Video Game Marketing Advice That Will Get Gamers To Discover Your Game
It's obvious, right? Put your video game on a portal like itch.io or Steam. Maybe put out a devlog, and update it weekly. Kickstarter, sounds good too, right? Oh, what about press releases? Even maybe paid ads!
This is the intuitive way to get a gamer to discover your video game, right?
Well, in success, it's usually the guy that does something counter intuitive. It's the guy that doesn't do what everybody else does that succeeds. Copy, and you just follow the herd.
Today, you're going to learn something counter intuitive. And not a lot of video game devs will ever know.
And you're going to get a NEW technique that no game dev uses, to help you get gamers to discover your video game. And it has nothing to do with devlogs, ads, press releases, or Steam.
And best of all, it's free.
But... before I show you this simple technique, I want to show you something interesting first. This will help you fully understand why the technique you're about to learn works.
This Has Never Happened Before In The Video Game Industry
In the weekend of Feb 17, 2017,something happened that not a lot of people noticed. But I noticed. And it has huge implications on indie game developers, and how they market their game.
So, two games came out: Nioh and For Honor.
Anyway, here's what happened...
This weekend started an arms-race, where whoever can spend more on "new media"is going to win... is going to sell more video games.
Let me show you what I mean...
Ubisoft did something that has never been done before. They flooded Twitch and YouTube that weekend. They paid a lot of money to influencers to play their game.
Now, sure, publishers give out game keys to YouTubers and Twitch Streamers all the time. And sure, they pay these influencers and sponsor them all the time.
But these corporations (and that's what publishers are) are still timid with this "new media". They still like commercials. They still like video game trade show. They still like banner ads.
New media was not the first place to go and advertise. Old, corporate types, sitting in a board room still have no idea how big of an influence YouTubers and Twitch Streamers are. Until that weekend.
That weekend of Feb 17, 2017 was the first time a corporation took a risk and put all their marketing focus on new media.
And it worked!
Sony was scared. They didn't risk too much advertising money sponsoring YouTubers and Twitch Streamers. And because of that, For Honor got more attention than Noih. For Honor sold almost TWICE as much as Nioh did.
So, now what? How does this affect you and your indie video game? How will this less your exposure? And what can you do about that?
How This Directly Applies To You As a Indie Video Game Dev
So, what's my point here? What does this have to do with you?
Well, getting your game to influencers (YouTubers, Twitch Streamers,video game bloggers), was one of the best ways to get your indie game out there, and get discovered.
I haven't done any scientific studies, or anything... but, I buy most of my indie video games after listening to podcasts like Roundtable Live, That One Video Gamer, and Co-Optional Podcast. I watch YouTubers play indie games that I've heard of, but never seen. That motivates me to buy. And I'm sure a lot gamers have the same experience.
It rarely happens that I discover an indie game on itch.io, or Steam, or Humble Bundle, and buy it. If I do, then I go on YouTube and Twitch and see what my favourite influencers say about the game.
Again, this is probably the same experience a lot of gamers have.
That's how most gamers discover new indie games: through influencers. They may have seen an indie game on Steam or Humble Bundle. But what makes them pull the trigger, and buy it, is by listening to their favorite influencers talk about the game. It's all through word-of-mouth.
But now, AAA game companies have ruined it for everybody! Let me explain...
Who Can Spend More On YouTubers and Twitch Streamers Is Going To Get More Gamers
Remember how I told you about Nioh vs For Honor.
I'm certain Sony has perked up, and seen the success of what Ubisoft has done with paid sponsorships with influencers.
Ubisoft was the first corporation to take a risk and spend most of its marketing on "new media" and influencers. And this has started an arms-race on who can spend more marketing money on influencer and new media.
Just watch, Sony's next new game is going to flood Twitch and YouTube. You're going to see a lot of your favorite influences get a lot of paid promotions.
Now, back to you.
So, you email an YouTuber or Twitch Streamer to check out your game. You give them a free game key.
This strategy has worked for a lot of indie game devs. But it's 2017. The video game industry has changed. AAA publishers are buddig in. And not only are they giving out free game keys, they are paying these influencers.
How are you supposed to compete with that? How are you going to get a YouTuber or Twitch Streamer to open your email, and play your game, and then stream it or talk about it?
These influencers are now going to get paid a lot more. And they'll have a lot less time and incentive to promote indie video games for free.
Now, I'm not saying that YouTubers and Twitch Streamers are going to stop playing indie games. But the video game industry has changed. What has worked before, is not going to work today. It's going to get tougher to get gamers to discover your video game.
But you do have a chance. You don't need to spend thousands on promotions, or press releases or banner ads. You don't need to copy what AAA publishers do.
There is still a way to get a gamer to discover your game, play it, and then buy it. How? That's next...
The Simple Technique -- That Not Many Indie Game Devs Use -- To Help Get Your Game Discovered By Gamers
So, the marketing strategies that AAA publishers and corporations use are NOT the same strategies an indie dev should use.
Sure, if you have thousands or millions of bucks to spend on a marketing budget, then I'm jealous, and go for it! Go to game conventions, put out commercials, sponsor big YouTubers and Twitch Streamers.
