Fear of Missing Out or FOMO is such a common emotion in humans that it has its own detailed Wikipedia page. Social media has pushed FOMO to its logical extreme (by making sure that you know your friends are having fun without you) but it’s something that runs right through the fabric of modern life. And, while it might sound a bit cruel, FOMO is a popular marketing tactic in the video games industry and the wider entertainment industry, even including slots and bingo.
Resident Evil Village
Beta tests, time-limited items, and rare game editions all tug at the anxiety centers of our brains. To use an example from an upcoming game, Resident Evil Village, there’s a limited collector’s edition up for pre-order as well as a standard edition that comes with two pieces DLC – but only if the title is purchased before launch day on April 5.
A pair of demos accompany the build-up to the game’s release too. The twist being that the demos were only available for a few hours at a time. Another way of building hype in the community, even for just a demo. After all, people will seek any content before a game’s launch.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The hype for Resident Evil Village is enormous but it’s hardly the first game to build a following long before release. Witcher 3, for example, cost $81m to make but only $25m of that went into building the game. The rest of the budget went on marketing and creating physical products to accompany the launch. Notably, Witcher 3 had several CGI trailers used for world-building rather than for gameplay or story reveals.
This is where FOMO can become a problem, though. The pre-launch gameplay videos designed to drive us all into frenzy don’t always represent the final product, meaning that all that FOMO could have been for nothing.
Participation in a game’s development is supposed to be rewarding for both players and developers though. Overall, it usually is – to the extent that the game launch as a big event has parallels in other areas of gaming. We’ve looked at game demos to build launch excitement, but online casinos have their own methods to excite players.
According to Harrison Score of WDW Bingo, “The best way to launch a new online slot or bingo game is with a bang – perhaps a big competition with cash prizes. With so much competition around, a new title needs to stand out from the crowd.” The casino and bingo industries are famously crowded with sites and games, which means that attracting attention to new products is an important but often difficult thing to do.
Perhaps one of the most successful uses of the pre-order or rewards-at-launch model is Kickstarter. Projects listed on crowd-funding sites use deliberate scarcity – like in our Resident Evil Village example earlier – to attract investment. Allowing an interested party to buy something special but from an extremely limited pool creates FOMO and discourages purchase delays.
Overall, FOMO is just another way that marketers leverage normal human emotions to make products seem more valuable. It’s an easy way to draw attention to a new game long before it’s even playable.