The Importance of Marketing Bayonetta 2 - Article

By Stephen C. Barrett, August 30, 2014
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Nintendo’s marketing for its Wii U console has been met with little positivity thus far.  One of the biggest impediments to the system establishing its identity early on was that many people thought that the Gamepad was merely an add-on peripheral for the original Wii console.  Nintendo has made strides to rectify this problem, but many would still agree that their advertising regarding software remains scarce. 

Mario Kart 8’s promotion earlier this year, including plentiful TV ads, a free game offer, and even a McDonald’s campaign, was certainly a step in the right direction, but Nintendo needs to keep the momentum going forward.  Aside from their big holiday title, Super Smash Bros., no upcoming game for Wii U this year is in more need of a proper advertising campaign than Platinum Games’ Bayonetta 2.

Back in September of 2012, the internet exploded when Nintendo announced that Bayonetta 2, the sequel to the original Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 title, was officially a Wii U exclusive.  The first Bayonetta sold just over 2 million copies between both consoles and seeing as how so many vocal fans of the original game lamented the sequel’s existence on a console that some of them never intended on purchasing, it’s safe to say that the series has amassed a pretty passionate fan base.  This presents an added challenge for Nintendo to not only advertise the mature-rated title accordingly, but also successfully lure the game’s established fan base over to Wii U. 

Television advertising for games can be very important.  Both Sony and Microsoft have had several game commercials during one of TV’s most popular shows, The Walking Dead, including, appropriately, ads for Capcom’s Resident Evil 6 when the game launched.  When the Wii U hit the market in November of 2012 with Ubisoft’s exclusive launch game, ZombiU, it was a perfect opportunity for Nintendo to advertise during The Walking Dead; an opportunity that was ignored.  Ironically, Bayonetta 2 is releasing in October in the West – the very same month that The Walking Dead makes its return.  Ads for the mature-rated game would certainly not go unnoticed.

Nintendo does seem to be taking some necessary steps in ensuring that Bayonetta 2 is well received, particularly with the inclusion of the original Bayonetta for free with the game.  Presumably, much of the Wii U’s audience has not experienced the original game and this is a wonderful opportunity for them to do just that. 

There is even a fan-created movement called “#OperationPlatinum”; an effort to rally gamers and achieve 1 million in sales for Bayonetta 2, but Nintendo themselves need to be especially aggressive in getting the word out.  The first game developed by Platinum Games for Wii U, The Wonderful 101, was a brand new intellectual property that received very poor sales largely due to a profound lack of marketing and customer awareness.  Nintendo cannot let Bayonetta 2’s Wii U debut follow the same fate.

Platinum has even expressed interest in keeping the franchise exclusive to Nintendo, which could certainly be a major boon for the publisher and a chance for them to establish a mature-rated, character-driven series as a Nintendo associative and add some much needed diversity to their own legendary stable of icons.

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