Last time I wrote about "How to get players for your mobile game" so now it's time to share some thoughts on PC side!
From my experience, marketing a PC game leans more into press coverage, active community building and getting the message out for specific core players. This may consume less money (or is more possible to do with low budget than mobile game marketing), but it sure consumes more time and effort.
Like in every game project, the whole design process should start from the marketing point of view:
- Who is the core user of your game?
- What kind of other games does he/she play?
- How do you differentiate from these games?
And so on. By having the answer for these questions, it’s more easier to start reaching out for the medias, press sites, influencers and other necessary key players, who have already done coverage for these types of games. By randomly shouting to everyone of your awesome game, causes your message to look like ‘generic marketing text’ which won’t (most likely) cause that much of interest.
Always remember that you are NOT creating a game for everyone. Someone has to hate your game, if you want someone to love it.
Form a clear message of what you are about to create, how you are going to create it and for who you are about to create it for. It can be a good idea to write down the opposite as well, so who is NOT your player. This may help you to understand, who are you looking for.
Once this is done, you are more ready to start the actual development and start spreading the word from the day one. Building a community and the necessary credibility for press is time consuming. You need to reserve months for this process, to be ready when the launch day comes.Here are the tools and methods I've used with Balancelot marketing, which reached over four million views on Youtube, got to front-page of Twitch, had an article on multiple print/online gaming magazines and had thousands of users wishlisting on Steam before launch.
Two months before the launch, we formed a "marketing timeline" which was basically campaign for each week before and after the launch. These campaigns we're totally different "stunts", which had no predictions, how would they work. Giveaway campaigns, streaming weeks, Discord server co-work and many more. We kept track of the wishlist count for each week and tried to figure out what worked and what did not. In the end, it was rather hard to identify, which of these campaigns was efficient and what was not. We got a lot of "organic" traffic to our Steam page, so basically people searching directly for "Balancelot" on Steam, not coming from external links. It's hard to say, did these players stumble upon the campaigns and search for the game afterwards, or was it something else.
KEYMAILERWe decided to take Keymailer service for a ride and it was a very good choice for Balancelot. We got most of our streamers and Youtubers to play the game through this service. So if your game has any chance to be "entertaining to watch", you should definitely go for Keymailer. It saves a lot of time as well.
OUTSOURCED MARKETING EFFORTSWe got professional marketeers to help us spread the word. These were more of an "startup deals" with people, who had low price range, but had a clear plan how would they help us. Because we're such a small team, it's crucial to find people who can assist, it just saves time.
PRESSLISTWe started to gather list of press sites to an excel when the publishing deal was set. We continued to gather the sites until the release and even after it. Press sites had an message (approximately) two times a month, where we told about the newest additions for the game and reminded them of the upcoming launch date.
INFLUENCER LISTWe had a separate list of Youtubers and streamers, who had played similar games. We sent message for the influencers one or two times a month, to keep them updated of our upcoming launch day. We also shared Steam keys with most of the influencers, even though we didn't get any answer from them.
Jestercraft had (and has) 100+ users on the community Discord channel. We got a lot of assistance from our community members to spread the word in their own channels. This was one of the biggest part of gaining visibility, we couldn't do this without them. (Thank you <3)
It's impossible to gather everything what we did for Balancelot to gain the visibility, but what I can say for sure, is that we reserved over two months just for the marketing. We had multiple people focusing only to spread the word about the game and in my opinion, it paid off. Of course the sales of the game was not that high, but the amount of visibility we got was enormous.
The reason why (we think) Balancelot did not get that much of sales, was because we couldn't show good enough, what else the game has to offer, rather than balancing with the one-wheeler. Most of the users who found out about the game, did not find "anything personal" to lean into. The game looks fun (and it is), but it's just missing that "one thing", which we're still searching for.
Hopefully this wrapup brought you some new ideas when planning your game marketing and development!Remember to join our Discord channel for game development discussions and also a UPCOMING GAME JAM! I'm going to write more about this soon, but it sure is coming. :)
Have a great week!