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998803 Posts in 39178 Topics- by 30591 Members - Latest Member: gerardrallo

April 21, 2014, 01:38:17 AM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsFinishedThe Trouble With Robots (marketing)
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Author Topic: The Trouble With Robots (marketing)  (Read 10142 times)
GeoffW
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« on: July 06, 2012, 07:45:38 AM »

Hi,

My name's Geoffrey White, I'm an independent developer working on a PC virtual card game called The Trouble With Robots.  A couple of friends have suggested I post a devlog here but, since my game is 99% complete at this time there isn't a lot left to report.  Instead I'll be making a 'marketing log'.  I'll report my successes and failures as honestly as I can, and hopefully we can all learn from my mistakes in trying to find an audience.


So lets get to it ... I already have:

So basically a pretty modest start, I know that I haven't done nearly enough to get the word out.  But I have had great feedback about the game so I'm determined to change this!

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Update: for those of you who don't want to dig through the whole DevLog, the game was launched on the 23rd of August 2012 and you can download the demo here:

>>> Demo <<<

However there's still plenty to discuss here as I market and maintain the game post-release.

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Update 2: I've just released a free expansion and dropped the price to $9.99 / 8.50 / 6.99.  There's no better time to try the game, or skip to the end of this thread and discuss expansions, pricing, discoverability and future plans!

---

Update 3: I forgot to link to my Steam Greenlight page:

>>> Greenlight <<<
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 04:20:23 AM by GeoffW » Logged

GeoffW
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2012, 07:47:19 AM »

By the way, since this is a rather non-standard Dev Log, please let me know what you think of the idea and what you want to hear more / less about.
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GeoffW
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2012, 09:36:21 AM »

I forgot to mention in my first post, I also joined Delicious and StumbleUpon, but as far as I can tell they're totally worthless for promoting a game.  Stick to Facebook and Twitter!
   http://delicious.com/geoffrey1
   http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/GeoffW2



I've sent off a bunch of e-mails to game related web sites:

  • IndieGames
  • Giant Bomb
  • Rock Paper Shotgun

Rock Paper Shotgun helpfully suggest (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/hey-prs-and-developers/):

Quote
'If you want us to write about the game, there absolutely needs to be something to write about. I made a game, write about it! isnt helpful to us or to you.'

So I tried to pitch it as a sort of interview about the state of virtual card games, which are kindof all the rage right now (take a look at Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers and Scrolls for example).  Having done this I regret not thinking out my e-mails to IndieGames and Giant Bomb as carefully.  Still, perhaps the game will speak for itself?


I also sent a preview build to Lee Dewhurst at videogamesnetwork.co.uk.  He answered a desperate plea I made on LinkedIn last week, and though I don't think he has a huge readership, he seems like a nice guy and maybe I can get some good quotes at least?

Finally, and somewhat self-referentially, I've also posted this on TIGForums.  Here's hoping all 17,868 of you buy my game.  Wink
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Yodhe
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2012, 09:43:08 AM »

I am certainly interest in how your marketeering goes, whether you have any ethical/moral dilemias, what level of "shilling" you think is acceptable, and what worked, and didn't for you.

Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing.
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GeoffW
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2012, 10:13:43 AM »

Thanks for your comment.

I'd like to say that I would stoop to any level of shilling as long as I don't get caught.  That's the attitude of every successful psychopath and it will get you far (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/sep/01/psychopath-workplace-jobs-study).  But in practice my ethics are pretty strong, I really hate both lying and being lied to and I want to live in a world where everyone's honest.  I find myself justifying everything I write.

So I'm trying to get used to speaking more confidently because that seems to be what people want and expect - but without crossing the line into dishonesty.
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swordpond
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2012, 10:55:20 AM »

Do you have any ideas on pricing yet? I think the game looks quite good!
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GeoffW
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 11:17:06 AM »

Do you have any ideas on pricing yet? I think the game looks quite good!

Thanks!

I haven't decided on pricing yet, if I'm accepted onto Steam I will probably do whatever they recommend (perhaps within the 7 / $10 category, but that's not a promise).  If I don't it's likely to be a bit more than that as I gather users are less numerous but less price sensitive.
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brettchalupa
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 11:32:13 AM »

Are you planning on releasing a demo for the game?

I honestly think that would be worth the time and effort for quite a few reasons. 1. You'll have something for potential customers to play. 2. The press will have something to link to and share if they do cover it at all. 3. For a card game, it is hard to know what to expect entirely, so a demo would definitely help.

My other suggestion would be to create a trailer or small series of trailers that give an overview of the game. Would love to see it in motion.

The style of the game is very interesting, and I think your website if sufficient.

Other things I would recommend: submitting your game/website to Reddit. There are a lot of users on Reddit, and you will most definitely get some feedback. I'd also say work on getting the game up on other places like Desura, Indievania, or your own site. I can only hope it does get on Steam and is successful, but it is good to have backups.

