So you’re making a game. That’s great! You spent countless hours and sleepless nights to make sure that your brainchild made it out into the world. Now, if you want to make rent it’s time to get out there and make sure people know about your game. After all, what’s the point of making something if nobody ever plays it? Let’s talk about the best ways to handle every developer’s favorite activity: talking to the press.
Figure out what your game is.
If you’ve got a game that’s nearing completion you probably have a good idea of what your idea is. Maybe you’ve made a procedurally generated RPG about teens or a puzzle platformer about social justice. Great, get the essence of what makes your game unique down to a quick pitch. When you’re walking the halls of a convention, or preparing emails for the press time is of the essence. There are tons of survival games on the market, let the world know why yours is special. That said if members of the press have agreed to talk with you, you can and should go past vague comparisons to games you’re influenced by and really show off how great your game is.
Know your audience.
One of the most important things to remember when talking to the press is that they’re people. This may seem a little obvious but it’s important to realize that while the press may be a major obstacle on your path they’re busy people with jobs and responsibilities. While it may be easy and convenient to consider the press a bump on the road to making your millions off of game development, it’s important to consider reporters’ individual tastes and interests. If a website only covers PC games, don’t reach out about your PS4 port. Conversely if a reporter loves strategy games, your RTS will probably go over well. Do some research before you reach out and you’ll be much more likely to get coverage.
To take this one step further, it’s pretty easy to tell when someone is feeding you rehearsed lines. Among games journalists the term visceral is a punchline after its ubiquity in the early 2010s. Would you want to hear meaningless buzzwords during every meeting? No and neither do journalists. I’ve always seen the most success when developers are conversational. Ask yourself what you would want if you were in their position and you’ll be ok.
Obviously there’s no easy way to guarantee that your game will be successful, but with these guidelines hopefully you’ll get a little more coverage. Have any other tips that you’ve found useful? Feel free to drop them into the comments below.