Razz wrote:How did you promote your game anyways? Was it like posting stuff on social networking sites or paid advertising? Both?
We didn't have any kind of paid advertising, haha. This is a list of the sites we plugged ourselves on that I can remember, though most of these are social networking sites that we've been active on before releasing anything. (you can't just sign up for a new Twitter account and expect people to follow you immediately, after all)
- Twitter; my dev account is fairly quiet but I have personal/fandom accounts that have around 400 followers each.
- Tumblr; Auro has one. Though I don't use the site myself, I have a number of friends who are very active on it and they all helped promote RisAmo on Tumblr. To this day, we've gotten the most hits for the RisAmo site from Tumblr.
- DeviantArt; We both use DA, though it's kind of quiet for both of us? Every little bit helps, though.
- Cyanide Tea dev blog; Prior to this, I had a dev blog I just used myself and it helped drum up interest in BCM, at least.
- Cyanide Tea forums; We don't have that many actual members, but the numbers show that our forums have lots of lurkers that just never bother registering accounts.
- LSF; Posting diligently to our WIP threads with our progress helps to let people know that the project is active. We got the most interest the closer we got to completion. (this goes for our in-progress thread at our own forums, too)
- LiveJournal/Dreamwidth; I'm very active on both of these sites (not so much on LJ anymore).
- Desura; Well.... Obviously, to be fair, they did approach us first. But ultimately I had to polish the game up a bit and submit it. I constantly check the site to see how it's doing in terms of downloads, as well as read and respond to reviews/comments.
A lot of the list seems like common sense... But the key is to stay active and consistent with your promotion on all sites you choose to promote it on. You can't just plug your game in one forum post and leave. Like LWR said:
Networking means having lots of places to submit your game to, and lots of people to help push it for you. It comes from being involved in multiple communities and making yourself well-known BEFORE your game comes out.
Also, every little bit helps. You may think you'll only attract 2-3 people if you plug your game on X website, but every one person is connected to a multitude of other people and you shouldn't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. You should also never assume that nobody will be interested in your game. I submitted RisAmo to Desura very cautiously because I expected that the site, mainly full of RPS-loving guys and whatnot, wouldn't receive it very well. It's not like it became a huge hit there or anything, but I was pleasantly surprised at the response we got and at how many guys played and enjoyed the game. (in fact, I daresay that it feels like guys enjoyed the game more than girls did, as a lot of girls felt "cheated" by the plot twist)
Re: charging for a game... More people will play your game if it's free. That's obvious. However, when the game is free, nothing is stopping them from hitting alt+F4 (or command+Q, hehe) if they feel your game sucks. In a way, that's how you can get the best feedback--because people aren't obligated to finish your game or even try it if they don't like it. Obviously this is somewhat true of commercial games, as well, but if people don't like the way a game looks, they just won't buy it. They won't play it at all (since you have to buy it to play it, generally speaking) A lot of times, once someone has made a commitment to purchase something, they will psychologically trick themselves into liking it more just because they paid for it. ("I paid for it, so it must be good otherwise my decision to buy it was a bad decision!" humans are psychologically vain creatures, haha)
Personally I think it's best if you try releasing a free game first just so you can test the waters a bit. And my personal philosophy is just that I want more people to play my games, so I will never make only commercial games... We'll probably release at least 1 or 2 free games per commercial project. The free games also help drum up interest in your commercial work (I heard quite a few comments along the lines of "I liked RisAmo so I'm now excited for BCM!") so I suppose that's a method of marketing your work, though it's probably not the most time and cost-effective. XD
/tl;dr I am not a business person, so take my "marketing advice" with a grain of salt, but I am a psychology major.
A lot of what I do to help promote my work is based on what I know about human nature and how people respond to certain kinds of advertising and whatnot.