So first this; the sample size in this examination is limited in scope and the conclusions drawn within are specific and cannot be reliably applied to all games.
So the games I have chosen to examine are Grand Theft Auto V, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. The primary determiner I am going to use is steam playtime and from that we can see a function of sales, although the correlation is not direct we can assume more people are in fact purchasing these games by the influx spikes of new players.
So first Grand Theft Auto V, (GTAV) was and still to a certain extent is a wild successful game that tens of thousands enjoy regularly. Released on April 14 and on that day 360,761 players got on to enjoy this game that had been out for 2 years but is just now on PC and gen 4 consoles. So the marketing campaign around GTAV was 2 fold one for the original release, and a second campaign although much less intensive around the remaster release. So almost immediately after release, as in less than 90 days, 66% of the initial player base was lost, this is typical of most AAA releases but not of AAA releases that position themselves as a MMO, why did this happen? I would argue it is because of all the bad secondary press received around the game, YouTube videos and initial reviews being updated to reflect how people who have played maybe 100 hours or so feel about the game rather than the initial hype around the games release. The PC release of GTAV made it abundantly clear that this is an online persistent experience, this would be antithetical to the previous model of Grand Theft Auto as a single player game that had online elements but as an augment to the game rather than core content.
The other game I will look at is Rainbow Six Siege, (R6S) this game had almost no marketing campaign attached to it at launch or any other time and yet sales grew post-release 3 times, this is very much A-typical of a AAA title that was seen as sub-par by the reviewing media, but a rather good game by the people who play it. The secondary press around R6S was overall positive and it showed with several growth spikes in play time and in sales.
The whole reason to go thought that would be to see how the games marketing effected the initial sales and how secondary media affected the continuing sales. So with game budgets getting into the mid nine digits’ games have to adapt and become a perpetual experience that generates constant revenue. One of the most important things to do when ensuring the continued success will be to manage and groom a secondary media presence be that pandering to a core audience or constantly trying new things to make new players interested in the game