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Videogame PR and Marketing 101
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Videogame PR and Marketing 101

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I was invited to speak about this and four other topics at the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in Finland. This first lecture explains to the students how they should understand and treat the …

I was invited to speak about this and four other topics at the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in Finland. This first lecture explains to the students how they should understand and treat the importance of pr & marketing in the creation of their games in order to one day turn them into products. The topics covered in part 1 are:

2.00 Traditional game marketing
2.45 Marketing basics
3.15 Why you need marketing
3.45 Why you need need it even more
4.00 Why you need it forever
4.40 The obvious chores
5.30 What you can do right away in four easy steps
6.00 Step 1: PR ≠ Marketing
9.00 Step 2: Create Assets
10.15 Step 3: Join (and participate in) Communities
11.00 Step 4: Understand how press works
13.45 Why you don't need marketing
14.30 Some handy tricks
14.45 #1 Use SEO and be unique
17.15 #2 Don't forget social media

I was invited to speak about this and four other topics at the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in Finland. This first lecture explains to the students how they should understand and treat the importance of pr & marketing in the creation of their games in order to one day turn them into products. The topics covered in part 2 are:

0.00 #3 Having the look
1.10 #4 Find your champions
4.45 #5 Show your face
5.15 #6 Act like you're already successful
7.20 #7 Deal with the stress
10.45 Summary & Further reading


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  • Even a simple mailing list can boost your day 1 sales (and land you top positions in lists).
  • It takes time too
  • Blueberry garden guy Erik Svedäng
    Cactus
    Phil Fish
    Martin Jonasson
    Cortex Command Dan Tabar
  • Blueberry garden guy Erik Svedäng
    Cactus
    Phil Fish
    Martin Jonasson
    Cortex Command Dan Tabar
  • Blueberry garden guy Erik Svedäng
    Cactus
    Phil Fish
    Martin Jonasson
    Cortex Command Dan Tabar
  • Blueberry garden guy Erik Svedäng
    Cactus
    Phil Fish
    Martin Jonasson
    Cortex Command Dan Tabar
  • Transcript

