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September 24, 2022, 10:52:18 AM

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessHow to market a indie game?
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Neatlent
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« on: August 20, 2022, 12:36:35 PM »

I’am making a 2d platformer which is basically like celeste and super meatboy kind of game. But, I also don’t know how to market it with no followers. And also contacting youtubers is hard because, I have no idea what to say when, I contact them. Any help on marketing?
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Ramos
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2022, 09:33:46 AM »

I’am making a 2d platformer which is basically like celeste and super meatboy kind of game. But, I also don’t know how to market it with no followers. And also contacting youtubers is hard because, I have no idea what to say when, I contact them. Any help on marketing?

You can see some case studies for some Facebook marketing I did in the past here: https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=71871.0

And a case study about email marketing: https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=73024.0

Hope it helps
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2022, 03:24:03 PM »

My advice as an old man who as seen some stuff is that you should make a game that you are proud of, that even if it didn't sell one copy you would know you made something great and not waste your time on marketing. That is, the only real way to market a game is to get involved with paying either facebook, or ign or streamers or whatever a lot of money. IGN usually starts at $25,000 to run advertisements.

Only a crazy person will talk about your game just because it is of high quality and they like the game. "I'm a professional" translates to, "I only do game related things for money." For most "professionals" money has to change hands either by sending gifts, or buying presents/alcoholic drinks at parties/etc, you have to do something to get people to respect you in a quid pro quo. Some people expect you to work under their heel for years to get a favor in return.

Of course, once your game is famous, people won't stop talking about it. So how do you go from being unknown to having a famous game? The best practice is to chase the trends and try to go viral on some platform like steam. But being a slave to the current trends is the path to making boring games you have no fun making that if you are lucky make just enough to cover expenses.

Sadly if you want the actual secret to doing it: there are probably 100 people or less in the industry who know how to make a game that lands without spending a fortune in marketing, and I'm not one of them. And if I knew how to make a hit game through some magic trick I'm not sure I would just post the answer publicly. Most of the few who know actively gate keep newcomers. Gabe newel isn't gonna email you and tell you how to make a hit. He knows, but he isn't telling anyone the secret. He'll let you on steam if you pay the $100 but he isn't giving out any tips on how to actually make a buck on his platform.


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Ramos
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2022, 05:46:01 AM »

the only real way to market a game is to get involved with paying either facebook, or ign or streamers or whatever a lot of money.


100% not true unless you aim for epic, dark star, viral, bill gates, fallout 5 success.
Just a rough example, splattercat, Yippee Ki Yay Mr Falcon, and many other decent size YouTubers do it for free, the only condition is for the game to be good.
There are tons of ways to do marketing with 0 funding and have decent results and now I am talking straight from experience not theory.



 "I'm a professional" translates to, "I only do game related things for money."


This line is awesome, I will "steal" it and re-tweet it at some point  Cheesy



there are probably 100 people or less in the industry who know how to make a game that lands without spending a fortune in marketing


You only need to invest some personal work for basic marketing, and if you want more advanced marketing you need to invest in networking and if you want epic results sure you can invest the money as well but know that if you have an epic game even basic marketing can achieve solid results

Gentelman  Gentleman






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michaelplzno
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2022, 06:31:34 AM »

So there are some things you can do without a huge budget:

My first game to get attention was Kid the World Saver which I did when I was in grad school. My grad school sponsored the IGF which I think is likely why I got into the festival. It wasn't really a pleasant experience because it felt like the shadows on the wall were moving in a pretty pre-set pattern and I didn't understand how they all moved in unison. I wound up dropping out of grad school because it felt really hostile there and they may have been spying on the students for some sort of alternate reality game called "Reality ends here."

I did a prototype of Xanadu which got some visibility when I posted a reddit thread about how there was a sort of similar game that went viral. My post got a chunk of views and my teaser for Xanadu, then called Mayor Max got more visibility than usual. Sadly Reddit has clamped down on random posts of stuff that doesn't come from people who spend a lot of time in the communities. Not sure why this is because if a project is good you'd think their community would want to see it. Gatekeeping I suppose.

I did a bunch of small prototypes for iOS including a match 3 called Hexacide. None of these got any visibility anywhere. One of my prototypes was for a virtual fidget spinner that would later somehow go on to become a trend with those real life things everyone used.

After that, it was the 2012 election and I was working on a strategy game based on Advance Wars and I decided to make it about saying loud soundbites to win presidential primaries rather than fighting with guns. This project was probably the biggest press day I ever had. I made a reddit thread complaining about how no one was writing about my game, and I even chastised Kotaku in a private email saying "how come no one wants to play my quality indie game made with love" They then wrote me up and gave me a big amount of visibility. Later Patrick Klepek interviewed me to see more about what my process was and so on for Giant Bomb.

Then I made Composition J which was sort of a weak game imo from the actual "Game" pov. It was sort of confusing and not really too easy to play, but it had a really nice gif of the game looking like a Piet Mondrian work come to life. So I guess kotaku took pity on me and used my gif to get some clicks.

After that I did Don't Shoot Yourself based on a prototype I did back in grad school where I was sort of miserable and dodging my own bullets trapped in a little circle. This one I got a small mobile publisher for named Ayopa Games and they actually managed to get apple to feature the game. Its unclear if we marketed it correctly and the pricing was also a question, I wanted to charge a few bucks for it rather than just 99 cents. But because Ayopa had a relationship with apple we could get that slot.

Then I was more on my own with a project Speedway Heroes which was sort of a proc gen mario kart with not as good graphics. This one got no press, though I didn't really try to do much marketing. I posted a link to it in some reddit groups and got some nice feedback. I tried to get some streamers to play it and they sort of just sneered at it. I guess it was too boring of a concept. The game had a horse as a racer, and actually someone made a demo of a game where a horse just pushes a ball around that made it on the evening news around when I launched my game. That stung, like if I just put a ball on the track I would have gotten on the news?

Then I started on the Matchyverse which was really designed to be commercial. I spent a few years making Matchy Star and then to hype it we did a free game on steam called Matchy Gotchy which got a chunk of views on steam because it was free. Sadly we tried to do a paid version of Matchy Gotchy and it never really was finished, and also Steam I think marked us as spam so the game kind of died. We have still not released Matchy Star proper.

We revisited DSY and made a new version for XBOX and actually some of my marketing for that got some virality when microsoft pushed my tweets. Then the war in Ukraine started.





And so it was that I decided I would have to start my own network if I ever wanted to get anywhere and eventually we launched https://swgio.com which is a backend for a lot of .io games I made that run in browsers. Lately we've been pumping ahead with Xanadu which is the project from earlier that I finally am working on again.

After all of that, I still am not making enough income to truly consider myself successful. And I am still bitter that there is a large chunk of gamedevs who do not consider me a "real" person as a game maker. It is what it is sadly.




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