By Tabitha Goodman
The video gaming industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Well-known game developers like Nintendo and EA Games are expanding rapidly. And indie companies and lone developers are helping to pave the way for better games and stories.
“The video games market is expected to be worth over 90 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, from nearly $78.61 billion in 2017,” according to BestTheNews. Much of that growth is due to mobile gaming.
Today in 2019, there are 2.3 billion mobile gamers worldwide—almost a third of the world’s population,” according to Game Gavel, an online website that tracks gaming statistics. And that number is expected to increase steadily as smartphone use grows globally.
In fact, Game Gavel notes that 38% of game developers are currently creating games exclusively for smartphones and tablets to meet rapidly expanding demand. “As smartphones boast faster processing speeds, higher-quality graphics, and larger screens—it’s no wonder smartphones and tablets are taking over the global games market,” says Khaled Shaalan.
From mobile games, to console, to PC, these companies need quality copywriting often within their games and also to promote their products on their websites and social media platforms.
You wouldn’t think video games contain copywriting in the actual game but they can. For example, when you’re playing a game and you’re exploring the environment, you pick up objects, which are often letters or newspapers, and perhaps there’s signage on the wall, helping to set the scene.
The same could be said of the tutorials and instructions. In-game text is a broad area. The writing needs to be original and sometimes quite lengthy.
“Storyline, dialogue and instruction aren’t the only in-game areas requiring a scribbler’s skills. From game menus to context-sensitive prompts, somebody has to pen all the ancillary copy and, with titles constantly pushing new boundaries, in-game text is a growing requirement,” says John Featherstone of Copy Republic.
He explains that the need for good copy in video games applies to many areas including:
Developing the content for each of the above areas requires a copywriter who understands video gaming and also video game marketing. For developers working towards a deadline, these copy elements can really throw a wrench in the process.
An experienced copywriter can ensure the copy is written within the available time frame and is effective in enhancing the quality of the game and generating sales.
If you have a game to promote and are planning to do the copywriting yourself, keep these five pointers in mind:
When writing game copy, think about what will entice and engage your players.
Your goal for the copy should be to keep the reader engaged and interested. Provide answers to questions such as these:
Ideally, you can entwine wit and attitude in your writing. You’re a skilled storyteller who can communicate across different channels and connect emotionally with gamers.
Whether you’re a startup company or a well-established force in the gaming industry, you’ll want to begin promoting your game long before it’s ready for sale. Create a big build-up in advance, targeting potential buyers and priming them for the big release.
Most gamers can name at least one game they have bought purely because of the hype. Whether or not the game lived up to the hype, is another issue.
With the right copywriting, the gaming community will anticipate the release and you’ll see fast sales from day #1. Even if you’re a big company and your name is already known and trusted in the gaming community, you want to create a buzz about your game long before it hits the market.
If you’re an indie game developer and your budget for promotion is tight, you can write your own marketing copy. But to maximize your results, consider working with a professional copywriter, someone who not only understands video game marketing but also search engine optimization (SEO), which is the key to coming up in search results on Google.
From the in-game copy to game-enhancement materials such as character bios and historical background, to the video game’s description, all copy content needs to be carefully written.
Remember, effective copy draws and keeps visitors on your sites and platforms. Hiring a copywriter is an investment that ultimately pays for itself by helping to build your brand and to generate for your game. With the right copy, you can be confident that you’ve taken all of the steps necessary to ensure your video game’s success.
Tabitha Goodman is a freelance copywriter who enjoys writing for the gaming industry. She is also an avid gamer herself but considers playing video games “research” for her work.