This is the second article of a two part blog post:
- Step by step guide to research your competitor’s games
- Competitor analysis – Example
I hope this competitor analysis example helps you identify the most important things to look at.
Scenario: We’re currently developing a first-Person 3D game that sets a focus on exploration and survival on an alien planet. Goal of the game is to build a self-sufficient space station, using advanced mining tools and local resources to find your way back home.
The game concept stands and is currently in an early stage of development, good timing to plan a content strategy.
To get a good idea of what a successful strategy within this genre looks like we’re going to look at competitors.
In our case a close competitor would be “Planet Nomads” which will launch later in 2016
First of all determining the questions you hope to answer, they might look like this:
- How similar is their game to our fictional one?
- What were their past marketing strategies?
- Do they share the same strengths and weaknesses?
- How big of a “threat” are they actually to us?
1. Where is the “main “content at?
Content strategy relies on blog, press kit, FAQs, Social Media channels and Steam page.
2. Actual content analysis
|Content form/Channel||Frequency||Topics covered||Address|
|Blog||~ 1 post every two weeks||Images, General Info, Events||https://www.planet-nomads.com/blog/|
|~ 1 post every week||Blog, gamegifs, imagery, general info||https://www.facebook.com/PlanetNomads|
|~ 1 per day||Fun related posts, gamegifs, imagery, general info, links to stream, events, pics of team working||https://twitter.com/PlanetNomads|
|YouTube||~ 1 video per month||Dev-Journal, team video with thank you for kickstarter, VR||https://www.youtube.com/c/planetnomads|
|Trello||frequently updated||Progress updates: To-do, Doing right now, nice to have, done april, done march, done…||https://trello.com/b/theYNOul/planet-nomads-development-overview|
|Not actively moderated by staff||Somewhat active community with about 250 subs and 20 posts/day with topics mostly from press releases and videos||https://www.reddit.com/r/planetnomads|
|GameWiki||Frequently updated||Everything ingame related, over 450 articles according||http://planetnomads.gamepedia.com/Planet_Nomads_Wiki|
3. Quality of content
How accurate is their content?
Hard to tell since game isn’t released yet, judging their reputation the content will be most likely accurate.
Are there spelling errors or grammar mistakes?
After looking through hours’ worth of content, I didn’t notice any major mistakes or a pattern of errors.
How in depth does the content go?
Blog, Social Media, Trello are all quite full of detail but the game wiki kicks it up a notch and goes hugely (like you would expect from a wiki) into detail. A lot of work must have been put into this resource for players.
What tone do they adopt in their content?
Craneballs puts a heavy emphasize on “sci-fi sandbox game of creation and survival”.
The general tone is positive, friendly and personal. Trello helps to convey a transparent studio voice to the public.
Content long or short?
Generally speaking, most of their content seems to be detailed and purposeful. Blogposts help to tell the story of game development, gamewiki tells how the game works from a meta POV, Journal videos show the current state of the game. Overall I’d say their content is way longer and detailed than most games.
Content structured in a readable way?
I feel that as a new visitor the content seems overwhelming. Blog and YouTube suggest that there is an ongoing series happening (Nomadic Journals #2, #3, etc.) and that might put me off if I have to figure out where to start getting the most basic information.
Then again they have a FAQ to help prevent that.
Who is writing their content?
Most of their Blog articles were written (or at least published) by Daniel, the community manager. I assume that he also handles PR and other relations.
Overall I’d say that the state of quality CraneBalls is trying to provide is quite good. They go heavily into detail and leave no questions unanswered. Looking at all content published, quite a bit of work and effort must be going into it on a frequent basis.
4. Social Media integration
Craneballs pretty much covered every important channel they could have covered. Even the subreddit seems quite active with about 20-30 posts/day.
The follower numbers seem to be growing constantly (especially with closed beta coming up). Only thing I can point out is share-ability of blog posts suffer if you don’t provide a handy “Share this article now” function. Although, manual sharing via twitter and facebook is of course still the way to go and that is what Craneball sets on.
Most press articles I found were in German, now I don’t know if this is Googles doing because I live in Germany or simply the fact that it is a Czech developer close to German news outlets.
From what I can tell, Craneballs has an amazing content strategy in place and really show how it should be done. There are some tiny things they could improve on but that won’t stop them from being financially successful, the Kickstarter just showed that they’re on the right track.
The Blog is detailed and full of progress updates, the GameWiki goes into detail about the meta game, YouTube is for publishing journals and trailers and the other channels just further promote on their working content.
If I can take something away, then being transparent and open with the community is a key here. Trello really helps with that transparency.
The game itself seems quite similar to our game concept and can be seen as a direct competitor in the “sci-fi exploration” genre.
Now since our fictional studio doesn’t have a similar budget it might look intimidating but we should still be able to focus on the most important learnings from this analysis:
Frequent quality content, regularly (and multiple times) promoted on Social Media, open and transparent communication with potential fans, press kit with frequent reach out to gaming journalists (in various countries & languages).