If you learn and use the techniques I'm about to teach you, you're going to know...
- How to get a gamer's attention when there's so many games coming out every day
- How to compete with AAA game companies that spend millions on advertising and PR
- How to get your game out there when you can't afford to pay for commercials, banner ads, youtubers, twitch streamers, and game booths at expensive game conventions
- You're also going to get a simple 3 step action plan that will show you exactly how to do this easily
If you don't learn how to market your game, then gamers will have a hard time finding (and buying) your game. Or worse, you'll spend money and your budget on advertising and PR that may or may not work.
There's a NEW way for indie game devs to digitally market their video game. Here's what you need to know...
What Is Digital Marketing -- And How Can You Use For Free To Get More Gamers
What's the best way to get a gamer to notice your game and eventually buy it and play it? Marketing! Especially digital marketing.
But, you know what?
It's not that easy. More and more games are coming out every year. With so much new games flooding the market, it's harder and harder to get noticed.
Even worse, these new games coming out probably have a lot of money and budget to spend on PR and advertising. In other words, more and more game companies are trying to dominate and outcompete each other by outspending each other.
But I'm here to tell there's a better strategy than trying to outspend your competition with advertising and PR.
There are new digital marketing strategies you can use, that are free, and work far better than traditional advertising.
So, how do yo get your video game noticed? How can you survive the flood of new games trying to get a gamer's attention -- and spending a lot of money doing so?
Well, let's start with an insight that not a lot of game devs ever think about...
"Video Game Genres are Gamer Needs"
Remember how I told you that the best way to get a gamer to play and buy your video game is by marketing?
But, instead of showing you how traditional methods of marketing and getting YOUR name and game out there, I want to share with you something counter-intuitive.
I want you to think of marking as fulfilling a person selfish need.
Let me say that again...
"Marketing is about fulfilling a gamers selfish need".
I know, this sounds a bit wacky right now. But let me explain, and this will make sense.
A gamer plays a specific genre that they love. They may play a lot of different genre's, but they pretty much stick to one or two genres they love.
This sounds obvious. But here's what's NOT so obvious...
The reason they play their particular genre is because it fulfills an unmet need. Let me show you an example of what I'm talking about...
In 2011, the Action Role Playing Game genre was filled with these top selling games:
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Dark Souls
- Witcher 2, The: Assassins of Kings
- Fable III
- Mass Effect 2
- Dragon Age II
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
All of these games are in the Action RPG genre. But, each of those games fulfill a gamers need in some way.
And NONE of them do the same thing. Each one fulfills an unmet need differently.
Let me go deeper, let me show you something you've never noticed before. When you spot this, this will give you insights in your own video game and will help you make your game stand out from the competition.
"Genre's Fulfill a Gamers Selfish Need"
Let's look at Dark Souls: there's an unmet need for very difficult games. And Dark Souls filled this unmet need.
Skyrim: offered a gamer a HUGE open-world to discover. There was very little story in the game. But the environment told the story. And that game fulfilled an unmet need where gamers wanted to explore an open-world.
Now look at Witcher 2: with so many open-world games, they focused on story. For the gamer who didn't want a huge open-world game with very little story, this game fulfilled that need.
Deus Ex: fulfills the need of a gamer wanting to play stealth, and allowed them to go through the game without killing any baddies.
Do you see a pattern here? All of these games are in one BIG genre. But they also are in a smaller, sub-genre. One game fulfills a gamer's need for openworld, another fulfills a need for story, and another fulfills a need for difficulty... and so on.
Now, let's go even deeper. I promise you, this will blow your mind...
If you look closely, you'll notice that ALL of these games are sequels. (Dark Souls isn't a sequel, per se, but it's followed by Demon Souls, and is part of the series).
Ok, that's pretty weird. But it gets weirder.
When a gamer finds a game that fulfills their need, they STICK to it. They very rarely go out and try another new game to fulfill that same need.
Yeah, a gamer will play Dark Souls because it's difficult And a lot of "Dark Souls clones" come out, and a gamer may try those new "Dark Souls clones". But those Dark Soul clones never come close to the success of the game they're trying to copy.
What's my point here? What does this have to do with you getting a gamer's attention? How will this help you market your game for free?
Let me show you, next...
"Brand Name Video Games"
As a video game genre matures, it starts establishing leaders. In other words, a video game that has a top spot in their genre becomes a "brand" name.
And it's very difficult to compete with brand name video games. And publishers aren't stupid. When the devs of Demon Souls saw that gamers wanted something that was difficult, they made Dark Souls. Then Dark Souls 2, and 3. They dominated the hard difficulty sub-genre. This hard difficulty RPG game sub-genre has matured. From Software created a brand name.
