Monday, 11 June 2012

Promoting games and PR

During Nordic Game Conference, two talks dealt with PR.

- Nathan Vella, CAPY President (Sword & Sworcery) talked about "Promoting games on your own terms".
- Salima Bessahraoui, CEO Cosmocover talked about getting international PR attention for indie game studios.

Presentation PDFs, notes and links after the break!

Drive success with international PR

Salima Bessahraoui, CEO Cosmocover
Download PDF presentation

PR is about telling a story to people, individuals.
How to create stories and how to get in touch with people.People doing PR are great liars. PR transforms the truth.  

Games PR is bullshit about games.
The S paradigm:- schedule. - Avoid bank holidays, aaa launches and iOS keynotes.- go for: game anniversary, evergreen topics, jan-april, July-sept
Be careful, you can't release your game twice. Do not release your game close to E3 (b2c) 

Spoil:Don't reveal everything in one announcement.Take your time to create pretty screenshots. Good review is dependent on good assets.Don't communicate too early about your game. 

Spam:We are all spammers. Don't bother people with heavy files, heavy screenshots.and sending stuff at wrong timezone. 

Sabotage:If you're preparing an exclusive make sure it's exclusive.Don't put out your stuff in LinkedIn,Facebook,etc.Create and share content with marketing people.Protect your game. You can't launch twice.
Requirements:Figure out what you need. Needs should be defined in advance.Meet publishers, investors or business partners.

You can control: the messageCan't control: how it is received 

Bring in people with the right skills that can pitch and sell your game.Alternatively you can outsource the pr effort. (3 to 20k€ month)
Calculate 100 hours a month at least for PR effort.
-add a marketing budget for your game.-important to integrate marketing component at an early stage

For PR three commonly used tactics1) based on internal objectives2) based on the audience3) based on the competition (good for small games and indie devs) 
Don't-nod entertainment did a well made strategy to create corporate awareness. (but the marketing strategy worked in part because the team had an awesome background from the get go) 

When writing press releases:Be short, use the 5 w's 

PR tools:Games press (see who is releasing what, when)PrwebBusiness wireMarket wirePr newswire
Talk to media groups, they can advice you on a lot of stuff.
Relationship- pick up your phone- meet people, talk with them
Have fun pitching your game

Promoting games on your own terms
Nathan Vella, President CAPY

Articles on the talk:

My notes:
With help from the indie community in Toronto they moved on to make their own stuff. Critter crunch (now pulled, because of Disney apparently)
"There is no right way to promote your games."

5 thoughts on downloadable games.:
0) make a good game! Then everything else falls into place.
1) figure out why your game is cool- requires you to be self critical- requires you to show the game- requires you to let go of your baby
Following things are not cool:-Number of levels-How long the Play time is-Leader boards -How many permutations of x it has (hats/guns)-Generic pieces of tech info like no of polygons etc..-Anything that every other game has

2) create compelling promotional content
Polytron did a 360 promo video demo thingy with  a lost kind of ending. Neat. It is literally only about the stuff in the game that is cool.
Solves one of the problems about promoting the game - showing the game key component (3d presented as 2d)
iOS - nice icons is key in the app store, especially readability.If you don't have a good graphic designer on the team, go find one. Don't just hack one yourself.

Screenshots aka promo nightmare.- constantly updating (diligence) always remove the old pictures (!!)- Easily accessible- Return to why the game is cool- Every screen should serve a purpose- Some games simply dont screen well- Think of where they'll be seen- Often the first/only touch point- Definitely such a thing as too many.
The first image in the app store is super important (especially since some users never scroll the screenshots)

Trailers: probably the most important thing ever!
-Make your own? Only if A+-Limit the amount of text-No bullet points-Avoid voice over in most cases-Capture quality matters, more than you realize-Tightly manicure the footage-Often the first/only touch point-YouTube is a search engine.
"garbage in, garbage out" impossible to make nice trailer with crappy footage.
Everyone should watch this: Kert Gartner "making entertaining and engaging video game trailers"The sword and sorcery trailer had focus on tone, vibe and feel across.

Make art/animation/video for funExpress ideas about your game

3) know who you are promoting toConsumer + platforms:
Who decides on placement?Placement is the most important thing on getting your stuff out there.Super brothers used their trailer video to convine apple that they should give them placement.
It really helps if you know who chooses what gets placed. Knowing who will feature.

Get on reddit/neogaf/twitter:-Communicating with people in those communities-Communities dont appreciate hard sells-Contribute, don't leach-Learn to swim before diving in-Grow 10-12 extra layers of skin-Provide real, meaningful updates-Definitely such a thing as too much 

4) drink all of the beers!People make, sell and write about gamesThey like knowing other peopleKnowing other people helps promotion
Check out: Igda Montreal capy beer video at twitter
Everyone in the industry loves sitting down with a beer and talk shit.Doesn't actually have to involve drinking, just hang out and be cool with people.

5) Be honest about your experiences.  
People love honesty! Also, take the time to promote your game - start 6 months before launch, if not earlier.

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