How to promote your game?

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Pinlin
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How to promote your game?

#1 Post by Pinlin » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:04 pm

Hello, I'm Pinlin and currently working on project "Dark Nights" viewtopic.php?t=26065
(this post is outdated since I've posted all updates on the site, but I will rewrite this post soon).

I've had this question in mind, how to reach a large audience and which platform is the best to use for promotion and donations? I'm not intended to abandon this project if it doesn't get funded or even sell this game. However, some people wanted to give extra support and I don't know how to allow and promote this.

Kickstarter
This platform is great for advertising, but even large companies fail to gather enough. Another concern is that you may only use a credit card to support a project, so it will miss out the younger audience.

Greenlight
For this one you already need a fanbase and this platform may increase it. I heard that it works well in combination with kickstarter. Although, alone it doesn't allow you to gather funds. To get on greenlight, you need to pay $100 as one time fee. If it fails, I'd lose more than the efforts I've put into.

Social media
A stand-alone site can only be advertised through social media. I could start a campaign here instead without worrying about fees, deadlines or payment options. A large disadvantage is that it's hard to reach your target audience.

Please share your opinions and suggestions. I may be wrong about what I mentioned above as I've never used kickstarter and greenlight before. The last one is a theory, but before I make a decision I'd like to know how other people promote their projects. Thank you for your time.
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Re: How to promote your game?

#3 Post by PyTom » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:10 pm

Green Glasses Girl wrote:@Admin staff: Is there a way a post like this can sticky'd? It seems to be a question that comes up about twice a month.
I'm not sure this is a good idea. It strikes me that information like this has a shelf-life, with new things coming around all the time.
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Re: How to promote your game?

#4 Post by firecat » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:39 pm

Green Glasses Girl wrote:@Admin staff: Is there a way a post like this can sticky'd? It seems to be a question that comes up about twice a month.
dont forget that the articles are written by users that are like you and me, using it has a guide to answer questions will not help fill-in the truth about what it really takes to build a fanbase.

OP: kickstarter is to "help" a project, making a demo does help but everyone is already getting sick of being bomb with ads from reddit VN section, some people ignore KS projects in this forum, and you're too new to be taken seriously.

anyone can past greenlight, fail once you can try again without paying. You will be facing competitors who might have an edge over you but none of that matters since anyone can pass greenlight.

social media does somewhat help, never to the point where you gain 1 million followers, you might want to interact with the community to gain followers rather than thinking that we need to help you.
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Re: How to promote your game?

#5 Post by Kate » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:55 pm

Release to let's players. Or release certain parts. Like, hey, free copy to test, and you can play it for your channel- an original! Some smaller channels with still a decent number of subs may have viewers that will take the bait and buy the game for themselves. I just recently bought a game after seeing Markiplier play exactly one 20 min episode of it... this also works GREAT for games with a lot of user choice. If the player can do something different that the LP'er didn't do, they may itch even more to buy the game and try the alternates.

^ This may not work for everyone, but this may be a good idea for some.
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Re: How to promote your game?

#6 Post by Chibi Subaru » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:13 pm

I would try to find a Facebook fan group for the game genre that is similar to your game's. Since my game is an otome game, I've joined into general otome fan groups on Facebook and talked to other fans of the fandom. After making some friends and depending on the group's rules, you can inform people that you're working on a game and tell them about it.

This has helped me get connected with a fanbase and gain fans that want to support us in different formats. We have a Facebook page, Twitter, and Tumblr as our main social medias. We share the posts we make in them with the Facebook groups we're in and it has helped us a lot.

For donations, we use both Patreon and GoFundMe... we plan to do Kickstarter after we think we've promoted enough. We haven't had much luck on donations yet other than close friends and family members.

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Re: How to promote your game?

#7 Post by Pinlin » Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:36 am

Green Glasses Girl wrote:Some handy LSF reading material:
Gaining attention
- How to Raise Awareness For Your Game?
- What would you say to first time game creators?
- Networking: Making your project popular?
- What visual novels get more attention?
- How to build a fanbase
- A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisement

Dealing with profit/money and Kickstarter:
- Fanbase before or after demo release? Or after Kickstarter?
- What makes a Kickstarter successful?
- Making some money with a commercial VN - is it possible?
- Making A Living off of VNs: What should I do?
- How to run a successful kickstarter? (And a little more)
- Thank you for helping make my game a reality, Lemmasoft!

On Steam Release
- [url=https://lemmasoft.renai.u[url]https://lemmasoft.renai.u[url[/url]s/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=38253]Thoughts on making your game Steam release ready?[/url]
- Publisher's Page on Steam
@Admin staff: Is there a way a post like this can sticky'd? It seems to be a question that comes up about twice a month.
Thank you for the quick answer. I've searched through the forums and most topics were more focused on marketing and commercial use.
If theories were as easy as reality, everyone would be popular by now. After reading these threads I came to a few conclusions for this topic.

