Thorsten Hamdorf

“I’ve known Thorsten for nearly twenty years and worked closely with him. He is a really knowledgeable marketing man.”

7+1

Founders Keepers

7+1 Questions

interviewed by

Torsten Oppermann

bio

Thorsten Hamdorf worked for various companies in the games and film industry in marketing, sales, product management and business development, also in leading positions, among others for Eidos Interactive, Virgin Interactive, Paramount Home Entertainment, ATARI and dtp entertainment. There he was responsible for both regional and international marketing. Since 2014, he has been Head of Marketing, Market Research and Member Services at game – Verband der deutschen Games-Branche.

1

You have been in the games industry for some time. And you have seen many trends come and go. From the beginning of your career to today: What has changed most positively in the industry, and what bothers you about the current situation?

What really excites me is the evolution of the industry as a whole. Today, the industry is more diverse, more diverse and more inclusive than it used to be. That’s great. And as a medium, we’re reaching a lot more people today, male and female, young and old, on so many platforms and with so many different game offerings than ever before. All of that contributes to a greater variety of games that are created by allowing many more people to give free rein to their creativity, reaching and enriching people all over the world. 

What bothers me about the situation today is the phenomenon that some people can’t seem to cope and behave badly as a result of this growth and with this broadening of the industry. With the increased reach of our medium and the digital channels of today, unfortunately, the likelihood of troublemakers who create a bad mood in the community and abuse the medium for their own purposes and views also increases. And some particularly noisy groups thus contribute time and again to a bad image of our industry, ensuring that it has a bad reputation and is considered toxic in places. That’s annoying for the perception of our industry and our medium, because it’s actually so wonderful and the people are predominantly so open, warm and passionate, as you can also experience at gamescom, for example.

From a marketing perspective, on the one hand, it is of course fantastic nowadays that the majority of advertising activities can be measured and evaluated. On the other hand, digital distribution and advertising have led to a massively intensified competition for visibility.

2

Which key learnings in marketing can other industries draw from the games industry?

Two old wisdoms: Change is the only constant. And if you don’t move with the times, you get removed with time. The games industry has always been quick to adapt to technical innovations, to drive them forward itself, to find new ways and to demonstrate a pioneering spirit and creativity. It is therefore very innovative, tries out new things quickly and continues to develop rapidly. For example, new marketing models such as free-to-play emerged and became role models for other industries. The industry is also very good at customer acquisition and community management, which in turn is very attractive for many traditional service industries such as banks or insurance companies. And games are good at making complex information easy to understand, e.g., through tutorials, customized learning curves, progression, interface design, etc. All these elements are examples of motivational design that can also be exemplary for other industries (keyword: gamification).

3

How did the marketing and promotion of games change in recent years? Where are we headed in games marketing in the next years to come?

Everything is new and yet everything remains the same, just repackaged and adapted. In the past, there were TV commercials with testimonials and PR was the key to success. Today there are influencer collaborations and social media campaigns. So, there are always new platforms for distribution, more and more A/B testing and metrics. The battle for eyeballs has become tougher. But what always remains important: the creative idea. You have to light the spark. The potential to go viral is greater today than it used to be, but it’s harder to achieve. We see a trend toward increasingly individualized communication, stronger customer loyalty and upselling.

4

Which social media channels do you see as key for the games industry?

After all, I no longer am marketing products, but am active for the association. We therefore rely on the channels that enable us to reach the key players that are important to us. These channels are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, as well as Slack as a closed group.

5

About the current trend on creators and influencer marketing: The trend towards more micro and macro influencers with a smaller reach and less fans, but more authenticity and engagement: How can the Games industry leverage that trend in your opinion?

With the right themes, games can achieve excellent results here. Many smaller influencers together also result in large ranges and are partly more favorable, as well as more cooperative, since they still want to grow. And with smaller influencers, you can sometimes also address more pointed target groups more precisely. Ultimately, it’s all a question of fit.

6

The media landscape has changed massively in the last ten years. However, PR is still one of the most important communications tools in the games sector. Where do you see PR in the next five years, what will the challenges be?

The challenge will continue to be visibility, credibility, and authenticity. All media, whether journalistic formats or influencers, have to finance themselves and therefore need reach. And this reach requires attractive topics. Here, it is always a challenge to find the right mix between top titles, pearls, niches, and own personality. PR will therefore continue to face the task of standing out from the crowd, identifying multipliers, and generating reach in order to spread its own messages.

7

Bonus question: Which project / topic in your career are you particularly proud of?

Phew, each station had its own challenges and successes. It was an honor to work on such great products as “Deus Ex”, to celebrate sales successes with “Drakensang” or to have accompanied classics close to my heart such as “Once upon a time in the West” or “Star Trek” with innovative campaigns. In my current position, I am proud to have made a significant contribution to the fact that today we have a single, strong, and powerful association with more members than ever before. I was able to contribute to this with strategy, market data and sales successes, as our entire team here works professionally and with passion for the industry and the medium of games.

