Game development is about you, your product, and your audience. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with the audience bit — whether it’s through shyness, laziness, or a combination of the two. In any case, something needs to change.
Learning about your potential media outlets is always a good first step. Read on and find out more about where to promote your project — complete with examples of Game.Dev Comp 23 entrants who are using these avenues to successfully market themselves.
Regardless of whether or not you actually like Facebook, there’s no denying that it’s a good promotion vehicle. If you have an account, set up a Facebook fan page for your game. Renowned marketers have sung its praises, and Comp 23 entrants such as TF2: Goldrush have used it effectively.
Though not as powerful a marketing vehicle as Facebook, blogs are still rather useful to keep around. If anybody is interested in your game, it’s nice to have a specific Website to direct them to for additional information.
Just don’t expect blog advertising to swell your ranks: it’s the sort of thing that generally receives attention when somebody is already sold on the concept of your game. Valuable, but not as easy to maintain. Still, Comp 23’s L4D card game has the right idea: in fact, its creator has a pre-existing blog to take advantage of. Bonus points!
Twitter is like the lightweight version of blogging: while also arguably more difficult to promote than a well-placed Facebook page, it’s very easy to maintain and is an important way to keep fans in the loop about game updates and future projects.
Here’s a sample Twitter feed from Comp 23, for a game called Pea Adventures. It’s still rather small, but it’s already demonstrating Twitter’s potential for cross-linking and micro updates.
This point has been drilled in before, but it bears repeating: sign up to a game development community and get involved. You’ll have a free audience, free critiques and free advice. Not to mention that being surrounded by like-minded people is always rad. Starting off somewhere local such as Game.Dev is great, but the more marketing-savvy should also look further afield in places such as TIGSource.
This may sound like the “big fish” (and looking at IGN may indeed be a bit hopeful), but smaller sites such as IndieGames and even Rock, Paper, Shotgun will gladly check out most indie offerings. Journalists aren’t as evil or snobby as most terrified devs would assume — poke them and see what happens!
I’ve personally enjoyed three reviews on IndieGames without investing any effort (the most recent being Comp 23’s Onslaught of the Electric Zombies), and their general review lineup reveals an openness to newbies and experimentation that is genuinely quite refreshing.
And remember …
When it comes to marketing, just do it. You’ve got nothing to lose, and unless your tactics involve several kittens and a flamethrower, chances are that you won’t do any long-term damage to your reputation.
People are generally more supportive and interested than you otherwise might think: your job is to prove this.