How to make a splash at The Game Awards
Splash Damage are one of our favourite clients. Whether they're working with new IP, or existing worlds like Gears of War and Halo, they're dedicated to producing brilliant games, at a studio that focuses on inclusion, respect, and trust.
So, when they came to us for help with a new game announcement - a high profile title set in the Transformers universe, called Transformers: Reactivate, to be revealed in front of millions of people at The Game Awards - we said yes! After all, it's what Optimus Prime would want us to do.
We've got plenty of experience with very public, time-critical website launches. Whether it's The Game Awards, Gamescom, E3, or another event entirely, we've been there. That said, these things are never easy.
At events like these, studios and publishers (rightly!) have high expectations - complete secrecy until the precise moment of the reveal, near instantaneous launch, and extreme load requirements. Live streamed events can attract many millions of viewers, and although not all of them go searching for your site immediately, it's enough to put websites under strain if you've not taken precautions.
Plus, every website has a purpose. With a highly visible launch like this one, the goal is always to provide the next "stepping stone". Those initial visitors have likely seen your trailer during the show. So, what do we want them to do on the site? Continue that experience and their personal journey with the product.
For some fans, this will be watching the trailer again. Others will enjoy the highly branded content and salivate over the additional information provided in the website copy. Depending on your project, you may be in a position to accept pre-orders, or Steam wishlists.
On this project, the most critical outcome for us all was newsletter signups, which would be a clear sign that the game is resonating with potential players and create an easy path towards future engagement.
Before we worried about the launch, we had to create something worth launching.
That's where PlayCMS comes in. It's our suite of tools, built on Orchard Core, that allows game studios and publishers to create flexible websites, with features tailored towards the videogames industry.
On top of this framework, we built bespoke styles and widgets to create a simple - but effective - site for Transformers: Reactivate, in keeping with the strong existing Hasbro brand, as well as Splash Damage's unique take on it. With a strong focus on the reveal trailer media, and angled, futuristic touches throughout, the site evokes what players will experience when the game launches.
With the site created, we set about optimising it as much as possible - in terms of delivering those all-important goals, driving users towards the trailer and the newsletter signup functionality, integrated with a CRM. Additionally, we worked hard on the loading speed and other key metrics to try and ensure uptime, stability, and a snappy experience for visitors.
Thanks to the hard work of our creative development team, the site was quickly designed, built, tested, and launched - precisely on time during The Game Awards, which was watched by a massive 103 million viewers.
And thanks to our PlayCMS platform, the site remained stable and responsive, despite the huge influx of traffic. In the hours that followed, it delivered on every metric we had - thousands of visitors, thousands of trailer views on our site, and thousands of those all-important newsletter signups.
We think that's a rollout worthy of the Autobots. A prime-time launch, transformed.
"They came up with unique solutions, and fun quirks in their designs, to really elevate the project into something far more than we’d hoped. The team are a pleasure to work with, and we can’t wait to do more with them in the coming year."
At Etch Play, we help games businesses to strategise and grow - whether they're already well established or at the start of a new journey. To find out more about how we can help you, get in touch.