But, if you're just staring off, and you $0 for advertising, promotion, then here's a simple technique designed for an indie game dev to market their game for zero bucks...
Simple Technique: "1 Minute Gamer Demo" Give a Gamer Instant Gratification So They Get Hooked
If you look around on how most AAA publishers and even indie game companies do their marketing, it's with some sort of game trailer.
Not only that, the game trailer is flashy, and is designed in a way to show the CORE of the game. No boring stuff. Just to the point of what the game is and what it offers.
This is the intuitive thing to do, right? The obvious thing is to create a game trailer. Put it up on YouTube, and share it on Facebook, Twitter, and reddit.
But, as you probably know, I like doing the counterintuitive thing. And you have to! Because if a game dev just does what AAA publishers do, then they're just followers. They never lead. And leaders get noticed, not followers.
So, if you want to get noticed, here's an insight and a plan...
Trailers were copied from Hollywood. They work for movies, but videogames ARE NOT movies. And you've probably heard a lot of gamers say, "I don't want to SEE the game, I want to PLAY the game".
That's the point of video games: is to play them, not watch them.
So, how can you put these 2 things together? You know you need some sort of trailer that shows the core of your game, and you know that gamers would rather play than watch?
So Here's the plan, and I call it...
"1 Minute Gamer Demo" Technique
I call this technique the "1 Minute Gamer Demo". What's important is, it must be 1 minute.
Because this restriction will benefit you and the gamer in two ways. Here's how...
1 Minute Gamer Demo: Benefit Number One
It will benefit you, because if you only have 60 seconds, you're only going to showcase the best part of your video game. You're going to trim all the fat. And that's what a good video game or movie trailer is, too. They're not too long, and they only show the best parts. It get's a person emotionally hooked.
A game demo that is too long, starts with first level, or even has a tutorial, is NOT grab the gamer emotionally.
By restricting yourself one minute, you'll see how creative you can get in developing a video game demo that is the heart of your game -- and will grab gamers attention.
1 Minute Gamer Demo: Benefit Number Two
And the second benefit to having a 60 second video game demo is, time.
This is sort of your "elevator pitch" to YouTubers, Twitch Streamers, and video game press and bloggers. Instead of trying to explain what your game is, you let them PLAY it.
And it's getting harder and harder to get these influencers to play games now.
Like I said in the beginning of this video and article: AAA publishers are starting to see how new media and influencers can sell A LOT of games.
This year is the first time a AAA game publisher put a lot of marketing budget into new media... and it worked!
Ubisofts successes with For Honor's strategy with Twitch and YouTube is just the start. You'll see other big video game corporations start fighting over getting the attention of influencers.
It's going to be hard to get these influencers attention. Especially if you can't pay them.
But, people still love playing indie video games. So, instead of trying to convince these influences to play your game, and give them out free keys, give them the elevator pitch.
Get them hooked with your One Minute Demo. It's less of a commitment than playing an entire game, even a longer demo. It's your foot in the door. It's how you can get influencers attention -- and it's free.
Video Game Trailer -- That Gamers Can Play!
A One Minute Demo is like a trailer. But it's a trailer that a gamer can play. And trailer is designed to get you emotionally hooked. They're short on purpose because they know people don't have time to figure out what a game or movie is about. And they only show the best parts -- often spoiling the movie or game.
And a 1 Minute Demo is less of a commitment. Giving out game keys is one approach. But gamers and influencers don't have 2 to 3 hours to get into a game. A 1 Minute Game Demo throws the gamer in the 2 hour mark, and is playing the best part of the game. Then it stops! And the gamer want's more. They are now emotionally invested in your game. They will now actively seek you out, and want to see more of your game.
They will think, "If this part if fun, I wonder what the rest of the game is like?".
Give them a little of the best part, and then take it all away. That's how you get them coming back.
So, if you want gamers to find your game, to talk about your game online, spread free word-of-mouth, and then eventually buy your game, then start with a 1 Minute Demo.
This strategy is specifically made for indie game devs who don't have thousands to spend on ads, PR, and sponsoring YouTubers and Twitch Streamers. If this is you, then the best way to get your game out there, is to develop a video game trailer that gamers can play: 1 Minute Demo
The "1 Minute Gamer Demo" Technique
If you learn best by doing something in IRL, then this section is for you. So, let's take everything you just learned, and put it into action. This will help your brain remember a lot of info you just absorbed.
So, let's have some fun.
Get out clean sheet of paper. Or open a new word doc. And take the next 15 minutes to answer these 3 questions:
- What Is The "Heart" Of Your Game?
- What's My Best Game Feature That Gamers Will Love?
- How Can I Showcase Those Two Parts In 60 Seconds?
My goal for you here is, to get an insight to help you create a 1 minute demo that gets a gamer emotionally hooked. You're not showing off all your features. You're not telling the entire story. You're not including a tutorial.
By answering these questions, it'll help you come up with the best way to fit your game in 1 minute. It'll help you create that "elevator pitch". By restricting yourself to 1 minute, you'll be surprised to how creative you can get.