Ni No Kuni: Marketing magic
"You're always going to get a gamer that just wants to shoot things"
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a hit with the critics, but how do you make sure a fairly niche Japanese title, created in conjuction with a niche Japanese animation studio, actually sells to gamers? The man responsible for that in the UK says it's all about community.
"Our games are very fan focused the majority of the time, so working closely with the fans is important to us," explains Lee Kirton, UK marketing and PR director at Namco Bandai Partners.
" We don't just throw hundreds of thousands of pounds at TV or cinema [advertising], but we truly evaluate who are market is, how to engage with our markets effectively and how to really push word of mouth. We are very used to not marketing the 'obvious' western title so we focus heavily on PR, video content, fan engagement, community, targeted spend online, special editions, competitions, events and debates."
"We don't just throw hundreds of thousands of pounds at TV or cinema [advertising]."
Ni No Kuni goes on sale on February 1, and while Kirton agrees there's a growing market for Japanese games in the UK, there's a part of the gaming audience that's always going to fear anything that doesn't involve a gun and a military haircut.
"Many fans in Europe appreciate Japanese development, Japanese titles, and RPGs, and we are working hard to build this market in the UK."
"But you're always going to get a gamer that just wants to shoot things, and many that want to play action adventures. Ni No Kuni (putting the name and studio aside) is actually a very western RPG action-adventure which has had some amazing localisation."
"I believe it's a market that will grow over time as the industry changes, however it's always going to be tougher to convince some gamers to try something new, and that's just the way it is."