Behold The Marketer: Your Unexpected Future In Gaming

So as I watch the fallout from the PS4, watch Kickstarters rise and fall, and eagerly await my Ouya so I can play Sela the Space Pirate since my phone is old, I’m speculating on the games industry once again.

I’m not even sure we can call it one industry anymore.  it’s kind of like lumping Pengiuin, Lulu, Kinkos, and the Canon printer division together and calling it “Publishing.”  Yes, technically true, but you’re really dealing with a pretty broad range of subjects.

But that industry, as broadly as we define a place where Angry Birds and World of Warcraft are lumped together, is one that’s important.  It’s one that’s growing.  It’s one that we professional geeks want a piece of.  It’s just hard to know where to find that piece when Ninjas can fight fruit or each other.

But one piece some of us should look at is marketing.

Yes, marketing.  I know it’s a dirty word to many.  I know it’s a confusing area that mixes brilliant strategy with magic-8-ball level planning.  I know it can seem dull or sleazy to people (it’s actually not, I know people in it).  But it’s unavoidable.

People have to market games.  Otherwise no one knows they’re out there, as many ambitious but failed indie gamers can note.

And if the games industry is now a crazy patchwork quilt (spoiler: it is), the marketing just got harder.  It got more complex.  It needs the right people.

Y’know when I say right people?  I’m looking at you.  Yes, I’m suggesting that if you want to go into gaming, or know people that do, or want to change your career in gaming, marketing may be for you.

  • Big companies with Triple AAA titles have huge budgets, and this is troublesome to the level it might not even be viable.  That being said (and I debate it’s not), big games need marketers – in certain cases more than ever, and they’re willing to throw money at it.  You, with your knowledge, may be the one to get actual working marketing events as opposed to, I dunno, stupidly oversexed and bloody weird merch.
  • Smaller companies, nimbler ones, may be open to innovation.  Though I worry they may get squeezed, it could be a place for you.  Actually if the AAA titles are going to have problems, you might do very well here, with enough budget to work, and enough freedom to do something effective.
  • Established “house” companies like, say, Nexon, have organized marketing departments (yes, I’m biased towards Nexon).  You may not work on the next “FarCrisis of Duty II: Killzone Theft Auto”, but you will get some foundation to work with, a model, and structure.  Though I am finding some of these “house” companies do have their issues, who doesn’t?
  • Smaller companies and individuals may need marketing consulting.  You might bring a pretty good gig as a contractor.
  • For that matter, why not your own business as a marketing consulting in gaming?

If the gaming industry is this fragmented and confused, people still need to get the word out – and there’s plenty of ways to do that that are also fragmented and confused.

Of course you may have to re-invent marketing to make it work.  But then again, someone has to.  Come to think of it, someone better, because the industry is changing and people want results . . .

Think it over.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at