Waste’s guide to re-energising mature games brands
Marketing, content and community can be powerful tools in bringing energy & buzz to games that have been live for many years. Whether looking to bring in new players, reactivate lapsed players or breathe new life into your current community of die-hards - we’ve found our fan-first approach reaps rewards.
For a lot of mature games, their biggest threat is also their biggest strength: familiarity. With a target audience who feel that they already know the brand, how can you grab attention and prompt reappraisal with new & lapsed players, or keep that fresh feeling amongst the existing base?
At Waste, we’ve found the answer is in finding the unfamiliar in the familiar.
This approach has helped us be effective in addressing a range of challenges that mature games face. From using content to keep a sense of energy & excitement in a mature game cycle with less development investment, to attracting new audiences, and helping genre-leading titles continue to differentiate themselves from copycat competitors.
Our approach starts with really understanding the brief and desired outcomes. Mature games often benefit from existing communities & learnings from previous activities, so it’s important to take this into account before defining the best strategy for achieving your goals. If we’re looking to bring in new players, is the best route activating lapsed players, or tapping into a completely new audience? Is the secret in using our existing community as evangelists, or is there a media moment coming up that’ll grab their attention?
At the core of how we tackle briefs for mature games is quickly getting to the heart of what makes the community unique. It’s about understanding the essence of the title and how its players interact with it. Really getting to grips with the players’ relationship with the game, the role it plays in their lives, and the rituals and symbols that have become part of their community.
Once this has been established it makes identifying the right audience & approach a lot simpler, as it helps us identify the ‘familiar’ for the title. This gives us the platform we need to get creative and bring a fresh & eye-catching perspective to the game.
Once the essence of the community is understood, it becomes about bringing in a new perspective, and finding the unfamiliar. One of the ways to do this is by breaking out of the asset churn & applying a fresh angle on the IP. As an example, it’s easy to see excitement for game cycles wane as time goes on, but a creative approach to in-game events can capture the community’s attention & in-turn generate earned reach, buzz & excitement. Or alternatively, taking a core game concept or mechanic and looking at how it can be visually represented in surprising new ways for fresh audiences, can be a great way of generating attention grabbing creative that cuts through. This also often lies at the heart of reactivating lapsed players, with something eye-catching required to get them to engage with the changes in the game & reconsider playing.
Another route that can be explored is taking the essence of the game and applying it in unexpected places. This is a great way of tapping into new audiences - whether it’s jumping on a trending moment to provide your game’s unique POV on social, identifying another interest point for your audience and moving your title into that space, or seeing what happens when the game world meets the real world. This approach can bring new life to your IP, making new creative combinations possible and leading to fresh & engaging creative. It also gives a chance for new audiences to get eyes on your game, and existing audiences to see your title in a way they never have before.
And the last principle of our approach that we’ll share in this article, is working with unexpected partners, that shed a whole new light. Partnerships with other brands can be an effective way of tapping into new audiences and driving relevancy where there are shared interests. This route is also often seen as more effective than traditional ad approaches for reaching younger generations, such as Gen-Z.
Meanwhile getting some seemingly leftfield influencers or content creators can be a useful tool for stopping thumbs, grabbing attention and providing a path to driving reappraisal of a well-known title. Whether brand or influencers though, we’d always advocate that any partnership is driven by authenticity, with both parties bringing something meaningful to the table. At the end of the day, the more integrated the partnership is with the game, the more likely you are to see success.
Of course, these are just some of our ways to find the familiar in the unfamiliar, when looking to tackle the challenges of mature games - so if this is something you’re exploring at the moment, we’d love to have a chat and see if we can help. Contact us here.