Every year the impending arrival of Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) brings new sets of tricky situations for our attending clients. For virtual-reality start-up comprised of ex-Bungie developers Polyarc and its VR game Moss, heading to E3 was panning out to be an almost unprecedentedly difficult labyrinth of red tape and media fatigue.
Typically for unannounced games, we release details to media under embargos or NDAs – standard industry practices that rarely hiccup. But with Polyarc’s exclusive PlayStation VR game Moss, we could give few, if any, details while pitching for media appointments as Sony was clear that *any* leaked information would result in the game being dropped from its E3 press conference, the importance of which cannot be understated.
Look, securing coverage for VR games can be tough as it is, but shrouding nearly all of Moss’ details would give media an even better reason to not cover the game or see it at E3. Fortunately, Wonacott Communications is built for getting great results from unconventional methods.
Based on experience, we know media respond well to studio pedigree and, with Polyarc’s seriously massive resume, this became the crux of our pitches. Using this tactic to entice our contacts, we then hinted at the game’s potential to be one of the first, truly AAA titles on PSVR. Messaging Moss in this manner worked well, although we had to persistently leverage our relationships with top-tier media to really tip it over the edge of success. Turns out, the old “trust us – you HAVE to play this game” strategy can still work!
For certain media, particularly IGN and Kinda Funny, we took a slightly different approach. After convincing some of the most prominent members of each outlet to sign an NDA, we set-up private sessions in which we could show a work-in-progress trailer. Sure enough, each person was sold on the game and wanted a hands-on appointment at E3.
Quickly following Sony’s on-stage Moss reveal, we distributed a press release and assets to a wide variety of media, lifted embargoes on select pre-briefed media and put the finishing touches on briefing documents for the next three days of press interviews and hands-on appointments. It took a lot of effort and preparation, but the results for Moss at E3 were incredible.
While we can’t take full-credit for its success – one look at Quill and you’ll understand why – the reveal of Moss at E3 was received with mind-blowing levels of praise and fanfare. Wonacott scheduled over 90 media appointments, secured over 40 hits from the reveal announcement and landed 30 positive hands-on impression articles. This includes hits from top-sites such as Destructoid, Digital Trends, DualShockers, Engadget, Game Informer, GameSpot, GamesRadar, IGN, Kotaku, Polygon, Road to VR, UploadVR, USA Today, VentureBeat and much more.
Perhaps even more important was the reinvigoration of media interest in PSVR. PSVR’s profile had been quickly shrinking with the press and a quick glance at quotes from social media and headlines should pretty clearly explain how Wonacott, Moss and a mouse named Quill put PSVR back in the limelight – we can’t be modest about this one:
• DualShockers – Moss Preview — One Small Step for Mouse, One Giant Step For VR
• GameSpot – PS4’s Moss Uses PSVR To Enamor And Challenge You In New Ways
• IGN – E3 2017: Moss is My Most Pleasantly Surprising Game of E3
• Jesse Cox – “I JUST PLAYED MOSS!! I had a smile on my face the whole time. It’s definitely the first real reason to get PSVR.”
• Patrick Klepek (Waypoint) – “Moss is utterly charming, and joyous to play. One of my E3 favorites. Keep an eye on this. It’ll make you smile”
• The Verge – The 5 best VR games I tried at E3
• UploadVR – E3 2017 Hands-On: Moss Proves VR Doesn’t Need First-Person To Feel Magical
• Waypoint (Vice) – The Most Intriguing Part of Sony’s E3 Was a Little Mouse Named Quill
Since the show, our coverage has reached nearly 400 million unique monthly visitors, an incredible number considering the challenges we faced.