    • 1. #gamemarketing Game PR & Marketing ‘101’ aka. “I don’t want to do that stuff because I prefer working on my game instead.”
    • 2. #starttalkingalready Table of contents • Who am I • PR & Marketing Crash Course • Handy tips & tricks • Summary • Questions
    • 3. #thatguy Who am I? This is a lecture by Vlad Micu Did freelance journalism, consulting, event management and research under own company VGVisionary.com Used to be the European editor of Gamesauce Magazine Wrote for many other international outlets including GMR magazine, Control Magazine, Bashers.nl, Gamert.nl, CriticalGamer.co.uk, XBLAFans.com & Game Mode Magazine And now went Indie since April 3rd to work on Snobli Run This slide’s design is inspired by Brandon Boyer @brandonnn
    • 4. #e3 What is game marketing?
    • 5. #bs =
    • 6. #peepeepeepee From the start: The 4 Ps
    • 7. #ninjasalwayswin Why you need it VS “Obscurity is a greater threat than piracy" - Tim O'Reilly
    • 8. #somanygames Why you need it even more That’s you
    • 9. #theendingsucked Why you will need it forever There are 390+ games on XBLA 577+ on WiiWare 188+ on PSN Minis 5748+ on iPhone* & 554+ on iPad* *(that are covered in PocketGamer.co.uk’s database) How many can you name?
    • 10. #boring The obvious chores • Build a website, write blogs • Join communities, post there • Make a Facebook Page, wait • Twitter account, troll people • Annoy your friends Add interesting quote about why this stuff is still important here
    • 11. #isignedsomeonesboobtoday What you can do right away in Four Easy Steps “You want to get yourself out there, as much as your game.” – Phil Fish (Fez)
    • 12. #pubicrelations Step 1: PR ≠ Marketing • Get yourself out there – Talk to blogs – Do interviews – Participate in communities – Join podcasts/contribute – Don’t spend money, just talk
    • 13. #learnfromthepros Stay true to yourself “I have a personal philosophy to PR. I really try to do things that stay true to the development of the game. I really am not a big fan of the ‘cheesy.’ I am not a big fan of beating our own chests or telling everybody how great we think we are. I’m a big believer in ‘walk softly and carry a big stick’.”  - Pete Hines (Bethesda)
    • 14. #humbleindiebundle Learn to spin as well! • Even bad PR is good! – Screwups double the press – Piracy is always a nice issue – Linux port, do it! “If you support Mac and Linux as an independent developer you have a good chance of doubling your revenue.” - John Graham (Wolfire)
    • 15. #prettycolours Step 2: Create Assets • Post them everywhere – Make a DeviantArt account for your concept art – Post gameplay videos on YouTube One screenshot to rule them all! – Publish and spread screenshots (just 1 can do magic)
    • 16. #friendsareuseful Step 3: Join (and participate in) Communities • Make friends – Comment on other people’s projects – Ask questions, find help – Support others in their work, too
    • 17. #inversefunnel #davidvsgoliath Step 4: Understand how press works
    • 18. #spamandeggs Any attention is awesome “I implemented a dialog popup in my other games that asked the user if they'd like me to email them when I released a new game. Since that time, amazingly, I have been able to collect over 30,000 e-mails.” – Andrew Garrison (BridgeBasher, SimplePhysics)
    • 19. #celebrity Don’t force it Don’t act desperate or force attention to yourself. • People can now find you on Google! • You will get – – – – – – Fan art Likes Followers Retweets More followers! And lots of other viral marketing treats! • Those metrics, numbers, feedback show you how many people are interested in your game (and will end up buying it). “Promote your game, but make it look like you’re not trying” - Kyle Gable of 2D Boy (WORLD OF GOO)
    • 20. #onemanarmy Why you don’t need it • #1 reason: It takes away time from your development process • Your daddy owns Activision • Found the magic formula to turn code into gold. • The press already adores you and went through your garbage last night. • Your game is so awesome, nobody will ignore it. Build it and they will come, if you’re lucky (like Minecraft)!
    • 21. #clipartrules Some handy tricks
    • 22. #gamenamegenerator #1 - Use SEO and be unique SEO stands for Search Engine Optimalization
    • 23. #brandingiron Tag yourself every time! • Come up with a unique name and domain. • Embrace Google. – Google Analytics ftw! – Google Pagerank is your friend – Start asap for yourself! • Tag you and your stuff on Youtube, favorite others. • Start using Social Media – Aaargh (I hate it too). Make yourself findable
    • 24. #selflessselfpromotion The case of Snobli Run Snobli or Snobly?
    • 25. #googledominationtakestimetoo Snobli Run vs Monica Snobli
    • 26. #tigerblood #2 Don’t forget social media And remember: Write 20% about yourself, 80% about others
