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December 11, 2017, 07:21:20 am

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessI don't know what I don't know about marketing!
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FauxOperativeGames
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« on: May 06, 2017, 01:50:30 pm »

Hi guys,

My game recently released. It's called 'Ruin of the Reckless', it's on Steam. It isn't perfect, of course, but we have pretty dang positive reviews and an engaged community of hardcore fans.  We raised $17k on Kickstarter, we built the game, we got to the front page of reddit and were up there for about 10 hours.  Many people like the game... some people LOVE the game...

However... I am slowly coming to the creeping realization that I really don't know where to start when it comes to marketing, how to get exposure, etc... We signed with a small PR firm to help us with press releases and such... target twitch streamers and youtubers etc...

If I 'knew' what to do I would spend 10 hours a day marketing the game, but we don't have a budget to spend on marketing... and I wouldn't know where to spend it... and I don't know where to invest my time right now even... how to get exposure without seeming 'spammy.' without pissing people off... And I am acutely aware that having a front page reddit article for ten hours puts us in like the top 1% of fortunate indy devs.  How can we capitalize on that in the best way? 

I know i'm not the first person to feel like this, but release is just a completely different world from dev. Is it too late to try to learn this stuff 'after release?' Should we have signed with a publisher after all?

I just don't know where I should be investing my time now (beyond on improving the game code.) I don't know what communities to target... and the press seems really unwilling to bite on our title for some reason.  We got a small write-up in PCgamer, we were mentioned on TotalBiscuits podcast on two separate occasions, we have writeups in lots of smaller indie game blogs etc... we have our mailing list, our Kickstarter backers... our community, our steam page, our twitter account, etc...

I dunno, this is make or break time for an indy studio like ours but I don't even know what I don't know or where I should be focusing my attention anymore...

Any advice (preferably from people that know what they're talking about) is much appreciated.
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b∀ kkusa
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2017, 02:06:24 pm »

Congrats on your game release.
Your question is actually quite frequent in this sub-forum, and the same answer will always come back.

It's "most of the time" useless to learn marketing after your game relase.

(btw i noticed that you totally stopped updating your devlog here around the time of your kickstarter until today  missing the opportunity for regulars to tweet or talk about your game)


Marketing after release takes multiple times the work to get the same kind of results than pre-release and during the release. I would not recommend it unless you really want to put some elbow grease into the marketing.

Most often the release of your game is the single most important event for your game. Both in terms of sales and marketing. If you just plop out the game without any fanfares, you are not going to get as much sales ass you would with some proper pre-release promotion. There is not a whole lot you can do after the release that would bring you more sales and press coverage than the release of the game.

If you really find marketing disgusting, you can always hire someone who has marketing experience and actually enjoys doing it. For full disclosure I have freelanced as a game PR person before so I could be biased about that particular statement. I still think I'm right though. One other option would be to contact a proper publisher, provided that your game is good enough to get the actual useful publishers interested. Since your game is pretty much ready, publishers would be more willing to take your game as they could get revenue instantly.


It's usually said that you should start marketing your game at least a year before release date.

I wouldn't say a year before release but there are lots of small things you can do during the development process that can get you some exposure.

You can share screens of development on Twitter for example with the #indiedev to get some traction.

It is extremely difficult to market a game after launch but there are still some things you can do, however you time for PR coverage would probably have passed.

How do I know? PR manager in the games industry Smiley


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FauxOperativeGames
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2017, 02:17:53 pm »

Hi, Thanks for the reply! That is close to what I suspected.

In fairness to my team I should probably mention that we have been 'marketing' in that sense all along to a certain extent. Sending out press releases, creating trailers, doing streamer outreach, interacting with our community, etc... 

I guess what it comes down to is that we were never able to create a big 'press push' for the game like some other titles have had and I think a big part of that is just because RotR is not as gimmicky/unique as some other titles are (like Ooblets, Rain World etc...) Note: I do not mean gimmicky as a bad thing, I just mean that RotR doesn't have nearly as great a central 'media hook' we can throw around to get press coverage easily.

I stopped posting on tigsource mainly because our blog posts for a while have been updates for our backers and fans, rather than meaty gamedev posts that could be useful to other devs...but maybe you're right that it was a foolish thing to make that decision...
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beetleking22
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2017, 10:54:57 am »

Im not marketing expert but I think the game might itself sells your game if its actually gives new  experience to players and the quality is great. Magic sells. People will spread the word  like a plague.
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WarpQueen
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 01:43:29 am »

Im not marketing expert but I think the game might itself sells your game if its actually gives new  experience to players and the quality is great. Magic sells. People will spread the word  like a plague.

For the most part, this is not true. It does happen, but I would not take my chances. A lot of great games are buried in the noice.
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beetleking22
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 08:11:53 am »

Im not marketing expert but I think the game might itself sells your game if its actually gives new  experience to players and the quality is great. Magic sells. People will spread the word  like a plague.

For the most part, this is not true. It does happen, but I would not take my chances. A lot of great games are buried in the noice.

I dont think good games are enough for that. It needs to do something new to the genre to shake people heads. Its very risky move but It can be also very rewarding if you do it right.
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jeremiah
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 03:20:48 pm »

Quote
We signed with a small PR firm to help us with press releases and such... target twitch streamers and youtubers etc...

How did you hire a PR firm if you don't have a marketing budget?

Anyway, targeting streamers and youtubers is something you should be able to do yourself. There are lists of youtubers you can find broken down by genre, but I've found them to usually be out of date or not match the said genres. The best way I know to find relevant people is search youtube by similar game Let's Plays, sorting by view count. Send them targeted emails, briefly describe your game, and give a steam key right there. Lots of videos on how to do this properly.









Your game looks rad. It shouldn't be hard to market it at all.
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2017, 09:08:10 am »

this list is a good start for places to learn, over the years i've read pretty much every article on this big list, and most have something useful to say, though a lot were repeating each other: http://www.pixelprospector.com/the-big-list-of-indie-game-marketing/

however, i do agree there seems to be a lack of detailed, in-depth marketing advice directed at indie game developers. most articles try to cover it all, or do so in a short time, including the ones on that list. i made a separate thread in this subforum asking for more detailed resources (books, specialized articles, etc.), so if anyone knows of any let me know there.
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ArjenAwesome
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 12:59:52 am »

Hey Faux, I don't have much to offer in the sense of how to do marketing and become a succes. What I can offer you is some feedback on your steam page and how you might improve it, this in my mind is marketing aswell. This is all constructive criticism I do not intend to insult you or your game, in fact I think the graphics are stunning.
So as a player when I'm checking out a steam page I start by checking the trailer and screenshots, I don't read anything and I don't look at your reviews, I'm lazy okay, there is a lot of bad games on steam so I'm going through them quickly. So here is my thing I don't think your trailer is good, your trailer (and screenshots) only show the same level (its the same tileset) the trailer does not explain the features of the game, it shows me some menu's and gameplay. As a player it just leaves me confused, is it local or multiplayer coop, can I play it in single player aswell? You show some different skills but never mention how the skill system works or how many there are, can I equip/level the skills? Are the main characters different from eachother, how? Who are we fighting and why? You don't mention that the game is a rogue-lite, I and many others don't read your description untill we like your screenshots and trailer, so the trailer should tell the whole story. I think you can really improve your steam page by fixing the screenshots and changing the trailer. Oh also add the combat sounds in the trailer, it makes watching the gameplay a lot more engaging.
I hope this helps you, I know it is a bit off topic but I believe that it will make the store presentation of your game a lot better. And again your graphics are amazing.

Arjen
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