The Hype Train: Elder Scrolls Online

If you have ever set foot in the world of Tamriel, especially in Bethesda’s latest blockbuster title Skyrim, then you’ve already heard about it: Elder Scrolls Online. The reigns have been handed over to another development studio strictly for an MMORPG implementation, and it’s no doubt that the next installment of The Elder Scrolls series is already bloated with hype and anticipation. As gaming YouTuber’s, when and where do we begin to look at this title in order to cover it for our channels? Let’s take a closer look at how we can ride the hype train for ZeniMax Studio’s The Elder Scrolls Online.

“MMORPG’s are a unique beast when it comes to YouTube content.”

Past Experiences

MMORPG’s are a unique beast when it comes to YouTube content. The market has become saturated with a variety of titles, some of which were fueled by multi-million dollar budgets in order to grab some market share that Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft has expanded. Because of these budgets, the variable size of the market, and rigorous advertising campaigns, pre-launch hype for MMORPG titles exceeds super-saiyan power levels.  (Yes Nappa, OVER 9000!) This hype largely dies off after launch–not necessarily because the title is poor, but simply because everyone who was hyped about the game is actually playing the game. Because more individuals are playing the game, they are spending less time searching the internet for tidbits of information about it.

I have personally observed these trends among several past MMORPG pre-launches and launches, including: BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, Trion Worlds’ Rift, ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2, and Cryptic Studio’s Neverwinter. In each case, pre-launch hype leads to a larger quantity of game-related searches, which then reduce in number periodically after the game’s launch. I would predict (in my opinion) that Elder Scrolls Online will align with this trend, and therefore: producing content pre-launch for ESO will allow you far greater reach in the market.

“Once the game title launches, the number of individuals producing video content will skyrocket, and you will have to compete…”

Pre-Launch Content Advantages

Not many realize this, but pre-launch is a great time to release content for a game and generate a fanbase–especially for MMORPG titles. Few have access to the game in general, so visual content is scarce. There is generally less competition during this time–at least in terms of video production–so the likelihood of your video showing up in a related search is far greater. Once the game title launches, the number of individuals producing video content will skyrocket, and you will have to compete with all of them for attention and views. Because content in general is scarce during the pre-launch time, you also have the chance of your video production being picked up by a fan site, allowing you free promotion directly to your target audience. If it’s so advantageous to create content earlier in the launch cycle, why don’t more people do it?  The simple answer is: you can’t make content on a game that you can’t play.

The Secret

I’ll let you in on a little secret: that last sentence is entirely false. It’s actually quite simple to produce video content without having any access to the game whatsoever. You will need to utilize anything that is officially (and sometimes, unofficially) released about the game and repackage it in your own, entertaining way. Some ideas might include: screenshot montages (with a great soundtrack to drive it) that show how development of the game has improved over time; news segments that cover recent developments in the game and show off new screenshots & videos while analyzing them; information “so-far” videos that accumulate details on the game and present them in a logical way; or speculation videos that simply allow you (and potentially others) to convey your predictions, hopes, and anticipations about the game.

If Elder Scrolls Online interests you and you’d like your YouTube Channel to benefit, then now is the time! Remember that, just because you may make pre-launch content, doesn’t mean that you can’t make normal content after the game is out. You can do both! You may even aid the success of your post-launch video content by creating an audience from your pre-launch endeavors that persists and maintains interest in your brand. I hope this article helps in understanding how you can utilize hype to help grow your own audience and fanbase. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing some great pre-launch ESO content in the near future.

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