Marketing for a small dev studio?

ManlyMouse

  • Posts: 144
So you're making a game. You have a crew gathered and a plan. You've done some of the hard work already and are ready to let the world know.

How exactly? What are some options for a small dev studio with a limited budget (read: none) to market their game? Personal social networks, I've found, only go so far. Especially if you're pretty introverted to begin with....
I know more about Stencyl now.

Stevetheipad

  • Posts: 1301
Get good at promotional images, writing and video. If you have some killer promotional material, your game will look very unique, fun and exciting which will pick up some users on sites like YouTube but also app review places like AppAdvice will want to feature you.

ceosol

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This is the internet, you can act extroverted even if you aren't. :)

My advice, in addition to Steve's, is to start tweeting. Use the tags #gamedev and #indiedev. Every once in a while, one of the retweet robots will pick up on the tag and give you a free tweet to their thousands of followers. An even more rare occurrence can happen where they pull a "follow friday" and one of the robots randomly selects you out of the devs that they have retweeted. At that point, almost every tweet you do with #gamedev or #indiedev could be retweeted to thousands of people. Then, you hope that the promotional images - that Steve mentioned - catches a game reviewer's eye.

Keep in mind that anybody willing to download or review your game might miss the retweet when it happens. The robots retweet 10-100 tweets a minute. So you just have to be patient with all of it.

ManlyMouse

  • Posts: 144
Thanks guys!

I'm more or less following all the advice listed here so far, and yes, those Twitter bots are mad useful. As a former journalist, I've also reached out to some connections in the indie game press and we've had some limited success on that front.

Unfortunately,  the problem of doing all your promotional work as a small studio (one programmer, one artist) is that it takes away from the actual game itself. Developers, especially indie ones, often underestimate how much work goes into making a trailer, promo art, or even a kickstarter page.  I just wish there was a better way other than ludicrously spamming everything.
 
I know more about Stencyl now.

irock

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  • Posts: 2899
Create unique and interesting games that you're proud of (most important).

Make a variety of solid connections in a variety of networks; don't surround yourself with the same interlinked group. This will increase the probable reach of your game. Join, contribute to and participate in different communities (forums, subreddits, social networks, irc channels, real life meetups).

Don't just make sure people know your game exists; make sure they really know it exists. I usually have to hear about something multiple times before I check it out

Don't spam your stuff on social media. That's annoying and a sane person definitely won't follow you. Don't tweet because you want to market; tweet because you want to share your cool content. Try to make each tweet have different content (much easier while developing the game).

Have a presskit for your game. I hear journalists really like presskit().

Contact journalists.

My advice, in addition to Steve's, is to start tweeting. Use the tags #gamedev and #indiedev. Every once in a while, one of the retweet robots will pick up on the tag and give you a free tweet to their thousands of followers.
Does that not happen every time you use the #gamedev hashtag? I always, without fail, get retweeted by @gamedevrobot and @theindiesloth when I use it.

« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 12:39:30 pm by Irock »

ceosol

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  • Posts: 2274
Does that not happen every time you use the #gamedev hashtag? I always, without fail, get retweeted by @gamedevrobot and @theindiesloth when I use it.

Originally I had maybe a  1 in 10 retweet rate. Now that a few of them have followed me, I always get retweeted by some robot. Most are indiesloth, but a lot of times its the indie dinosaur one.

@Manlymouse: The people watching twitter feeds eat up screenshots of games. I agree with what Irock said about not spamming the same thing. Instead, try to include unique portrayals of your game in screenshots or concept art. Cool pictures will definitely generate some interest in the game.

Max Finch

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Irock awesome press kit link! Thanks for sharing

irock

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There's also distribute(), but I don't know very much about it

https://dodistribute.com/

Blob

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  • Posts: 722
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkEQtMP2CuA (this lady has a website with tips)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=477rvRSjE5U
http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/LenaLeRay/20150219/236819/On_Press_Releases.php

hot tips:
- make cool games
- marketing is 50% of what gets a game sales generally, and effort towards marketing should scale accordingly.
- if you want a writer to write about your game keep emailing them until they write about it or ask you to stop emailing them. Don't just email them once if that doesn't work.
- if you aren't a good marketer get someone else to do it.

I wish I liked marketing.

ManlyMouse

  • Posts: 144
I wish I liked marketing.

It's kind of sad that I actually do work in marketing, albeit in a roundabout way. Anyways, my current strategy now is to simply build a kickass demo. It certainly doesn't help that my game is on the unattractive, minimal art side :/

Also, googling indie game press email lists can be helpful, but many of them are super, super small.
I know more about Stencyl now.

ceosol

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  • Posts: 2274
I don't think its unattractive. It looks like the Tiny Death Star Bitcoin kind of games. You just need to stress the exciting qualities of how many paths there are. How you fall in love. How you regenerate your purpose by having another kid born... Those kinds of things. Having half of your video showing a 20 pixel baby in a womb is probably a little much :)