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nikki

Game Promotion Tips

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I received an email yesterday from a fledgling game developer, asking me for tips on how to promote his game.  Aside from the really obvious things, I was a little bit stumped about what to tell him.

 

My list of really obvious things to do to promote your gameTM

  • Twitter - tweet about it, ask your friends to tweet about it;
  • Facebook - create interesting status updates, ask your friends to like/share etc;
  • Reddit, StumbleUpon, Pinterest - post a link to your game;
  • Email - email people that you know and ask them to share it in some way;
  • Create a Press Kit - this will depend on the size of your game.  Minimum of an icon, a screenshot and a paragraph description.  http://dopresskit.com looks useful for helping with this.
  • Game Dev Forums - post your screenshot and description to game dev forums like this one (+http://www.gamedev.nethttp://forums.indiegamer.com etc - see http://www.pixelprospector.com/the-big-list-of-indie-game-development-forums/ for more);
  • Game Dev Blogs - Find a blog you'd like your game to be featured on.  Put a bit of time into creating an interesting article or guest post; then find the email of the blog owner and ask them *reaallly* nicely if they'd post it on their blog.  Blog owners are always after fresh content, so if it's well written you should get a couple of positive responses.  Alternatively (or additionally, whatever :)), create a member blog on Gamasutra http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/member/ and let other game developers have their say.
  • Game Dev News Sites - similar to the above, except you're writing to pique the interest of a journalist who will then decide whether to write about your game (or not).  Think http://www.rockpapershotgun.comhttp://jayisgames.com/ and the like.

Does anyone have any other tips they'd like to share? It's for a good cause! :)

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I think most games can also be turned into a facebook app easily, since facebook apps are basically just iframes. The bonus: you can create a entry in their "App Store" completely with description and screenshots. Users can search and find your game there very easy.

You can even add mobile games there!

 

A cool made game could also have a chance to get attention on Hacker News, but be aware: The creme-de-la-creme of the tech community watches this page and you will only get a chance with a really cool, cutting edge game. On the other hand, WHEN you get their attention, you will have tens of thousands of visitors within a few hours.

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The Facebook thing is a good idea, I know a couple of people who've had some success with that.  The people on HN are a tough crowd, I don't think anything short of COD in the browser will impress them these days :)

 

Submit your game to portals is another obvious one - no one's going to talk about it if they can't play it!  Broadly speaking, there are two types of portals - there are the ones dedicated to HTML5 (+mobile) games, like those operated by Booster Media (and PlayZap :P); and there are the big flash portals that get a huge amount of traffic, but aren't really suited to/interested in promoting HTML5 games.  I think submitting your game to places like Kongregate would be beneficial for the player feedback if you have a desktop based game, but if your game is mobile based Booster is the way to go.

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Similar to turning your game into a Facebook App, it's also a good idea to get it on the Chrome Web Store, Windows App Store (we've seen games do really well on this one, since it's still fairly early on), and Firefox Marketplace (should grow significantly when Firefox OS is publicly available). 

 

It's fairly easy to get your games on those platforms. Chrome and the Firefox Marketplace require a manifest file (just some information about your game in a json file), the Windows App Store is probably the trickiest, since it requires a manifest file, encoding of files, and a couple other steps. Facebook requires SSL, so that can sometimes be a pain.

 

Self promotion: We make distributing your games to those platforms really easy.

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This is a helpful list, even if it is full of typical items. I think the worst part of marketing is the nebulous idea that you have to get your work on the Internet (somewhere) and have to email people (whoever that is). Having a short-list of regular places to hit is a great idea. Might save hours of trying to remember what "obvious" steps you haven't already taken.

Something I have learned is that the best kind of marketing is a good product. And not just one product, mind you, but a portfolio of good work. After a matured collection of work emerges people get an idea of what you're about. Marketing throughout it all is important, of course, but I think it's more important to remember that a silent reply is not failure--just the period before a response comes. In the meantime keep working. Each game brings with it a greater chance of earning people who want to follow your work. People don't buy art--they buy artists. This is what I tell myself, at least :D

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