Step 6 of Game Development: Successfully Marketing An Indie Game
Long gone are the days where a game can be a financial success based solely on its own merits of quality and entertainment. There are currently a countless amount of super fun games right now available on the AppStore and Steam that are total financial bombs because no one knows about them. On the other hand, there are some insanely profitable games right now that just aren’t very fun or clever at all, but they had excellent marketing behind them or were famous for being a ridiculous fluke.
Due to the awesome new tools being created that make creating video games easier, there are hundreds of new games being released every single day. Unless you have a super solid marketing strategy in place before the game is even finished being created (or unless you can afford a million dollar advertising campaign), the game has a pretty small chance of standing out from the hundreds of other games that were also released that day.
One way of getting the word out about your game are game conferences. Some of the most common reasons to attend GDCs of any size are:
Showing off your game in hopes that publications will feature it and spread the word. If you have the budget to attend E3 and rent a booth space to show off your game, it’s a great way to get some press coverage. If you are attending but not renting a booth, you have much less of a chance to show your game off to anyone who would write about it, since you have to walk up to people and show them your game.
If you are looking for a publisher for your game, GDCs can be good to attend, since you can speak face to face with reps from a bunch of different publishers. For a fee + royalties, publishers will use their established marketing reach to promote your games to a mucher larger audience then you could ever attain working solo.
Every GDC has a bunch of speakers giving talks about every aspect of the gaming industry. What’s great about that, is that you’re constantly kept up to date with the newest tools, work pipelines, and trends in this quickly evolving field. If investing in your development team is something a studio has interest in, it can make financial sense to send some team members for training purposes.
GDCs are a great place to make contacts in the industry. Everyone there is super excited to be there and there’s an incredible energy present that comes from everyone being super excited to show off their games, but also excited to see what everyone else’s games are. If you’re finishing up school, take your portfolio to a GDC and talk with as many companies as you can.
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