For example, last month Activision sold 5.6 million copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops on the first day of the game's release.
Future Publishing owns many of the video games media brands, which often focus on individual consoles or manufacturers, such as the PlayStation2 Official Magazine, Xbox 360 and Official Nintendo Magazine.
But its global online games brand GamesRadar has a broader focus, publishing features, news and reviews on games. The main content is produced by teams in the UK and US, but each territory retains control over its own homepage. There are plans for further launches in France and Italy.
The site has just promoted Matt Cundy to editor. He says he will stick to the same editorial strategy as his predecessor, which is to attempt to differentiate the site from its rivals by focusing on original features rather than purely reviews. But he says he will introduce more video to the site. He is also keen to raise the profile of the brand in the UK. Indeed, many PROs contacted by PRWeek said they did not target the site because it was too specialist.
Tom Chapman, social media strategist at digital PR agency Headstream, says: 'Globally, GamesRadar faces stiff competition from sites and blogs with massive readerships, for example, Kotaku and IGN.'
But the site's engaged audience is an attractive proposition for PROs. At the last readership survey, Games- Radar defined its audience as dedicated 20-something males who play a staggering 23 hours of video games per week. Cundy says that readers 'are after more than just information; they want something a bit more engaging and more thought-provoking'. He adds: 'We are not just a news site. Often, we won't be covering the sort of things we receive.'
Stefano Petrullo, specialist PR manager at video games publisher Ubisoft, says: 'GamesRadar's articles are different from the usual previews and reviews other websites tend to run.'
Lunch PR senior account manager Mark Robins agrees: 'GamesRadar is a rare change from the increasingly quick-fire, news-led approach most games websites aspire to. It is as close as games sites get to tabloid journalism, in a good way. Features often offer a sensationalist spin, but there's a distinct edict of enthusiasm and humour throughout that its readership recognises and expects.'
Chapman is less convinced that the content is unique, apart from the cheats section, but says the site's advantage is being part of a wider publishing group that can syndicate content from other games/tech publications, helping to tap into a wider audience.
- Unique users 574,132 per month (October 2010 UK; Source: Google Analytics)
- Target readership Men in their twenties
Editor Matt Cundy; firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate editor Nathan Irvine; email@example.com
Content editor David Houghton; firstname.lastname@example.org
A MINUTE WITH ... MATT CUNDY, EDITOR, GAMESRADAR
- What changes do you plan to bring to your new role?
The overall vision is not going to change. My main focus will be the UK team, raising its reputation and brand visibility, and pushing the personality of the site. We will be developing new areas of original content and using more video.
- What are GamesRadar's editorial values?
The site was relaunched in 2005 and since then there has been a very clear editorial vision of original content, which is still being carried through today. So, we want quirky left-field stuff and creative features that you would not expect to see on other sites.
- What makes a good story?
Some of the best stuff for the site could be as simple as an image, as long as it is something original or bespoke. That is the sort of content I would like to push. I would rather GamesRader be the site that people are going to first and linking to. The sort of word-of-mouth, pass it along content is what we want.
- Advice for PR professionals
It is weird, because we do create a lot of the content ourselves. I also always advise PROs to keep us in the loop with everything, because you never know what we might spin out of a story, or if it might come in handy for a feature.
I would rather be in the loop for everything.