And in business, it's almost impossible to knock off a brand name from the top spot. Just ask Google Plus. Even with 2.2 billion users, and billions of money, they couldn't compete with Facebook. Facebook is the brand name of social networking. And Google Plus couldn't even compete with Twitter and Linkedin, let alone with Facebook.
My point here is, once a game dev finds an unmet need, they're going to stick to it. They essentially create a NEW sub-genre, and they dominate it.
And when other game devs see that this new sub-genre is popular, they all start copying, and making "me-too" games.
So, what's wrong with that? Let me who you, next...
"You Can't Compete With a Brand Name Video Game -- Instead Do This..."
Video game devs make the mistake of trying to compete in genres that have matured, and have an established pecking order.
Making "me-too" games is not how to stand out. It's not how to get attention. A better strategy is to break off a chunk from your genre, and create a NEW sub-genre.
Let me explain...
Let's first look at the business world. Facebook dominates social media. What made Twitter so successful is not that they made a "Facebook clone". What they did was, they broke off a chunk from the social network "genre" and created their own sub-genre. Twitter focused on the the status update.
Youtube dominated online videos. But Twitch bit off a chunk from that "genre" and created a sub-genre: video game streaming.
It's the same with successful indie video games. Look at Binding of Isaac. Instead of trying to compete with AAA games that dominate the their genre, this game dev scratched out his OWN sub-genre.
It's obvious now that Binding of Isaac is a roguelike. But 5 - 10 years ago, nobody had heard of the genre "rogue-like". Binding of Isaac discovered that there is a lot of gamers that love playing rogue-like games, and that's why they dominate that genre.
But here's another insight.
Binding of Isaac also broke off a chunk from the Rogue-like genre, and also started a NEW sub-genre: Replay-Value.
The Replay-Value term is starting to become a new sub-genre, just like Rogue-like and Walking Simulator were a few years ago.
There were no huge AAA games pumping money into making Rogue-like games with Replay-Value. And now that AAA games see this as a profitable sub-genre, it's too late....
Games like Binding of Isaac and Spelunky are dominating this sub-genre. Even with huge ad budgets, it's hard for AAA games to come in and take over, and outcompete these indie game devs.
Again, it's like Google Plus trying to compete with Facebook. And that's my whole point here:
Don't try to be like Google Plus, and compete Facebook. Do what Twitter did, and carve out your own "sub-genre" and dominate it.
Just like Binding of Isaac. They didn't compete with AAA games, and make a "me-too" game. They carved out their own little sub-genre: Rogue-like with Replay-Value, and dominate it.
Let's keep going. I want to show you how all this will help you outcompete your competition, and how you can use this new knowledge to market your game for free...
"Sub-Genre's Fulfill Gamers Selfish Needs"
Let's go back to the beginning. At the start of this video or article, I told you about how a video game genre fulfills a gamers selfish need.
Does this make sense now?
Do you see how a video game gains their success? They discover an unmet need a gamer has, and they focus on that.
Just like Dark Souls. They discovered that there's a lot of gamers that need hard, difficult games. So, From Software became number one in their sub-genre. Dark Souls became a brand name for hard, difficult, RPGs.
Whitcher discovered gamers didn't want open-world, and some wanted a story driven RPG. The game now dominates the story-driven RPG sub-genre.
Deus Ex discovered that gamers want stealth RPG games. So they dominated that sub-genre.
Same with indie game devs. Binding of Isaac fulfills the gamers need for Rogue-like games with Replay-Value.
Again, what's important here is, that to stand out, to get noticed, a game dev needs to discover an unmet need that a gamer has. If you can do that, then you can create a sub-genre that no game dev is taking advantage of.
And then your game will become the "brand name" for that sub-genre.
And if you can do that, then no competition will knock you off your pedestal. It's very hard to outcompete a brand name that holds the number one spot in their sub-genre (just ask Google Plus about trying that).
And look what Twitch has done. Instead of Twitch directly competing with Youtube, they created their own sub-genre: video game streaming.
THIS is how you get attention. This is how your game will go "viral". This is how you can market your game without spending thousands on advertising and PR that may or may not work.
If you try to compete with already established games in your genre, then you'll need a lot of money for advertising and PR to get gamers to pay attention.
But if you find an unmet need a gamer has, they will be attracted to you. Gamers love finding new sub-genres -- especially ones that fulfill an unmet need. This is how word-of-mouth spreads. A gamer wants to be first to find a sub-genre that they love, and they will want to tell everybody their new discovery.