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Paul Jeffries
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2012, 12:47:35 PM »

This makes an interesting change from a typical devlog and I look forward to seeing what lessons come out of this - I'm always terrible at actually promoting my games once I've made them so I'm hoping to pick up a few tips!

If I might make one critique of your approach so far: you don't seem to have actually said anywhere what the game plays like.  On your website you say 'there will be an awesome trailer coming soon', but that's frankly not a lot of use.  When I as a random bored internet person click through to your site, you have maybe ten seconds to hook me and make me interested in playing the game: telling me to come back later to even find out what the game is in the first place does not do that.  While you're still (presumably) working on the trailer it would be worth throwing up just a couple of bullet points as a placeholder to give some idea of what the game is and why I should be interested in it over all the other games I could be looking at instead.  Otherwise that hit is a wasted opportunity.
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GeoffW
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2012, 10:44:44 AM »

If I might make one critique of your approach so far: you don't seem to have actually said anywhere what the game plays like.

Good point, your critique is very welcome.  I've added a few more words about gameplay to the web site, perhaps it still isn't really enough but I plan to release the video very soon.  A demo is also in the works.

Other things I would recommend: submitting your game/website to Reddit.

OK, I've joined reddit and posted here:

http://www.reddit.com/r/IndieGaming/comments/w6clc/i_love_collectible_card_games_games_so_im_making/

This seems to have been quite well received so far and I definitely plan to use reddit more now.
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brettchalupa
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2012, 11:14:31 AM »

I'd suggest posting with some more proper grammar, so instead of "I love collectible card games games so I'm making this." make it "I love collectible card games, so I've been working on a collectible card game of my own."

That previous title is misleading and a bit confusing.

I'd also recommend always responding to people's comments and feedback.
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GeoffW
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2012, 02:34:56 AM »

Yesterday I went to the Steam indie meetup in London.  I haven't done anything quite like this before so it was very exciting, and interesting for two reasons:


From my point of view Greenlight is actually quite helpful, because even though I've already submitted to Steam through the current process I'm still allowed to use Greenlight when it launches (30th of August), which means I have two chances to get on Steam.  But this is a temporary situation, it's long term effect is less clear.

Meeting all the other indies was great, we swapped stories, advice and e-mails.  It sounds like Rezzed (http://www.rezzed.com/) was really good and I should make an effort to go to things like that and EuroGamer Expo (http://www.eurogamer.net/expo/) in future.
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GeoffW
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2012, 03:26:57 AM »

So last Thursday I put out my first trailer video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDOGFix_qks


I did a lot of research and sent a press release to over 100 industry news sites of all sizes (mostly via bulk BCC e-mails, a few were individually tailored).  I also put up a page of press resources (http://www.digitalchestnut.com/trouble/press.html).

I uploaded the video onto facebook (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150901747277805), and posted links to it on twitter, reddit (twice) and gamedev.net.  And I've embedded it prominently in the game's own web site: http://www.digitalchestnut.com/trouble/index.html

Naturally I got a few e-mail bounces, some 'out of office' replies and one person demanding never to be e-mailed again (sorry!).  And I'm sure many of the rest have ignored me, journalists are busy people and have plenty of news stories to choose from.  Also, I get the impression a few would have like to see a publisher and release date in my press release!  Still, I've had considerable success:

  • video on on the front page of PC Gamers World and Gamershell
  • press release appeared in GamaSutra's press release feed and numerous others
  • a modest game entry in GameSpot's database and various others
  • a glowing report of my trailer on 'Armless Octopus' (http://www.armlessoctopus.com/)
  • quite a few mentions on twitter

The posts on reddit didn't get any love this time - I suspect because they looked more 'commercial' than my previous post.  It's been fine on Facebook and GameDev though.

The video has been watched 176 times on youtube so far, and I believe many more times elsewhere as the video has been copied around and rehosted on other sites.  I wish there was a better estimate!

Finally, IndieDB got back to me and pointed out that their site is developer driven, so I could add the news about the game myself rather than e-mailing my press releases to them.  Oops!  I've done that now: http://www.indiedb.com/games/the-trouble-with-robots



Incidentally, I do still have a couple of people writing previews of the game, but that seems to be a much slower process than distributing trailers and press releases.
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eyeliner
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2012, 06:23:37 AM »

I applaud this idea! Gentleman
I like card games very much! Well, hello there!
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Yeah.
GeoffW
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2012, 12:03:23 PM »

I got an e-mail from Facebook offering me $25 of free credit if I create a Facebook ad account.  Try as I might, I couldn't think of a good reason to turn this down so I've created an account and authorized an epic 7-day advertising campaign for The Trouble With Robots ... with a $25 limit.  Lets call this an experiment.

So far I've had one click, costing 0.08p, and I've got one new fan as a result (on Facebook).  That seems pretty good value actually, but we'll see what happens over the next 7 days.

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Incidentally, the youtube trailer's at 241 views and still growing.
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