While it is definitely none of my business caring about how much money is spent on marketing by MMO publishers, but I am still in awe of how Shanda Games, publisher of RIFT China, has reportedly spent an 8-figure sum (in USD) to hire NBA star Dwyane Wade as the spokesperson.
The deal will certainly garner eyeballs and raise the profile of RIFT in the world’s biggest online gaming market, but why a NBA star? Are they targeting just NBA fans? Does Dwyane Wade even have time to play MMORPGs?
Rivals such as Tencent Games are doing tie-ups with related movies, while ChangYou focus on local megastars who can actually sing and cosplay for the games. See the disparity in connecting with the general public?
I must admit, I am slightly disgusted by the way marketing dollars are spent. While RIFT China is confirmed as a P2P title, better ones such as Blade & Soul and Guild Wars2 are set for release this year. I am skeptical about RIFT’s chances of survival 12 months from launch, but of course, I will be happy to be proved wrong.