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  • A Step-By-Step Guide To Marketing Your Game

    [08.04.20]
    - Karl Kontus

  • Before release

    6. It's SO important to have a community before you release the game. It's like giving yourself a head start during the release. This head start allows you to hit the ground running, get a lot of downloads early on and hopefully push you to the trending games lists. It's all about the snowball effect early on and you CAN'T achieve that without having an existing fanbase.

    7. Connect with other game developers

    • Be active on subreddits and share your experience. Build relationships and friendships.
    • Be active on Twitter - Twitter has an amazing gamedev community. Share your progress and engage with others.
    • Make meaningful connections - It's easier to get 10 strong relationships going that will retweet you to 500 people each than building a follower base of 5,000 people.
    • These game devs will help you promote your game, but are also often early adaptors and players of your game. They'll also give you great advice and feedback.

    8. Connect with potential audiences

    • Build a wishlist on Steam, optimise your Steam page, keep people engaged and updated with your progress. On average, every 4-5 wishlists result you one sale.
    • Have social media presence, post regularly. If the game is themed, find relevant subreddits and engage with them.
    • Have a development blog. Talk about your journey and tips and post about it on sites like Gamasutra.
    • Have a Discord channel to engage with your most loyal early fans.

    9. Build a network for post-release

    • Research blogs, sites and journalists who have posted about games similar to yours and create a list with contact details.
    • Engage with these people early on and often. Like their posts and leave relevant comments. Build up rapport so that when your game is released, you're not just another dev asking them to write about their indie game.
    • If your game is streaming-friendly, start doing the same with smaller streamers. At the very least, have a list of all the streamers who play games similar to yours and their contact details.

    Post release

    10. Marketing is a full-time job if you want to succeed and have no previous track record. AAA games spend another 100% of their development budget on marketing. Indie games don't have that budget, so the key is to get creative and you need to spend your own time on it.

    • Engage with the small community you have
    • Sell yourself wherever you can - Contact journalists, blogs, podcasts. Make a list of places that could write about you as well as places that allow guest writers to write on the site.
    • Talk about your development process and journey as well as the game. Whatever it takes to get the word out. Creativity and pure hours spent on marketing are your 2 tools here.

    Monetisation

    11. You don't always have to aim for large amounts of copies sold at the expense of price.

    • Maybe you're not monetising enough on the game? If it's paid, how does the price compare to other similar games? If it's free to play, what's your lifetime value of a player?
    • The key mistake indie devs make is thinking lower prices will get them more players. It's often not true. Pricing a game $19.99 vs $9.99 doubles your revenue per game which you can use for paid ads or to hire a community manager to get more people to buy at a higher price point. You'd need to believe in a very steep price elasticity curve to justify very low prices. Read more about pricing in my other article - Should developers charge more for an indie game?

    I am Karl Kontus, one of the creators of Video Game Insights, a free game industry market research platform. If you have any comments or questions, get in touch on our Twitter page or join our Discord group! I'm always happy to talk about the video game industry.

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