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Promoting game/ getting more views

A topic by BlueBean created 20 days ago Views: 242 Replies: 3
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Hey, my names Sean. I am a solo dev who's been working on a game for a year. I don't want to promote my game in this post. Instead I want to ask some more successful game devs how they promoted/ got more views on their game. 

I've been working on a game for about a half a year now. I think it'd be a waste if no one played it. So with your help how can I improve my advertising capabilities?

Moderator (1 edit) (+3)

Are you talking about tabletop roleplaying games promotion? I don't know. Tell people on twitter and post it on Drivethru as well ... itch is great for a lot of things, but organic discoverability isn't one of them. If you're talking about a video game, this is the wrong forum (so I imagine you probably just spammed this message amongst multiple forums, or else it would have been obvious by the title), but eh, I have some time. I have "shipped" a commercial one before, and my words of wisdom are as follows:

1. If you want someone to play it and you're proud of the game itself, chances are it's good enough that a few people will find it, play it, and even enjoy it. Then it's not a waste anymore.

2. If you want a LOT of people to play it, and you want to make a lot of money in the process ... well ... you have to either get lucky or have a AAA marketing budget. Maybe shop it around to indie publishers as an alternative. There is very little that you, as a solo dev, will be able to do after launch. 

3. Sure, you can send keys to every youtuber from here to the moon, but each one of them whose let's play would actually make a difference gets a bunch of free keys every day and are always going to be more successful than the majority of indie developers can ever dream of, because a lot more people are likely to form a parasocial attachment to a funny guy, gal , or nonbinary individual who plays video games on video. Those youtubers will thus treat you as interchangeable and disposable unless you have a publisher or big money to back you up. Chances that they will play your game above other more profitable, views-generating big names is almost none. It's not zero, but it's very unlikely. 

4. You can try to send actual press releases all over the place, but again, most outlets get swamped with them, and only a few small indie sites will cover it ... and that CAN get you those few players who will genuinely seek out, play, and love your game, but will NOT get you any more than that. If that's your criterion, then it can be worth it. If you actually want to sell it, hmm, your returns will likely be quite limited. 

5. Social media can be a place to promote, but it's full of people who have seen you have multiple public depressive meltdowns and are owned by Elron Must and Markie Zuckerberb. Might work a bit to get a few players, but without a massive strategy or a lot of luck, it won't get you paid much beyond a burrito or two. 

6. If you're really good at viral marketing, that could be something. Engineer some sort of publicity stunt, maybe, or set up and ARG ... but in that case you basically would have to create a whole new game with real world gameplay just to promote your first game. If you're really talented at that sort of thing, though, it could be worthwhile. ARGs aren't inherently monetizable, but they CAN get pretty viral sometimes, and if the ARG is good and engaging enough, then most aficionados don't really mind that it ultimately gives them a sales pitch at the end. Not all ARG participants will convert to buyers, though. 

7. In person networking can help, I hear, but that means going to conventions and being not only social but socially adept, like maxed out on charisma. It also probably means covid would have to end, and it doesn't seem like that's every happening at this point ...

8. Consider running a modest Kickstarter before launch, even if you don't need the money to make the actual game. It's a good enough promotional tool, and if you fund then even if you sell zero copies later, at least you'll get a nice little chunk of money up front and will have a small but inherently interested player base ready to experience your game when it comes out. 

In conclusion, there are options. But if you want a LOT of people to play it, those options get much smaller. You may hit the jackpot or you may have a game that lingers in obscurity forever, and it's really hard to know which factors lead to one or the other outcome with any amount of certainty or reliability. Just as it is in pretty much every creative field, really.

Good luck. I hope you do well, for what it's worth. Don't mean to be discouraging. It's just the reality of the "industry," and most similar or adjacent industries, sadly.

Thanks for your time.  Sorry for putting this on the wrong forum. This is my first time posting.  I'll try and do 4, 5, 2

Deleted 10 days ago

Please don't self-promote in unrelated topics, thanks.