So, how do you discover unmet needs? How do you break off a chunk from your genre, and create a NEW sub-genre?
Here's an exact, step-by-step formula to help you achieve this. That's next...
Step One: Don't Try To Widen Your Market Appeal -- Do The Opposite and LESSEN Your Market Appeal
This is counter-intuitive. Why would you want to LESSEN your market appeal?
Because it works. Let me show you...
Dark Souls could have easily given the player a less difficult game setting. But nope. The only time you could change the difficulty is when you beat the game, and then you can change the difficulty to make it ever harder.
You would think that giving gamers more options, would widen their market? Why would you make a game so hard? Wouldn't that repel most of gamers? Isn't making your game more "accessible" to the mass market a smart strategy?
This is the counter-intuitive part. By doing LESS is how you differentiate yourself from the competition. This is how a NEW sub-genre are born. When your game becomes HUGE, then yeah, you can start making sequels that are more "accessible" to the masses.
Just look at Mass Effect 1 and Wither 1. These games were not at all "accessible" to the masses. But they grabbed a gamer's attention because they met an unmet need. Once the games took off and sold a lot, the game devs made the sequels be way more "accessible" to the masses.
Let's go back to doing LESS.
The best example is in the business world: Twitter does LESS than Facebook. When Twitter started, it just focused on the "status update". And that was enough to make it successful.
Apple does this too. They know that removeing features and even hardware is what separates them from their competition. Apple always did LESS and they still sold billions and even were able to charge more than their competition.
Fancy, five-star restaurants do less, and charge more, too.
Twitch does LESS than Youtube, and they are now huge. They tailed their product for specific need.
I can keep doing. But you get the point.
So why does doing less work? Because it's how consumers behave and buy things. By doing less, you're tailoring your product (in this case, your game) to fulfill an unmet need.
For example, you have a migraine headache. You go to the pharmacy, and you see a big bottle of pills that says:
"Medicine: Cures all all joint, muscle, and headache pain".
Then you see another bottle...
"Relieves your migraine headache"
One bottle does a lot. The other does LESS. But the one doing less will sell more because it fulfills a specific need somebody has. Consumers don't believe that one product will solve every single pain they have. They gravitate to products that are tailored to solve their specific need.
This is exactly like Youtube vs. Twitch. Youtube is that big bottle that is a "cures all". And Twitch is that bottle that focuses on fulfilling one need. Twitch does LESS and it gets MORE attention for it. In other words, Youtube is trying so hard to with game streaming services, but it's not getting the same attention as Twitch.
This insight is great and all. But I bet you're wondering HOW do you do LESS? Let me explain that next...
Step Two: Pay Attention To What Needs Your Video Game Fulfills
Before you can use this strategy of doing LESS so your game gets MORE attention, you need to know what your gamer wants.
Remember, a gamer wants to fulfill a need. That's why they like a certain genre more than others. Everybody likes a certain genre because one genre fulfills a need more than other genres.
One gamer loves 4x strategy games because they don't have the twitch reflexes that are needed in a RTS. Or a person hates open-world because they love story more, so they play story driven games. And some gamers don't need competition in their game, and they play walking simulators.
Again, each gamer has a specific need -- and each game genre fulfills that need. Yeah, a gamer may jump around and play different type of genres. But gamers mostly stick to their top 2 or 3 genres because it fulfills a need they have.
The reason I want you to know what your gamer wants is, because if you don't you'll make a game that is a "cure all".
Remember, you don't want to make a game that is like that big bottle of medicine that says "cures all pains". That may have worked in 1930. But consumers have gotten savvy, and they don't believe those claims anymore. Consumers gravitate and buy products that are made to specifically for them.
By knowing exactly what need your game is fulfilling, you can develop a game that no other developer has tried to do. You can be the first game to fulfill a HUGE need that other game developers aren't taking advantage of.
Ok, great... you know that you can't try to appeal to a mass market, you got to do less, and you need to know what need your game fulfills. Now what? How will this help you get more gamers to play and buy your game? How will all this get your game more attention?
Step Three: Narrow Down Your Genre and Create a NEW Sub-Genre
If you want to develop a game that sells itself...
If you want your game to get attention...
If you want gamers to play your game...
If you want to do all your digital marketing for free...
Then you need to narrow down your genre. How?
Well, let's start with knowing what genre your game is in. For example, Dark Souls is in the RPG genre. What kind? An Action RPG.
Now go even deeper, let's narrow it down even more:
What kind of Action RPG? Hard Difficulty.
This little insight sounds simple, but it's not. So many game devs don't understand the power of focusing on one little feature that may seem not important.
