Flammable Games has released its first game: A-Band, hurray! These are some of the things we have learnt about marketing through the development and release of it. This is just our experience, so don’t take this article as a tutorial but more as reference instead, you may well want to do things differently. This post is divided in the different stages of the development process:

  1. Prepare yourself in advance: things to do while the game is still in development
  2. Playtest/Peer Review: tackle the latest step in the most efficient way
  3. First thing to do once your game has been approved: write a press release
  4. Sites you want to contact once the game has been released: nicely done your game is out, now what?

Prepare yourself in advance

You will probably be too busy/excited polishing your game during the last months to worry about that boring and obscure thing that is meant to be marketing. Fair enough, but you will most likely regret it afterwards. There are many things you should do before your game is published,  finished or even in beta version. Some of the most important and helpful are:

  • Create and use a Twitter account. This is extremely beneficial in all aspects; it allows you to create a relationship not only with the people who will play/buy your game but most important with the developers will review it! Follow relevant people in the community and as well as game journalists and blogs. In addition, try your account to be added to XBLIG dev lists or create one yourself.
  •  Review games in the AppHub. It’s very important to be an active member of the community, remember that is what all this is about.
  • Create a website with a proper domain (not a free one) if possible.
  • Create a Facebook page
  • Create a Youtube channel, to upload the game trailer and other material.
  • Start writing a developers blog from the early stages. This can be helpful for you as well afterwards, you never know.

Many articles have been published already about marketing advice and tips; here is a useful list of links you should care about and before is too late:

The Idiot’s Guide to Marketing Your Indie Game
Marketing tips
Be Honest, Be Nice: Marketing And PR For Indie Developers
How to Get Media Coverage for Your Game
The Right (And Wrong) Ways To Market Your Indie Game

Playtest/Peer Review

Use playtest to get feedback from gamers. Encourage gamers to test different parts of the game, especially online mode, scores and general gameplay. Do not content just with positive feedback, at this stage negative one is even more important. In addition, remember that you can upload your game to playtest at any time, even if it´s not completed. You may want to test just an specific functionality or a level…

You should start thinking about your trailer if it’s not already done. Remember that it should be ready and available in Youtube by the time you want to upload your game to peer review. Be well-prepared, it’s not nice to delay the release only because you didn’t have every aspect well planned in advance.

Don’t gamble with the peer review process; trust me, you don’t want to wait one entire week just because you left the trial mode on. Be sure to test the version you are uploading to the AppHub, it sounds obvious but take it into account.

First thing to do once your game has been approved

Write a press release and send it to http://gamespress.com/ with a few relevant screenshots, game logo and trailer. This is the least you have to do if you want gamers and media to know that your game exists. It’s a powerful tool and it’s free, so use it wisely. The site is updated daily with press releases and artwork from publishers, developers, distributors and PR agencies. Journalists and bloggers from around the world use it as main source.

Check the How to submit section to do things properly and make sure your press release will be published. Read already published press releases to get an idea of how to write one or some of the many tutorials that are available on the internet.

Sites you want to contact once the game has been released

You may want to contact mainstream blogs/website. If your game is featured in one of those, then chances are that it will be successful on the marketplace. But only If you are lucky enough, just a few XBLIG games have had this amount of exposure.

http://blog.kotaku.com/
http://indiegames.com/index.html
http://www.gameinformer.com/
http://destructoid.com/
http://www.joystiq.com/
http://www.indiegamemag.com/
http://www.diygamer.com/

However, don’t forget about smaller sites, these are even more important and the ones you should aim for. Bear in mind that, in the end, the indie community is a small world. Also take into account that it will be easier for your game to be featured in these other sites.

http://www.xblaratings.com/contact-us
http://www.xboxhornet.com/wordpress/?page_id=2871
http://theindieocean.com/contact-the-indie-ocean/
http://clearancebinreview.com/contact-us/
http://www.xblafans.com/tag/xblig
http://www.selectbutton.com/
http://blackmannrobin.com/
http://www.armlessoctopus.com/contact/
http://trendygamers.com/contact-u/
http://www.gamersdailynews.com/contact.html
http://wastedseconds.com/?page_id=2076
http://www.geekgamer.tv/contact/
http://indietheory.com/
http://www.gamergeddon.com/contact/
http://writingsofmassdeduction.com/
http://otakudgamereviews.blogspot.co.uk/p/xblaxblig-code-contributions.html
http://gear-fish.com/
http://www.extraguy.com/contact-us/
http://theindiemine.com/

Remember to use all the redemption codes (50) you have. Send them to journalists, bloggers and think also about doing give ways from your social networks accounts. A code not redeem is useless for your game, don’t waste them but be kind, there are plenty enough.

We hope this article has been helpful for you and your indie game. Please feel free to give us feedback or suggest more marketing tips for future readers.

Comments
  1. lifetimegamer says:

    Hi! Just to let you know I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  2. NOISEAUX says:

    I think it’s beautiful that you’re sharing what you learned and helping ppl out there – ❤ !!

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