Street Fighter is only THE biggest fighting game franchise on the planet, with three decades of existence and millions of supporters around the world. It is the foundation of what has become known as the Fighting Game Community that compete and connect through fighting game tournaments, competitions, online fights, and social media (especially YouTube).
But on February 16th 2016, the much-awaited new installment of this series, Street Fighter 5, stared at the all of its expectations… and flinched!
Don’t get me wrong, the actual mechanics of the game were absolutely brilliant! From the graphics, to the systems, everything was beautiful to experience, and definitely more accessible than the previous Street Fighter games. This was aimed at bringing in more casual gamers, while maintaining depth for the hardcore gamer.
The game launched missing some of the most basic, and yet crucial options. No Arcade mode; bad servers meaning people struggled to connect online and fight other players; incomplete story mode; bare-bones training mode…
For all the talk of wanting to bring in the more casual gamers, the missing parts were actually the very parts that would make it palatable to a casual gamer.
In essence, Street Fighter 5 launched as an incomplete game!
Well, here’s 5 things I learnt from this:
As I’ve said, this franchise is huge! I mean, some of the competitions for this game give prizes upwards of $100,000. For a video-game?! So you can imagine the hype-train that this game generated, especially because of the beta-tests that allowed people to have access to one aspect of the game so that the developers could see how the game was working and could make tweaks before the final launch.
One of those tweaks would’ve been to their servers, which handle all the traffic from various parts of the world. Yet, the servers were terrible for the first few days after launch!
Street Fighter 5 was sold full-price, without full functionality. Is that what we do sometimes? Get people to pay full attention to our episodes or posts, yet only give them half-hearted content?
Imagine this: You have a pre-launch of some product with 3 videos. You get lots of traffic through affiliates and social media. But then, your final product is just the same three videos, plus two more…. Oh and you charge people $100!
You’d be a fraud! You’ve built hype, for something that doesn’t live up to it.
Your content must be good. It must be fully functional and able to be of benefit to those who consume it. So take advantage of the fact that you can “grow as you go” with a podcast/blog and take the journey towards that level of awesome you’re aiming for.
If you’re stagnant though… You’re a fraud!
One of the big innovations in this game was its accessibility for newcomers. It was going to be easier to do some of the more difficult elements of play. Yet basic functions were missing, which negatively impacted the very audience this game was supposedly targeting!
I realised I was doing this with my podcast. I want to teach people how to podcast, but I don’t have an episode on how to pick the right microphones! So stupid! I should have one, but it’s not there.
Trying to be cool, the basics of podcasting were sacrificed. Heck I even have an episode on goal-setting (hey, it was January!).
Are you missing any basic topics n your history? Have you assumed your audience has a certain level of knowledge that they may not have? Look back and fill in the gaps.
The more noise you make about what you do, the more authentic that noise better be!
Is your marketing realistic?
I saw a podcast that claimed to be the “biggest podcast in Africa”. That’s a very bold claim, which boldly failed. I couldn’t find other websites sharing its links in the last year, and it has terrible production quality (even though it’s run by a media company).
It’s better if you take your podcast, be consistent, create great content, and have a social strategy that has the long haul in mind. Start by sharing with those you can, even your own social networks. Then grow it as you’re validated and improve.
Your marketing needs to be realistic.
The truth is this game should have probably launched later. And they could have. Games have delayed their launches before, and still succeeded. Why the rush? There were some reasons that centered around getting the tournament players to have the game in hand so they can prepare for upcoming competitions (again, not the casual gamer that was targeted).
You will come across this opportunity many times. Whether it’s an episode that still needs more research, or a product that has a few kinks in it, you and your audience are better served if you take a little bit more time to fix what needs to be fixed.
Some would use the term “launch and iterate” as an excuse to just go ahead. But you should know that the “launch” part of that phrase presupposes a usable level of functionality. Nobody will buy a phone that will only get SMS functionality later.
Take the time necessary to ensure you do something well. You have a reputation to nurture… which leads to the next point.
With all that said and done, Capcom, the developers of Street Fighter, have actually improved their tactics with this game. How so?
They have already given tentative dates of when the missing elements will be available. They have given players a way of getting paid content for free through playing lots of matches. And generally, they are a lot better towards the Fighting Game Community.
There was a narrative at play even before this game launched, and anyone who was honest could say “we know that they have heard us and will fix what’s wrong”.
Can you do this? Have you found out what your reputation is to your listeners?
This requires authentic audience engagement, which can only happen through engaging content!
I’m still on my journey with this one, but whenever I get feedback, I respond and ask even more questions. You can’t miss opportunities to gauge where you are in your audience’s eyes (or ears…for a podcast).
What other product launches or marketing mishaps can you think of? What have they taught you about podcasting/blogging.
You can learn from anywhere if you look.
Thanks for letting me geek out for a bit 🙂
Don’t just think about it. Do it!