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Teasing the teaser trailer: Rockstar's GTA VI power play

By Harry Membrey
21 November 2023
Consumer Industries

In today’s fast-paced smorgasbord of gaming, where buzzwords like metaverse, AI and VR dominate discussions, maintaining a competitive edge is crucial for any company striving to leave a lasting impression. Rockstar Games, the powerhouse behind the iconic Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, perhaps understands this principle more than any other.

Following the recent announcement of an upcoming GTA VI trailer being released in December, the gaming community is alight with not only anticipation, but relief. Ten years on from the franchise’s iconic and highly successful predecessor, gamers across the world could be forgiven for thinking a follow up to one of the biggest games of all time may never see the light of day.

With an official announcement controversially followed up by subsequent footage from the game leaking in 2022, Rockstar has struggled to keep their latest instalment fully under wraps. So, it isn’t a surprise to see that cutting edge technology isn’t what has made an impression with GTA VI this week; it’s good old-fashioned communication. The move to announce December’s trailer through an open letter to the GTA community not only showcases Rockstar's commitment to their audience, but also underscores the effectiveness of not playing all your promotional cards at once.

Gamers are now consuming a huge variety of content at rapid pace compared to when GTA V released in 2013, so bringing the franchise’s loyal community back into the fold would have been crucial for Rockstar. By providing a specific timeframe, the company has effectively lit the match, re-engaging old fans of the franchise now eager for more official information. Deciding not to release a trailer just yet not only ensures a mounting buzz but also that the brand remains at the forefront of consumers' minds.

The knowledge of this impending content serves as a powerful promotional tool. With a community built around online engagement, it generates organic buzz and conversation that will spill out from the gaming community and beyond. This strategic sense of timing will enable excitement to reach its peak, creating a perfect storm of anticipation that will likely translate into widespread media coverage and social media trends throughout November. Come December, old and new fans, gamers, and non-gamers alike will be waiting with bated breath for a first glimpse.

Investors also reacted well to the news. Take-Two Interactive shares (owner of developer Rockstar and listed entity) closed 5% up on the day of the announcement (and up nearly 10% since the news came out) as investors received the first confirmation that the next instalment in the Grand Theft Auto franchise is on the horizon.

Investors and consumers alike have long awaited the release of the next Grand Theft Auto game. GTA V was lauded for its graphics and playing style, and to this day continues to contribute ongoing revenue to Take-Two through its online platform.

By strategically building this anticipation and fostering trust and loyalty as a premium game developer, Rockstar has set the stage for a blockbuster launch. Perhaps other companies can take note of the positive impact these types of official, informative updates will have on their relationship with consumers and the impact this can have on your product’s success.