    • 27. #I<3gearbox #3 Have the Look “One of the hardest parts of the job when trying to get people to look at games is having something that is interesting to look at. Just in the fact that we did a very dramatic change, which was perceived to be late in development, everybody was looking.” – Steve Gibson, VP of Marketing at Gearbox about Borderlands
    • 28. #brandingiron Make it special. Make it yours • Make it personal • It has to be easy to describe and easy to love. • Make it ‘pop’
    • 29. #battlefield #4 Find your champions “Militarise your fanbase.” – Kieron Gillen (former game journalist)
    • 30. #embracethefunnel Funnel them out
    • 31. #superbestfriends Pick the right ones • You need advisors – “There’s two types of people you should have play your games, first is your advisors, and you can’t have too many of those because you’ll get conflicting information. For me very early on Dan Paladin from The Behemoth helped out […] He kept the game from being more cerebral, which is what I tend to do, and made it more arcade and snappier.” -Andy Schatz (Monaco)
    • 32. #superbestfriends Listen to the rest • You need supporters – “Who don’t know shit about games. […] What you do want to listen to, is their impression of the game.[…] Their impressions and experience are always right.” “Have people playing your game from like day two.” – Andy Schatz (Monaco)
    • 33. #homework Ask your champions • Three important things: – What do you like – What do you not like – What confused you? Marketing = Research
    • 34. #lookingatbadges #5 Show your Face “As an indie, you’re half the story.” – Phil Fish
    • 35. #nerdherd A Test
    • 36. #whereswaldo A Test
    • 37. #notlikebritney #6 Act like you’re already successful (in a good way) “In order to get people to pay attention to you, pay attention to them first.” - Manuel Saint-Victor (InfiniteUnity3D.com)
    • 38. #helpmehelpyou Use your voice • Visit other studios • Play other games • Help other people out • Make fan art/tributes • Interact • Give people credit • Give tools credit I <3 Vlambeer
    • 39. #thinkoutsidethebox #7 Deal with the stress “If you’re a one man or two man show, by far the biggest thing you can do is make a great game.” – Andy Schatz (Monaco)
    • 40. #delegatelikegaia Getting things done Just want to make the game, not do marketing as well? • Tough luck pal, it’s part of the job. • Marketing starts from day 1 of development. • Still too lazy? – Have a friend help you. It might be his/her big break into the game industry! – Be prepared to let go and involve them – Ask others for advise. Everybody loves giving their opinion!
    • 41. #lifehacker Read a book about it • Loose ends eat up energy, be aware of them. – Don’t think about everything you need to do to market your game all the time. – Think of it once, write it down and move it up to when you have time. – Dump all of it in a document and go on with making your game.
    • 42. Summary • Blog • Do your research! • Make a game, get it ready and send it in for next year’s IGF (or any other competition) • Google alerts • Be friendly to other devs/fans/press • Continuous marketing effort. Just a little bit each day
    • 43. #scottsteinberg Download this book It’s 4 years old, but still.
    • 44. #readallofthis References/Further Reading • • • • • • • • • • • • • Most importantly: http://www.pixelprospector.com/indev/2010/08/the-big-list-of-indie-marketing-and-business-tips/ http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/aSGuest87210-848525-tmg-advertising/ http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4117/building_buzz_for_indie_games.php http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=22866 http://www.joystiq.com/2011/03/01/super-meat-boy-postmortem/ http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4230/postmortem_ronimo_games_swords__.php http://gamesauce.org/news/2011/01/19/studio-spotlight-codeglue-in-rotterdam/ http://www.gamedevradio.net/?p=151 http://www.gdcvault.com/free http://dragonmaw.tumblr.com/post/4273836091/indie-game-developer-meme http://gillen.cream.org/wordpress_html/?page_id=693 http://bashers.nl/gdc-dagboek-deel-een-virtual-worlds-en-indiegames (Dutch) http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/BrendaBrathwaite/20090721/2537/Why_Game_Developers_Should_Ge • • • http://skullsoftheshogun.com/?p=102 http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2010/07/wearing-multiple-hats-is-tough-and-pr.html http://www.pamorama.net/2010/03/03/35-great-social-media-infographics/
    • 45. #imlonely Contact me • I’m in ur campus, working in ur Gamelabz • Will be staying in the guest lecturer house at Talo 6 #F28. Look me up there in the evening and let’s play some beer pong. • Mail me at v.micu@vgvisionary.com • @vgvisionary • Website: www.vgvisionary.com
    • 46. #letstalk Sauna, Beer + talking games • Tomorrow (Tuesday 17th) after my 2nd lecture • Bring a towel and some snacks to Talo 6 #F28. Cold beers will be in the fridge. • Share your opinion, ask questions, let’s talk making games and selling them! • First come, first serve. As long as we all fit in the sauna !