Indie developers are mostly brilliant when it comes to constructing their game but when release time comes many are often left with the question: “How do I get people to notice my game?” There really is no secret. The ones that find the most success are usually the ones with the best presentation and marketing alongside a solid core gameplay experience. Here are a few tips on how to get your game out there to the masses the right way.
Get on social media. The number one thing any and all studios should have is a social media presence. Set up a Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Website, YouTube channel, etc… anything and everything that can be used as a tool to broadcast your ideas, get on it! You do not know how many times indie game developers come asking for our marketing services without even a website for their studio or game. It really is super simple to set up, and the time invested in interacting with the community goes a real long way in getting word out about your game. “But I am not very social!” is an excuse that comes to mind when I state this but you need to make the effort to reach out to your community or else who will know about your product? Word of mouth only goes so far, and even then you have to establish the word to begin with.
Have a good design sense. Once you have set up your social media accounts for your studio you should keep it consistent as to what is posted and what imagery you use. You have to brand yourself with an appealing logo that is simple enough to be easily identified yet unique enough to be instantly recognizable. Use a color scheme between all platforms and keep the layouts fairly consistent. I think a lot of people underestimate the importance of a color scheme. Using a complementary blend that is appealing to the eye really gives off a look of professionalism and goes a long way to establishing your presence.
Post, post, post! Anything and everything about your game, post! People enjoy quality content and the more you post, the more people will be hungry for more content. Post things that tell the players what your game is about, post early concept art (people LOVE concept art!), take some time and create a few short videos showing off gameplay or your story or even behind the scenes interviews with your developers. Post everything you can because the more content you post, the more buzz will be generated by people over your social media platforms in anticipation of your release.
Emphasize your website. So you have your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts up and running, now move on to making your website. This part is very essential in linking all of your social media outlets together on one, readily available space. There is nothing more frustrating to a journalist than stumbling upon the Facebook or Twitter account of a studio that is creating an interesting game only to not have any more information on how to contact them. Your game’s website is the number one place any journalist will go to first when considering your title, so make sure you have at least something they can get at that has all your contact and press information easily accessible. Make sure at the very least you have a contact email address, links to your social media pages, and a press kit that includes all the information a journalist can use without having to ask you questions about your project. Be sure it has screenshots, logos, banners, bio about your studio and bio about your game.
Reach out to the press. This part can be exhaustive but it is probably the most important job that needs to be done. Create a list of press contacts (websites, bloggers, youtubers, etc…) and send out press releases about your game. When you are closer to release, have some review keys ready to send out to reviewers or even a beta build that can be played by journalists. Nothing is worse for a journalist than when they receive a press release about a game that has no playable build handy. They simply cannot review something that they have not had a hands on experience with.
In the end there is no quick, guaranteed way for getting your game out there to the masses. You have to be willing to put in some extra work in establishing an online presence and interacting with your potential player base. You may be an incredible developer that has created something that is potentially ground-breaking but if no one knows about it then what have you accomplished? Having a marketing plan is vital to any games success and it’s not even that far-fetched to even say in some cases marketing is the key factor to making a game successful. Take some time and research the marketing campaigns of some older games that did find success. See what they did on social media and look at their online presence in different communities. The far majority of the time you will find that successful games become successful not only because of the content of the game, but because of the developers willingness to interact with people and the studios ability to reach a vast audience.
Important Takeaways: Get on as many social media platforms as you and your team can handle. Be consistent in your branding (don’t be afraid to hire some help for logo design). Once you’re on social media, don’t be afraid to keep posting — as long as what you’re posting is valuable of course. Think… awesome screenshots, epic gifs, and exclusive sneak peeks at the development process. Also, don’t neglect your website — again, don’t be afraid to hire some help. A sloppy website is a horrible website. Finally, reach out to some press. As of this writing, it’s pretty difficult to get coverage if your game doesn’t stand out as something truly unique though. Make sure your game is worth marketing in the first place.