Dreams: Ideas to boost awareness
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
Dreams is a new game from respected British studio, Media Molecule. The official website describes Dreams as;
Dreams™ is a space where you go to play and experience the dreams of Media Molecule and our community. It’s also a space in which to create your own dreams, whether they’re games, art, films, music or anything in-between and beyond.
The problem I perceive with Dreams is while awareness of the game can be described as good, I would argue that awareness of what the game is, how it plays and what gamers can expect is very, very, low.
Based on this I wanted to put forward ideas I would look to implement were I charged with raising awareness of Dreams. These ideas should be taken with a pinch of salt. They don’t, and cannot, take into account any future plans the team at Media Molecule already have, nor can they be based off a budget the team have been given. I have kept all my ideas realistic (no branding the Moon) and with the core goal of raising game and game-play awareness. These are my views and not those of media molecule
The Problem (as I perceive): Dreams does not have strong awareness around the core game
The Solution (I believe): Awareness strategies, listed below.
VidCon is a multi-genre online video conference, held annually in Southern California since 2010.
VidCon is a destination for influencers from all platforms of all sizes. A place where creators come to share, learn and network. A place where Dreams can be presented to an audience that can amplify the message of Dreams before, during, and after launch.
A Dreams presence could be established at VidCon, with two clear goals:
- Prior to the event, reach out to creators and book in one on one time with them to demonstrate dreams. The concept behind this is to show them what Dreams is, what it allows them to do, and the kind of content they can create should they showcase Dreams on their channel(s). This allows the Dreams team to build connections with creators of all sizes, from all platforms and from many different locations, developing personal relationships and bonds. In addition, it also makes outreach come milestones and launch much easier and more meaningful.
- Have a walk in / open area: It would be impossible to reach all creators, as such having an open / walk in area for those interested in coming by also allows the Media Molecule team to widen the net of creators they can reach.
The primary goal of this awareness idea is to reach creators / influencers who could create content for Dreams; building relations and a network of people who the team at Media Molecule can collaborate with to help push Dreams to a large network of passionate fans.
Cost: High (Travel, Booth, and Set Up)
Effectiveness: Medium – High (the pre-event outreach is key to obtaining high effectiveness)
TwitchCon is a convention for the live streaming video platform Twitch.tv devoted to Twitch and the culture of video game streaming. The first convention was held in 2015
This awareness idea is very similar to the aforementioned VidCon idea, however, as TwitchCon celebrates Twitch, its broadcasters and fans, this presences would be tailored to suit this unique event.
Having a Dreams presence at TwitchCon would allow the team to reach a very target, platform specific, audience. The presence at TwitchCon would follow the same approach as VidCon; private one on one showcase of Dreams to creators (pre-arranged) as well as a walk in area for those interested in the game.
The one difference at TwitchCon would be a streamer area, for pre-approved content. Prior to the event select streamers would be contacted, and paid, to run sponsored streams to their channels from TwitchCon. These streamers would be chosen based on their audience, for example, while summit1g has a large following, Dreams is not the kind of game he normally plays, you would instead reach out to streamers who are interested in the creation aspect and have an audience who would be engaged and inspired by this content. These sponsored streams would run for 1-2 hours and could either be done solo by the creator or they could be partnered with a member of the Media Molecule team who can help them as well as answer questions they or the audience has.
The goal with this event is to raise awareness with potential streamers who could create and support Dreams at launch, as well as building awareness with an audience through sponsored streams live from the convention floor.
Cost: High (Travel, Booth, Set Up)
Effectiveness: Medium – High (the pre-event outreach is key to obtaining high effectiveness)
Influencer x Dreams Spotlight:
An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience.
Following the TwitchCon concept of partnering with Influencers to showcase Dreams content, I would pursue a partnership with 4-5 influencers to highlight key concepts of Dreams.
Each influencer would be given a set theme, similar to a game jam, they would then be tasked with creating content around this theme – for example a YouTube video, a blog post, whatever. This content would then be part of a full week’s worth of content around this theme, for example:
- Monday: Influencers content goes live on their channel and is cross-shared by Media Molecule
- Wednesday: Blog Article released on Media Molecule channel and shared across Social. This would be an interview with the Influencer on their experiences with Dreams and the theme they were given
- Friday: Influencer sponsored stream (if applicable)
These days would be based off of the best practices of Media Molecule (i.e. maybe their audience best engages on Tuesdays).
The goal with this idea is to engage with influencers, ideally those met at VidCon / TwitchCon, and partner with them to create content for Dreams. By setting each influencer a different theme we ensure the content is not stale between influencers. The influencer gets sponsored, potential early (or launch) access to Dreams as well as cross promotion. Dreams and Media Molecule get to work with an established influencer and share Dreams with his or her audience, building awareness of the awesome content.
