As new game developer, it is very difficult to get some visibility for the game your are developing.
In 2020, on Steam, 28 new games have been released EVERY DAY. In 2021, we are currently at 16 games per day. So without a lot of work, there is no chance your game will be seen by anyone.
This is a list of steps to easily market your game I have learned during the last 20 years where I created 11 commercial games
single handedly. (In addition, I was also involved in more than a dozen other game projects for various companies). My own games may not have the best ratings, but every single one of them has been commercially successful at least.
So here is a step-by-step guide on how to market your game:
1) Create a website for your game
Most people ignore this, but IMO, this is an absolute must: You NEED to create a website for your game.
It has a lot of advantages:
- Branding: Your game looks a lot more professional with a linked website from all your social media accounts
- Email: You can send and receive mails from your own yourgamedomain.com address, and don't need gmail or similar for this
- Press kit download, very important, see below
- Place to add detailed contact info, so that youtubers and media can contact you easily
- Possibility to sell your game directly to the users without Steam's 30% cut
- Image and Data hosting: You can upload your own data here for access from within your game
- Newsletter subscription page
To create a website, you only need to get a webhosting package including a domain, they are very cheap today. Just google for "web hosting" and choose one. There are free hosters (never tried these), but others usually cost around 5$ per month, which is absolutely worth for what you get in return. Then, create a small website (I can of course recommend my free website editor RocketCake
for this, I developed it) and upload the website.
2) Press kit
This is the most overlooked but very important thing most games need to have: A press kit. Basically just a .zip file including screenshots, logos and maybe videos of your game, and a .doc file with descriptions of your game.
This is used by media and youtubers to create their articles and videos about your game. It makes it much easier to create content about your game, and if it is available, the likelihood that they will feature your game increases a lot.
Just upload it to your website and link it from there. Takes not a lot of time, but you get a lot out of it.
Create a short (= 1-2 min) video showing the gameplay of your game. This step is optional, but I recommend it, you need it for the following steps.
Make it so that your game looks interesting. Choose some nice music.
Don't upload the video anywhere yet.
This is optional, but also recommended: Setup a way on your website to subscribe to a newsletter. That way, basically, you collect the email adresses of people interested in your game, and you can then later contact them with a newsletter, telling them important news. Like - that your game is now released. This opens the possibility to get some more direct sales without the game platforms cut.
5) Social Media
Setup some social media accounts and start posting regularily about your game on them. It works slightly differently on each platform, so be sure not to just post spam everywhere. Some recommended platforms are:
Some platforms work better than others, also depending on the type of game your are creating.
5) Create a Steam Page
Once you have done all this, it's time to create a Steam page. Go to partner.steamgames.com
, and signup. To add your game to Steam, you need to pay 100 USD, but you get that back when your game made this amount of money.
You'll get a lot of traffic with Steam, since it is the largest gaming platform, so you need to be sure to create a nice page: Use a good description, nice screenshots, link your website and social media accounts. If people like your game, some of them will "wishlist" it on Steam. The more wishlists you have, the more popular your game will be shown on the release day on steam, causing you to get more sales.
Use the video created before as video for your steam page. If you haven't one, use nice screenshots instead, this will work too, but a video is recommended.
Add tags to your Steam page. These are important too, so that people will find your game. They are not that important anymore as they where years ago, but still you should take some time to set the right ones.
I've never created a discord for any of my games, so I have no experience with this, but I was told multiple times that this is absolutely needed. It appears to work great for a lot of game developers, but I personally didn't need this until now.
So for completeness, I've added this here.
8) Paid ads
Depending on your budget, you can now run ads for your still unreleased game. This is a good idea in order to get more people intersted in your game: Let them follow your social media accounts, subscribe to your newsletter, and wishlist your game on Steam. That way, you have a nice amount of people who likely buy your game on release day.
Where to buy ads? Like with social media, this again depends on your type of game. I recommend twitter, youtube, google and facebook. Your milage might vary.
That's it. Your game now has a better chance to get on the top of the other 30 games which will be released on the same day as yours.
Again, note that this is all to do BEFORE the release of your game. There is a lot still do do while and after the release, and I'm likely going to write shortly about this as well.
I wish you a lot of fun and luck with your game, and hope this might be helpful.