Founders Keepers

All about Marketing in Games and Tech.

Treasures and Insights

from leaders in tech and gaming around the globe

Ingo

Horn

Ingo Horn is founder of Gaming-Aid e.V. and Letsplay4Charity e.V. as well as Communication Director Europe at Wargaming. He began his career as a local newspaper editor.

more

Funda

Yakin

Funda Yakin has been working for agencies, publishers and on the industry side in marketing for nearly 20 years.

more

Michel

Bonetti

Michel Bonetti is product manager at Orange and was active in countless sectors, keeping the business development as a constant point of interest.

more

Petra

Fröhlich

Petra Fröhlich worked as editor-in-chief at PC Games for more than a decade until she eventually founded GamesWirtschaft, her very own news portal about video games.

more

Daniel

Bollers

“Daniel is one of the most successful sales allrounders for consumer electronics. We’ve known each other for over 10 years now and his insights and teachings are always a true source of inspiration for me!”

more

Hendrik Lesser

„I know Hendrik not only as a games industry veteran, but also as a member of the global Entrepreneurs’ Organization to which we both belong. He has built a little empire comprised of game developers. I really appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit.”

more

David Clark

“David and I go way back to the good old times at SEGA. He played a fundamental role in shaping the games business in the UK and has a ton of experience in all areas of marketing. Currently, he is building bridges between Europe and Asia for games publishers.”

more

Thorsten Hamdorf

“I’ve known Thorsten for nearly twenty years and worked closely with him. He is a really knowledgeable marketing man.”

more

Wim Stocks

“Wim is a seasoned executive in the video games industry. I met him when we worked for Atari many moons ago. He is a renowned expert in the interactive entertainment industry.”

more

Tom Dusenberry

“Tom was my boss in the nineties when I worked at Hasbro. He founded the gaming division ‘Hasbro Interactive’ and made a bunch of bold and disruptive decisions. His vision was to become as large as Electronic Arts. Unfortunately, Hasbro sold the gaming division. I bet today it would have been as big as EA.”

more

Maxi Gräff

“I’ve been following Maxis career for some time now, ever since her time at IDG where she worked for GamePro and GameStar. She started playing around with YouTube early on, knows the video games industry inside out and is working for Microsoft since 2015. She’s an advocate for the industry and especially for equal rights. That’s amazing!”

more

Philipp Hartmann

“In the past six years, Phillipp set a lot of things in motion over at Microsoft. He didn’t just support the reconstruction of the brand and the transition of stationary commerce, he shaped it.”

More

Trip Hawkins

“There are very few super entrepreneurs who defined the video game industry from the start. While Nolan Bushnell shaped the hardware, the one and only Trip Hawkins defined the software. He is the founder of Electronic Arts! He made developers rockstars! No more words needed. His career speaks for itself.”

More

David Perry

Perry started in Northern Ireland working on the Sinclair ZX81 (early 1980’s), he moved to England from high school, ending up with a #1 hit for Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. 

More

Caroline Miller

Founder and Managing Director at Indigo Pearl, an award-winning PR and asset management agency specializing in video games. Caroline founded Indigo Pearl in 2000 and prior to this worked in-house within the games industry. 

More

Boris Schneider-Johne

Boris Schneider-Johne, born in 1966, helped shape the early years of games culture in Germany. He is a true legend.

More

Volker Prott

Volker Prott, a man for marketing and media. After studying media economics, Volker first worked in the world of media agencies and then joined Electronic Arts (EA) in the media and marketing departments.

More

David

Gardner

David started his career in computers at the age of 13 when he used his paper route savings to purchase an Apple II computer in 1978. He was a global leader and shaped EA and Atari, before becoming an investor in the most valuable Gaming companies on this planet.

More

Thomas Mey

My name is Thomas Mey. I have been earning my bread and butter in the trade since completing my apprenticeship as an electrician. That was a good 30 years ago.

More

Michel Wedler

Long-standing executive and expert in purchasing & product management and sales in retail for entertainment products, especially in the areas of music, film, games, consoles, accessories, merchandise, and toys. 

More

Oliver

Menne

Oliver Menne started in the games industry at the end of the 80s, at the time of the Commodore 64. He runs Eurogamer in Germany today.

More

Hans Ippisch

Hans Ippisch’s professional career began in 1986, when he signed his first contract as a game developer at Rainbow Arts at the age of 16. Today, he heads up Intellivision Europe.

More

Mike Steup

Mike has 25 years of experience in management, sales & marketing, and product development. He is the king of peripherals and recently launched an amazing Kids tablet with Disney.

More
Read more!

Before you continue

We use cookies to improve site functionality and to provide you with a better browsing experience. Detailed information on the use of cookies on this site is provided in our privacy policy. You may decline consent or make specific choices by clicking "Show cookies"

Show Cookies