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Marketing Games in 2016


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Game marketing has changed over the years and this presentation from OrlandoiX15 should give independent game studios and indie game devs a roadmap for launching titles into the current market. Always happy to give advice to studios -

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Marketing Games in 2016

  1. 1. Marketing Games in 2016
  2. 2. Sean Kauppinen • Founder and CEO of IDEA (International Digital Entertainment Agency) • 20+ years experience in the games industry • Sony Online, Ubisoft, 3dfx, bleem!, Frogster, PlayFast, others • Have worked on more than 570 titles • What I do: • Mentor CEOs • Strategic Advisor • Board Member • Business Development • Marketing Strategy • Angel Investor
  3. 3. Marketing Pre-Production Process (Ideally) 6 months before launch
  4. 4. Marketing Pre-Production Process • Identify existing communities to target • Examples: • Make a list of the different communities you find (yes, some people fail at this step) • One Free tool I like to use is: Contact Capture (
  5. 5. Marketing Pre-Production Process (con’t) • Become a member of the communities that you identify as relevant (Seagulls suck!) • Track your login info in a spreadsheet so you can remember • Comment, help, support and be active in the community • I like to comment at least daily for 1-2 months before feeling like I can start a thread or post something related to the games I am working on
  6. 6. Marketing Pre-Production Process (con’t) • Research media outlets that cover your game’s genre, platform, art style, business model • Try Video game Journaliser for game industry media ( • Researching means reading articles • Finding out which writers or editors cover your type of game, and what they like or dislike about competitors • Again, make a list
  7. 7. Marketing Pre-Production Process (con’t) • Find opportunities to engage them in discussion (Twitter is a favorite for many writers) • Share their articles and comment while @tagging them • If you’re going to email anyone, I highly recommend an email tracking program like Sidekick by Hubspot (
  8. 8. Marketing Pre-Production Process (con’t) • Research YouTubers and Twitch Streamers that cover your game’s genre, platform, art style, business model (the answer isn’t always PewDiePie) • YouTubers list: • Twitch Streamer List: • Before you contact any YouTuber or Streamer, make sure you Subscribe to their channel
  9. 9. Marketing Pre-Production Process (con’t) • Look into other game development studios that share news from other studios and make a list • Reach out and ask if they would be willing to trade a post to their community or social media followers for one in your community, or social media channels • Coordinate posts and tweets to hit when the game is available and be sure to reciprocate when the time comes for you to make good • If you are merchandising from your own site, consider giving each partner a unique discount code so you can track where the traffic is coming from
  10. 10. Marketing Pre-Production Process (con’t) • Build a Press Kit • Use • You will need: • Some screenshots that show the game (preferably in action) • 15 and 30 second trailers showing gameplay • Logos for the game and your studio • A description and features list (if possible) • 4 Press releases (Game Announcement, Beta Announcement, Coming Soon Announcement, Launch Announcement) • *Optional (Studio Backgrounder with info on the team) • *Optional (Powerpoint presentation on the game with lots of art and info) • Setup a dropbox for these assets so they can be shared easily (
  11. 11. Marketing Pre-Production Process (con’t) • Develop several short pitches for your game • 100 character pitch for Twitter (allows for #Tagging and Re- tweeting) • 50 word pitch for initial emails • Full 300-500 word pitch if you receive a request for more information • Develop a boilerplate game description (no more than 200 words)
  12. 12. Marketing Pre-Production Process (con’t) • Build a complete list of assets that can be used to promote the game. Examples include: • Art-Related Assets • Concept Art • Screenshots • Videos • Hi-Res Renders • Other Assets • Interviews • Developer Chats/Community Roundtables • Developer Blogs and Video Blogs • Twitch Streams and Let’Sply Tandems
  13. 13. Daily Content Program • There should be something new everyday – create a flow • You are giving traffic to a site or YouTuber (Content = audience = ad dollars) • There are a lot of potential daily programs: • Enemies • Heroes • Weapons • NPCs • Spells/abilities • Zones/areas • Beasts/animals • Bosses • Quests • Instances • Power-ups • Special moves • Crazy things your AI is doing • Etc.
  14. 14. Community Planning (Ideally) 3 months before launch
  15. 15. Community Planning • Develop messaging and content specifically for the community. • Social posts • Art and asset reveals • Discussions with fans of the genre and of your emerging brand/IP • Behind-the-scenes video • Streaming with the devs
  16. 16. Community Program • Again, the audience is capable of consuming content daily • Utilize community sites, forums and social media to spread the info around • Your site and social media feeds become the repository of all info – the goal is for people to follow the strings to your site and channels, and visit all of the communities where you are building your player base
  17. 17. Community Program • Incentivize virality – If you share and support us, you will be rewarded: • In-game currency • Exclusive in-game items • Forum badges • Early access to new content
  18. 18. Cultivate and Reward Evangelists • Look for protectors in the forums or in comments sections about your game/news • Empower and positively reinforce behaviors that are helpful or wanted • Celebritize and reward individuals – third-party spokespeople are the most credible with media and the community • Create cosmetic rewards – Beta 1 Badge, Trophy for house, Special outfit
  19. 19. Beta Testing Group • Build a beta test group of fans and players that can and will give constructive feedback. • Platform examples include: Steam, GooglePlay, HockeyApp and TestFlight
  20. 20. Types of PC Launches • Limited or Early Access – Good for games with some polish or the need to keep some things behind the curtain, but also need feedback and beta/load testing • Full Access – Highly polished and ready to go, might be testing additional features • Stealth – Keep it mysterious as long as possible (bad for pre-orders, but may delay a potential negative wave until problems are fixed) • Full Commercial Release – Game is in a shippable and complete state. Updates will be expected, but this is the level where it is viable in the marketplace without Level 1 bugs
  21. 21. Mobile Launches • For paid apps, you’re launching it like a PC title • For Free-to-Play, a period of 3-9 months is expected to tune the KPIs, • Needs traffic in test country (1,000+ players minimum) – New Zealand or Australia • Ironically, launching a free-to-play game is more expensive than launching a paid title. Minimum for a test is $1,000-$3,000 • This can be aided by segmenting the beta test group
  22. 22. Previews • Normally a week or two out for mobile, or up to a couple months leading up to launch with PC games • Plan official assets and exclusives for each outlet • If you have online or synchronous multiplayer, servers need to be full or have liquidity • Be specific in what features or parts are going to be shown at each time • If it’s broken, don’t show it yet
  23. 23. Post Launch • Execution of maintenance campaigns that echo previous messages and tactics • Expanding the audience through new targeting • Use additional features to reach people that are waiting for that piece to be added (determine that from forums and feedback) • Ongoing and ever increasing levels of support
  24. 24. Sample Launch Plan
  25. 25. Resources and Additional Tools • Virality tools – • Overwolf (PC Games) – • Offerpop (Facebook and Twitter) – • Hubspot (Facebook and Twitter) – • Hootsuite (Facebook and Twitter) – • TweetAdder (Twitter) – • Virool (YouTube and Vimeo videos) –
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