VGPR #013: Read the Room

My interview with popagenda, Cyberpunk 2077's delay, and Twitter's dunk-based economy

[Hi, I'm Lizzie Killian, founder at FIFTYcc PR. You're reading VGPR, a newsletter featuring interesting developments and topics impacting public relations in the video games industry. If you’re enjoying this newsletter, please consider subscribing or sharing with a friend or colleague. Send feedback, questions, and ideas to vgpr.insider@gmail.com, or drop me a note on Twitter.]

It’s been, as the people say, a week. We’re somehow already halfway through November — traditionally one of the busiest months in the games industry. Although even November doesn’t seem so bad after The Busiest Summer Ever, a lot of us are still mentally drained by the US election, social media doomscrolling, and failed attempts to score a new Series X.

In spite of all that, I had the pleasure of interviewing Geneviève St-Onge and Nicolas Verge from indie publishing agency popagenda, coming to you hot off their recent work on Bugsnax. I also did some thinking about what Cyberpunk 2077’s delay means for the rest of us, and how your clients can avoid falling into a common PR trap by understanding Twitter’s dunk-based economy.

The Last-Minute Pivot

Cyberpunk 2077 is delayed, again, to December 10. CD Projeckt Red is taking the time to ensure the that game is extra-ready to be released simultaneously on PC, current-gen, and next-gen consoles. Expectant fans are disappointed. The development team has struggled with crunch. But let’s ask the important question: what does this mean for games PR people?

For many of us, the plans that we originally shifted into December to avoid getting lost in the busy Cyberpunk reviews cycle (and the November games coverage cycle overall) probably need to be revisited to say the least. For as much as we can try to plan ahead, the truth is that there are many factors outside of our control.

In spite of these surprises, good PR choices always depend on the context of what else is happening around you. Just last week, I decided not to post a new issue of VGPR on November 3rd because I figured most of my audience had a lot on their minds already, and didn’t need me adding more.

Whether it’s a big game getting delayed, a scandal somewhere in the world, or a drawn-out election cycle, be aware, be agile, and read the room. Sometimes you have to make plans with less information than you wish you had, but by taking stock of what everyone else is doing and coordinating with others in your PR network, you can make your best decisions even with limited information.

On the plus side, at least us plebs get a better shot at “Game of the Year” at this year’s Game Awards.

Interview: popagenda’s Geneviève St-Onge and Nicolas Verge

I had the pleasure of interviewing Geneviève St-Onge and Nicolas Verge, two of the three co-founders of indie publishing agency popagenda. They discuss how they made the jump from Square Enix to self-employed, what being a boutique agency means to them, and what to do when all of your plans have to change.

“… the likeliness of everything you know and feel confident about being suddenly thrown out the window is very high (hello 2020, how you doin’).” —Gen

Read the full interview with popagenda’s Gen and Nick here.

Learning to Zip It in Twitter’s Dunk-Based Economy

When a client gets into a dicey situation on Twitter, sometimes the best plan is simply to “zip it" and say no more. PR professionals understand this intuitively, but many have clients that do not.

If a client doesn't understand why you're telling them to zip it, they may ignore you and follow their gut instinct to explain themselves (got ‘em). Even if they have the best intentions, that can make things worse, so I thought I’d try to explain where the "zip it" advice comes from in a way that anyone can understand.

Continue reading here.

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