Just like the term, Replay-Value. This term seems innocent, and not important. But this term is getting used more and more, and it'll soon become it's own sub-genre.
These little sub-genre's are important to gamers because they want a game specifically made for them.
For instance, some gamers want a hard RPG game. Could they up the difficulty in other RPG games? Sure. But they're basically playing a game that is a "cure all". They want a game that is specifically made for them.
Let's try another example: Binding of Isaac.
What genre is that game? Basically it's an action adventure game.
Let's narrow it down further.... what kind of action adventure game?
It's a shooter... and a dungeon crawler.
Let's narrow it down even more...
What kind of shooter? It's a roguelike.
Let's narrow it down even more...
It's a game with replay-value.
Again, this is easy to spot this because of hindsight. But back in 2010 when "Rogue-like game with Replay-Value" wasn't a sub-genre, it wasn't easy to spot.
And gamers had an unmet need back then. And Binding of Isaac fulfilled that need. They focused on a very small part of their game, the roguelike and replay value aspect, and made it the biggest part of their game.
You see what I'm doing there? I'm starting first with a huge, wide genre (like that bottle that says "cure all"). A genre like action adventure is too wide. It doesn't fulfill a gamer's needs. Gamers want something more specific. A shooter, action adventure game doesn't cut it anymore. It's still feels like a "cure all" to most gamers. But a Rogue-like with Replay-Value is specifically made for that gamer that NEEDS a game like this.
By narrowing down your genre, you're going to discover what makes your game unique, and makes it stand out from other games.
If you're not clear about what genre you're in, you're going to be like that big bottle of medicine that says "cure all".
Let's do an exercise to help you figure this all out...
The "Genre Dominator"
I call this exercise the Genre Dominator. Here's what to do...
I want you to start looking at the non-obvious reasons why some games get all the attention. Yeah, it's easy to see that the games that have a huge advertising budget get sold. But if you look closely, that's not true. There are many indie video games that are NOT backed up by huge publisher money, and all of a sudden come out of nowhere and sell a lot.
So, here's what I want you do RIGHT NOW. Remember, you just learned a lot of stuff. And sitting and reading is one thing, but DOING means you'll actually learn something, and never forget it.
Go grab a pen and paper, or open a word doc. On the top I want you to write this down:
What Are The Top 5 Games In My Genre?
Don't cheat. See if you can come up with a list without googling them. What I want you to look out for is, see how many are sequels.
This will help you keep in mind to NOT try to compete with these games. I don't want you to be the Google Plus of gaming.
Next, write this question down and answer it...
What Unmet Need are They Fulfilling?
In one of my example aboves, I talked about Dark Souls. On the surface, it's an action RPG. But now you know better. Dark Souls discovered a new subgenre: Difficult.
Same with Binding of Isaac. It's obviously a Rogue-like. But what kind? A Rogue-like with Replay-Value.
Both these games fulfill an unmet need (RPGs that focus on being difficult... and... Rogue-like games that have replay-value).
This little subtle difference is important. I want you to stop looking at the obvious ways games get attention. I want you to look "under the hood" and the underlying reasons why some games stand out and others get buried under their competition.
What Unmet Need is YOUR Game Fulfilling?
What does your gamer need? What's one thing that your game does that no other game has done? Keep digging. Keep narrowing your search because you'll come up with an insight you've never thought of before, and no other game developer has either.
This is how you start developing a sub-genre you can dominate it. By knowing what need your game is fulfilling you can now focus on THAT aspect in your game. This will help you stand out from other games. This is how you get a gamer's attention. A gamer will see your game, and think,
"This is exactly the game I've always wanted to play... how come nobody has done this before".
And this is how you come up with terms like, "rogue-like" or "replay-value". Terms like this become sub-genres. And if you can discover your own sub-genre, then you can discover an unmet need no game is fulfilling yet.
Do This Right Now
Take out a pen and paper, or open a word doc. On top of the paper, write down these three questions:
What Are The Top 5 Games In My Genre?
What Unmet Need are They Fulfilling?
What Unmet Need is YOUR Game Fulfilling?
This will only take you 15 to 20 minutes. And answer these questions because it will help you create a NEW sub-genre that no game dev is taking advantage of.
Don't be like most game devs that fail by trying to compete with brand name games in a huge genre.
Carve your own little genre out of a big one, and find something unique about your game that fulfills a gamer's needs.
By knowing what needs your gamer has, and focusing your game to fulfill that need, you're going to get attention. Gamers will come to YOU because no other game is fulfilling that need.
This is exactly how you can market your game for free. This is why you don't need to spend thousands of bucks on advertising and PR -- that may or may not work.