Be (socially) active
I realized that merely being active will give you a fanbase or at least interest. Just by spreading your presence, people are likely to trust you more.
The problem is time. How do people manage their projects + frequently update + broad their networks + reply to feedbacks? So far I've had difficulties to balance my activity and social network. I don't know what's the best way to manage all of them.

Social media
While spreading awareness about your game doesn't mean it reaches the right audience. In the past years I've focused so much on other social media that I've totally neglected lemmasoft. Obviously, all developers and gamers gather here and this is the perfect place to start off. I want to thank the community just for being here.
Quite some posts are old and the traffic has changed over the past years. Recently I've seen many mentions about Facebook dropping down and Instagram being the most popular social media. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I don't see a reason why game developers should use Instagram (maybe this is only popular in a different community lol). My opinion on twitter and facebook is that the posts get burried quickly. Sometimes I find messages from months ago which I yet have to reply. The opinions I encountered about Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight is that they are mostly for commercial purposes. This is not the goal for my game, so I drop these ideas.

Skill and dedication
Somewhere in the replies I found an interesting video about advertising https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuOo5BvOsPw
This guy talks about how merely 'likes' and 'shares' don't work. I don't think there is a magical formula to make someone popular. Popularity comes after your efforts. For my game, I wasn't aiming to be popular or earn a lot of money. I wanted to bring a quality product which shares my thoughts and creativity. For the past 2 years I've thrown myself into improving art- and writing skills, English and programming. On the other side, I can relate to people that don't get recognition no matter how much efforts they put.
I'm not sure this is a good idea. It strikes me that information like this has a shelf-life, with new things coming around all the time.
An overview on this topic could be useful.
firecat wrote:
Green Glasses Girl wrote:@Admin staff: Is there a way a post like this can sticky'd? It seems to be a question that comes up about twice a month.
dont forget that the articles are written by users that are like you and me, using it has a guide to answer questions will not help fill-in the truth about what it really takes to build a fanbase.

OP: kickstarter is to "help" a project, making a demo does help but everyone is already getting sick of being bomb with ads from reddit VN section, some people ignore KS projects in this forum, and you're too new to be taken seriously.

anyone can past greenlight, fail once you can try again without paying. You will be facing competitors who might have an edge over you but none of that matters since anyone can pass greenlight.

social media does somewhat help, never to the point where you gain 1 million followers, you might want to interact with the community to gain followers rather than thinking that we need to help you.
I haven't seen a lot replies on these topics and most are only theories. While it sounds logical, it may not apply to a long term. Gah, subjective topics are hard to discuss, especially when it does not work for everyone.
Honestly, I'm tired of seeing so many KS projects out of nowhere. I believe many of these groups are new and aim for too large goals.
I haven't released anything so far. My game was mentioned on Visual Novel database before but it got deleted. Probably they didn't trust me anymore lol.
It may be logical because I made the first update 2 years ago. Besides, I'm still working alone. I can only blame myself for this reputation.
By writing this topic and reply, I am interacting xD I want to hear more opinons on this matter as I can't figure it out by myself. Since everyone is doing it differently, I may discover new methods.
Kate wrote:Release to let's players. Or release certain parts. Like, hey, free copy to test, and you can play it for your channel- an original! Some smaller channels with still a decent number of subs may have viewers that will take the bait and buy the game for themselves. I just recently bought a game after seeing Markiplier play exactly one 20 min episode of it... this also works GREAT for games with a lot of user choice. If the player can do something different that the LP'er didn't do, they may itch even more to buy the game and try the alternates.

^ This may not work for everyone, but this may be a good idea for some.
Thank you! You just reminded me of this. While I do watch Let's Play! videos, it never crossed my mind to suggest my own game. Are visual novels doing well on youtube? I'm always afraid that I don't reach the right audience with this. Most games featured look interactive or are very bad. I hope mine doesn't fall into the last category lol. By any chance, do you know youtubers into visual novels?
Chibi Subaru wrote:I would try to find a Facebook fan group for the game genre that is similar to your game's. Since my game is an otome game, I've joined into general otome fan groups on Facebook and talked to other fans of the fandom. After making some friends and depending on the group's rules, you can inform people that you're working on a game and tell them about it.

This has helped me get connected with a fanbase and gain fans that want to support us in different formats. We have a Facebook page, Twitter, and Tumblr as our main social medias. We share the posts we make in them with the Facebook groups we're in and it has helped us a lot.

For donations, we use both Patreon and GoFundMe... we plan to do Kickstarter after we think we've promoted enough. We haven't had much luck on donations yet other than close friends and family members.
Thank you for the suggestions. I've tried out facebook groups before and there was only a few to zero feedback. Maybe I'm expecting too much from it, but I shall continue with trying. Patreon always seems tricky to me after hearing negative reviews like: cheating on rewards, a chunck of fees, a lot time to manage and so on. I'm glad that your close friends and family members are so supportive. Good luck on your project!
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Re: How to promote your game?

