Sep 9, 2013
Grand Theft Auto. We’ve all heard of it, whether for good or bad. And the new instalment, GTA V, set for release on September 17th, is no exception. It’s a sure-fire hit, yet will almost certainly create controversy and backlash.
What you cannot deny, is that Rockstar know how to promote and market their products, with this upcoming game being at the forefront of their catalogue. It is hard to escape the campaign wherever you are, advertising in so many different formats. It’s on television, YouTube, huge billboards in major cities, and as I found out myself, even at music festivals in-between acts. Their audience is captivated, and salivating at the thought of getting their hands on the game.
But what is intriguing is just how they have built up the marketing over months, and even years. Initially, they had a countdown timer for a mere first trailer, showing just how keen GTA fans are for even a morsel of information on the series. The hype is extraordinarily high, and the trick is, Rockstar is sure to deliver. Their adverts provide examples of the story, the improved gameplay mechanics, and the classic adrenaline fuelled carnage that the series is known and loved for. Revealing more of this over time has proved successful, keeping fans primed for the next update, and the eventual release.
Their harkening back to previous games also helps, sympathising with long-time fans’ nostalgia and the hours spent in San Andreas in 2004, as they mentioned the return of the infamous pedal bike, alongside the vast map that this game popularised, including Vinewood. This proves they listen to fans, of whom many were disappointed by GTA IV’s lack of planes and smaller map, and have improved on many aspects that were criticised. Aside from this, they have also innovated in ways many games don’t, including having three lead characters, and announcing a unique online mode; allowing you to choose between either helping or harassing your friends in a virtual recreation of America.
The release has been delayed from Q2; something that was inevitably going to frustrate such a loyal fanbase, however demonstrates they are dedicated to producing the best game possible, choosing to delay rather than release it unfinished. Pre-order bonuses, including shirts and posters, aim to increase sales before the game is even released. Many stores, including UK high street retailer GAME, are having midnight openings for the game, highlighting its importance.
Arguably, GTA needs very little advertising, with its dedicated fan base and established reputation as one of the most inventive and quality franchises of the past decade. Nevertheless, Rockstar has invested a lot of time and money into such a large marketing campaign. Clearly their objective is to bring new fans to the franchise, and it will be interesting to see whether any of the previous titles see a resurgence in popularity once these new fans have finished with the latest instalment.
As one of the last major franchise releases before the new generation of consoles dawns on us in late November, the current generation is sure to go out with a bang. I for one am a sucker for the hype, and cannot wait.