interest; sure, you'd no doubt love to have PewDiePie run a game, but don't just focus on the biggest numbers. Everyone who watches and gets interested is one more gamer that will likely buy, and while it would be great to address a few million gamers at once, addressing a few thousand over a few thousand channels has the same end result, even if it does cost a bit more in lost opportunity.

Thus the end result to game companies: ignore streaming video at your own peril. It may not work out as well for everyone as it clearly did for Undead Labs and “State of Decay”, but it's a pretty fair bet that it will work out well in the end.

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