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Consumer Insights for Video Game GOAT: Duke Nukem

Favorite game of all time Duke Nukem appealed beautifully to testosterone-rich young men across the world in the 90s. And became the inspiration for a lifelong career in media, gaming and technology

CONSUMER INSIGHTS VIDEO GAME GREATEST OF ALL TIME: DUKE NUKEM

Duke Nukem was and arguably always will be my favorite video game of all time.  Does it have a market among battle royale fans of Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile?

The first PC game that I paid for. With a HUGE $40 of my own money at the age of 20, I chose Duke over a pub crawl or infrequent meal of tacos in college.  Will brand equity aid discoverability? Consumer Insights hold the key.

 

Menacing flying aliens wielding rocket-propelled grenades.  Shade-bespectacled foes with tusks the size of Siberian boars.  Gratuitous scantily-clad young ladies dancing on stages, hips gyrating rhythmically to the electric pop background music.

 

The frequent drops of weapons – from rocket-propelled grenades, to shotguns, to pistols, and ammo – stimulate the mind.  In pure single-player mode, it’s easy to pick up, put down, save progress.  While heart-pounding exciting and exhilarating as ever, the ability to save and reattempt levels makes it forgiving.  

 

Playing the 2011 reboot Duke Nukem Forever on my Mac this week during the coronavirus shelter-at-home, I got to relive some of my early college years.  The nuclear waste and dancers still grab the eyeballs, even as I have laddered up in age.

 

This begs the question though.  I paid an entire $40 for the full game in 1996.  And again in 2020, I paid $40 for the game + downloadable content on Steam.  HOW can this game be reimagined for a different revenue model – say, monthly subscription or free-to-play in-app purchases.  

 

As a video game marketing consultant, I wondered.  If I were marketing this game as a Premium-Priced 1-time Download on Steam:

 

  1. What are my best options for maximizing branding (reactivating awareness) amongst existing fans of the Duke Nukem franchise?
  2. How do I best build excitement among brand-new first-person shooter fans?
  3. How can the game acquire and convert multiplayer battle royale games like Fortnite or PUBG?
  4. Which messages would resonate best with each of these audiences? 
  5. Which promotional tactics do I have to maximize downloadable sales?
  6. Is a time-limited MASSIVE discount promotion (say 50%, 60%, even 70%) the only way to crack the STEAM Store charts?
  7. Are there media channels (whether IGN, PCGamer, or EuroGamer) that can drive measurable sales?
  8. Should the developer choose to turn this game into a Free 2 Play, mobile games, what are some of the best content and monetization strategies?  
  9. How much time and resources should they devote to strictly Organic Discovery, like Apple or Google App Store Optimization?
  10. Is it more advantageous to launch during the Shelter in Place campaign (i.e. in the next 4-8 weeks)?  
  11. Or does it make more sense to create “evergreen” paid media advertising campaigns, that run throughout the year?
  12. What types of analytics and attribution are required?  And can these be put in place on startup budgets, without breaking the bank?

 From experience I know this much.

Consumer Insights and good old-fashioned market research are key to rock-solid brand positioning and laser-focused activation.

A combination of qualitative consumer research – targeted at the target consumer persona can answer these questions about how (1) Brand Loyalists like me and (2) fans of battle royale FPS and 3PS titles like Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, and Call of Duty can best be activated.

That and how and where the video game marketing budgets are best spent.  Is it more advantageous spent on paid media on Facebook, Google UAC and the likes?  Or strictly through trusted influencers through the likes of Youtube, Twitch Prime and reviewers?

These are precisely the types of questions that I help my clients (video game developers and publishers) solve, in order to maximize media coverage and measurable revenue and profits. And in a strange, inexplicable way, I relish the challenge of helping a game developer shop on startup, even shoestring budgets.

 

If you have a promising game project that you like to promote and burst up the STEAM Store, Apple App Store, or Google Play Store – and like to tap into the marketing expertise of someone who’s worked on both branded and original-IP games on Facebook, PC, Apple, and Android, reach out to me.  

 

In the meantime, make sure to stay safe, play apart, but always, always “kick ass and chew bubble gum.”

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