Video games as a tool to promote destinations/tourism attractions

Can video games be a tourist promotion tool? The Polish gaming industry is growing fast, is there a lot to choose from?

The expansion of Polish game producers around the world opens up a chance for cross-promotion for Polish (and not only) tourism.

Polish producers are not only AAA productions, there are many solid budget games

Of course, almost everyone has heard about CyberPunk or The Witcher III, this is the highest global category of games. Only powerful organizations can work with such titles for marketing purposes.

However, we also have hundreds of companies producing smaller games in Poland. Including those from the interesting segment of content-ambitious games, the so-called Indie games. For example, the PlayWay group itself has over 150 titles on the wishlist of the Steam sales platform in its portfolio. This represents nearly 20 percent of all pending titles globally.

Find related topics to promote a region or a tourist attraction

Naturally, the trick is to find a partner / title among game producers that would match the region/attraction that we want to promote. For example, in February, the premiere of the game Rustler from Games Operators will take place. Adviced as “GTA in the Middle Ages”, it has undoubtedly a tourist cooperation potential.

It is possible to imagine adding real locations of a given region to the game. In Polish realities it could be the castles of the Kraków-Częstochowa Jura, Świętokrzyskie or even Masovian strongholds from the times of the independent Duchy of Mazovia. Partnering with a game that is likely to sell hundreds of thousands of copies can be a tempting idea.

For a game producer, it is also possible to promote off-line. For example, distribution of discount codes or offers for new games. And also gadgets. After all, the above-mentioned attractions are often physically visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year. Not to mention visitors of their websites.

Wildlife / nature games could promote, for example, National Parks?

Just as the above-mentioned Rustler has potential for medieval attractions, other types of partners may be tempted by games such as Natural Instincts. Here we are to help wild animals survive and even plan their expansion.

Such topics harmonize well with National Parks or regions whose natural tourist advantages are. This is the case, for example, in Polesie. Where there are virtually no material attractions that attract tourists, and Roztocze undoubtedly has potential here. Add-ons to the game (the so-called DLC) referring to the names of regions would certainly be noticeable. And arouse the interest of potential players-tourists.

One can also imagine that in post-pandemic times, some of the Polish “clean” regions.  Mainly those from the eastern wall, will want to run campaigns encouraging relocation / permanent settlement in these places. The values ​​of nature and real landscapes shown in the game could help in the effectiveness of such activities.

Another interesting potential is the support for endangered species / their reintroduction. Games could support fundraising campaigns for such purposes. The same applies to actions to counteract drought and drying up of areas. Valuable due to bird migrations (Poleski National Park / Biebrza National Park).

Pioneers get a great viral effect

Tourism carries great viral potential. It is worth mentioning the popularity of the news describing the painting of ANA planes with elements related to star wars. It was no different in the case of Air New Zeland and the story related to the Tolkien Trilogy.

At one time, similar talks were held with CD Projekt at LOT, but no agreement was reached. Now it will be difficult to obtain them.  Because companies are on the other side of the barricade when it comes to promoted values.

It is worth remembering that those who are the first to choose such cooperation can get great free publicity on the Internet. The game producers themselves could strengthen them even more. The cross-promotion potential in the case of the above-mentioned companies.  E.g. from the PlayWay group, is huge. The company has made great strides in the art of promoting their debut productions using already released / related hits.

Does it have to be great costs?

The production of budget games such as those mentioned above (Rustler and Animal Instincts) does not consume large amounts. Usually amounts of several hundred thousand, less often exceeding a million polish PLN. Producers of such games would certainly be willing to consider the support and joint cooperation with tourist organizations or regions.

It is hard to assume that we will immediately find a gem. Such as This War of Mine, which from a small production allowed the 11 bit studio to grow to a value of several hundred million stock market capitalization. By the way, it is worth mentioning that the game generated over 500 000 USD for War Child Charity Foundation.