iPhone Game PR – A Case Study

IGN Real Racing

Australian mobile developer Firemint came to us a few months ago with one goal in mind: to make their new iPhone game stand out among the crowd. Of course, this is no small task given the extraordinary rate of proliferation of iPhone games appearing on the App Store since the beginning of the year. But Firemint had something unique: a car racing simulator called Real Racing that had been in development for more than a year and specifically designed with the unique feature set of the iPhone and iPod touch in mind.

Firemint’s unique challenge was that they had a little over two months to officially announce, promote, and differentiate Real Racing from the competition before it launched. And the main competitor in this instance was EA’s Need for Speed iPhone title, a game launching in the same period that had enjoyed months of marketing and PR support from the industry’s biggest game publisher.

Talk about an underdog situation.

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Notes from the PR Underground

There’s been a lot of talk online over the past couple of days about Claire Cain Miller’s recent New York Times article (“case study” might be a more accurate description) on the state of tech PR. It’s an interesting and somewhat short sighted, look into the professional (and personal) life of PR veteran Brooke Hammerling. Unfortunately, like many articles that offer a peek into the world of public relations, there’s a fair amount of misconception of what a PR professional actually does on a daily basis.

Hammerling is a successful publicist, and it should be obvious to anyone remotely familiar with PR that there is more to her process than setting up meetings and “whispering in the ear” of industry insiders. I’d argue that Hammerling is at a point in her career where her main role is to make high-level connections and leverage the relationships she’s built over time to benefit her agency and its client roster. Miller, in my opinion, uses this profile to generalize tech public relations with a set of enduring PR flack stereotypes – name dropping, schmoozing at expensive parties and the consumption of delicious green Jolly Ranchers (wait. what?).

There are a lot of aspects related to my profession absent from this article. Where in the story does Miller talk about the hours spent drafting and perfecting press materials, developing messaging, and creating six month tactical timelines? What about tailoring pitches to target journos, constantly researching the competitive landscape, providing strategic counsel, media training, or event planning?

Maintaining relationships (“whispering in ears”), proving your worth as an experienced professional (name dropping) and attending industry events (expensive parties with Aerosmith) are all important parts of being a PR professional, but there’s a lot more work that goes into being a successful PR person. (honest!)

The TriplePoint Summer Internship Program

This could be you
This could be you

TriplePoint is looking for a few good interns to join our team in San Francisco this summer! If you’re currently enrolled in a four year degree program and have an interest in interactive entertainment public relations, you could be the newest addition to our team.  Click through for more about us, the position and to submit your resume for consideration …

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Gatheryn Announced!

Fans of online games and the Victoriana aesthetic will be happy to know that they have a virtual world to call their own in Gatheryn.

Announced yesterday by MindFuse Games, Gatheryn immerses players into a world where steam powers everything, creativity is encouraged and fun is required.

Say the nice folks over at AOL’s online gaming blog:  

The focus seems casual, although the graphics are quite strapping for an independent game. MindFuse promises character customization, apartments, and puzzles, while specifically singling out violent conflict as a no-go. It seems to be a mostly laid back, friendly, social affair, but aimed at grown ups rather than pre-teens, in contrast to a lot of other casual titles.

Check out more coverage!

Kotaku: http://kotaku.com/5070626/gatheryn-+-a-steampunk-mmo-for-casual-gamers

Massively: http://www.massively.com/2008/10/30/mindfuses-the-world-of-gatheryn-detailed-kinda-dated/

Ten Ton Hammer: http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/47577

WarCry: http://www.warcry.com/news/view/87094-Gatheryn-Announced-for-2009

Worlds In Motion: http://www.worldsinmotion.biz/2008/10/mindfuse_officially_announces.php