In addition, if this challenge is done at launch the influencers content will be available in the game, this leaves a great Call to Action: “Play @Influencers content in Dreams today!”.
Cost: Low-Medium (sponsorship of creator)
PlayStation x Dreams Spotlight:
PlayStation are fortunate enough to have numerous high profile, public and open personalities; such as Shuhei Yoshida, Neil Druckmann and Cory Barlog. These personalities often cross promote other PlayStation exclusive titles and conduct cross-game interviews and content; such as Neil Druckmann (Naughty Dog) interviewing Hermen Hulst (Guerrilla Games).
The aforementioned interview is the inspiration for this idea, a series of informal interviews and game sessions with names such as Yoshida, Druckman, Barlog, and more.
The goal would be to place members of Media Molecule in close interview situations with these personalities, while the game is played, explored and explained. This would open Dreams up to the wider PlayStation audience as well as creating unique content between game developers and creators.
This content would take the form of YouTube style interviews, with key snippets being broken up for social media to push to the longer, unedited, video.
Little Big Planet Creator x Dreams Spotlight:
Little Big Planet, commonly abbreviated LBP, is a puzzle platform video game series created by Media Molecule and published by Sony Computer Entertainment on multiple PlayStation platforms.
Little Big Planet, the original hit from Media Molecule, has a large and diverse creator base. During the Influncers x Dreams spotlight, working with this established audience and fan base will be key; however, I think you can take this collaboration one step further.
Taking inspiration from the Noclip Sessions series, I would suggest reaching out to key Little Big Planet creators and influencers and interviewing them about their Little Big Planet journey, what they loved most, what their favourite memories were – this would be a casual interview style with cuts to LBP gameplay from that creator. This interview would then transition into a conversation on Dreams and what they’re looking forward too about the game.
The goal with this video series is to collaborate with Little Big Planet creators and transition the narrative from Little Big Planet to Dreams, education their audience on the game.
I would strongly suggest these videos be allowed to live on the creators channel as well as Media Molecules, increasing the reach.
Cost: Low – Medium (depends if you do on-site interviews)
Effectiveness: Low - Medium
Feature Spotlights / #ThisIsDreams:
Dreams has a lot of key and interesting features, features that, as have been explained and shown to me, are better showcased in isolation to better explain the core concepts before showing how these features interact with one another.
My suggestion would be to take each feature and break it down for consumption, for example, let’s say we take the audio creation feature:
- Monday: Small, 30-60 second, video clips for Social that outline that Dreams has an audio creation feature
- Tuesday: 3-5minute video outlining the audio creation feature and how it can be use
- Wednesday: In-depth blog post, for those hardcore users, outlining the audio feature
- Thursday: New 30 second trailer asking for questions on the audio feature and promoting a live stream of this feature on Friday
- Friday: Twitch live stream of the audio creation feature, purely focussed on this and taking Q&A from the live chat as well as those questions from Thursday
By doing this for each feature, over the course of a few weeks, you outline the core creation tools and depth Dreams has to a creative audience, without overwhelming them all at once with the vast tool set that will be available to them.
I would also suggest doing the above approach purely for gameplay, this is a tricky balancing act for Dreams. I believe you want to promote the creation tools to creators; however, you also need to make sure and promote the gameplay elements for those who are more interested in consuming content versus creating.
Podcast / Show Appearances:
A podcast, or generically netcast, is an episode series of digital audio or video files which a user can download and listen to.
Reach is a key metrics for Dreams at this stage, and going “on the road” with guest appearances on video game and entertainment podcasts / video series will be crucial.
I would create an exhaustive list of podcasts, YouTube shows, Twitch streams, magazines and more that cover video games and make sense for Dreams. I would then rank these shows from Gold to Bronze, Gold being the most influential and Bronze being least. After this I would then look to appear on every show from the Gold to Silver range, and as many Bronze shows as time allows.
The goal with this strategy is vast coverage of Dreams, from audiences such as Kinda Funny with hundreds of thousands of listeners down to smaller channels such as Zero Life with hundreds of listeners. While these grass roots channels with lower viewers may seem less appealing, they still have an audience and furthermore allow the team at Media Molecule to constantly refine and shape their promotional presentation of Dreams. There is actually an argument to be made that you should start with the Bronze tier shows, allowing you to interact with a smaller audience to determine what does and does not work with your marketing approach, prior to appearing on larger shows such as Beyond or Easy Allies.
And there we go! Some ideas I believe would greatly impact the awareness of Dreams and the game it will be at launch. As I mention, these ideas are my own and do not take into account the current or future plans of Media Molecule, this was purely a fun and creative exercise.
What ideas would you implement to raise awareness?
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