#8 Post by Chibi Subaru » Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:48 am

Since your game has romance in it try some Voltage fandom pages that also allow talks of other otome games. A lot of them are very active and they seem helpful to me. I'll list some names of the ones I'm in.

Voltage Romance Sims - Otome Group - The members here are great and active. A few others in here are also making their own games and post stuff in there.

Otome Bishies

Yeah, Patreon can be very time consuming and you have to try to think of good enough rewards to get people to want to give you money. We've been having issues with this.

Thank you and good luck on your game, too!

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Re: How to promote your game?

#9 Post by firecat » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:07 pm

Pinlin wrote: My game was mentioned on Visual Novel database before but it got deleted. Probably they didn't trust me anymore lol.
there was a huge clean update not long go, it mostly include non-vn, never-going-to-be-finish-development games, and anything that does not seem like its helping VNDB. i'm guess it was the "never-going-to-be-finish-development games" that made it removed.
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Re: How to promote your game?

#10 Post by Kate » Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:01 pm

Pinlin wrote:
Kate wrote:Release to let's players. Or release certain parts. Like, hey, free copy to test, and you can play it for your channel- an original! Some smaller channels with still a decent number of subs may have viewers that will take the bait and buy the game for themselves. I just recently bought a game after seeing Markiplier play exactly one 20 min episode of it... this also works GREAT for games with a lot of user choice. If the player can do something different that the LP'er didn't do, they may itch even more to buy the game and try the alternates.

^ This may not work for everyone, but this may be a good idea for some.
Thank you! You just reminded me of this. While I do watch Let's Play! videos, it never crossed my mind to suggest my own game. Are visual novels doing well on youtube? I'm always afraid that I don't reach the right audience with this. Most games featured look interactive or are very bad. I hope mine doesn't fall into the last category lol. By any chance, do you know youtubers into visual novels?
I've seen a few hybrids done on actual personality-driven LP channels. Some that are half VN and half RPG or have pixel gameplay....
I have seen plenty of demonstrations of Voltage games among small channels. Particularly for those who didn't want to pay for the whole thing. There'll always be that. So use judgement. Corpse Party was featured on PewDiePie's channel, however, showing that VN's are something LP'ers will try. You can meet some of them at Conventions (Markiplier goes to a few of the key ones in the US!) and I bet if you reached out in the comments to a smaller channel, they'd be thrilled to try something original and especially if you grant them a free copy (if it isn't already a free game).

I've watched some of the play through of Nicole on there- and frankly, watching VN's on youtube makes me want to get the game myself and make my own choices. Watching and criticizing or agreeing with choices and curiosity inspired me to make better games than the bland Voltage Mary Sue-driven games (that are still guilty pleasures, I admit, but eye candy and totally fantasy plot-setting over substance....) and get into programming.
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Re: How to promote your game?

#11 Post by Pinlin » Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:25 am

Chibi Subaru wrote:Since your game has romance in it try some Voltage fandom pages that also allow talks of other otome games. A lot of them are very active and they seem helpful to me. I'll list some names of the ones I'm in.

Voltage Romance Sims - Otome Group - The members here are great and active. A few others in here are also making their own games and post stuff in there.

Otome Bishies

Yeah, Patreon can be very time consuming and you have to try to think of good enough rewards to get people to want to give you money. We've been having issues with this.

Thank you and good luck on your game, too!
I have checked out these groups and requested to join. I'll see how it goes :D
firecat wrote:there was a huge clean update not long go, it mostly include non-vn, never-going-to-be-finish-development games, and anything that does not seem like its helping VNDB. i'm guess it was the "never-going-to-be-finish-development games" that made it removed.
I've looked into and it's indeed like you said. Is there a certain time range till a game has to be completed? If not, then what are the other factors that they decided to remove those games? I understand this clean-up was necessary because I found many of them with lacking information and being too vague.
Kate wrote:I've seen a few hybrids done on actual personality-driven LP channels. Some that are half VN and half RPG or have pixel gameplay....
I have seen plenty of demonstrations of Voltage games among small channels. Particularly for those who didn't want to pay for the whole thing. There'll always be that. So use judgement. Corpse Party was featured on PewDiePie's channel, however, showing that VN's are something LP'ers will try. You can meet some of them at Conventions (Markiplier goes to a few of the key ones in the US!) and I bet if you reached out in the comments to a smaller channel, they'd be thrilled to try something original and especially if you grant them a free copy (if it isn't already a free game).

I've watched some of the play through of Nicole on there- and frankly, watching VN's on youtube makes me want to get the game myself and make my own choices. Watching and criticizing or agreeing with choices and curiosity inspired me to make better games than the bland Voltage Mary Sue-driven games (that are still guilty pleasures, I admit, but eye candy and totally fantasy plot-setting over substance....) and get into programming.
Interactive VNs seem to be popular, but I'm sure there are people who wish to play regular VN. For example, stats raising games are fun at the beginning but it boring after doing it over and over. Thanks for these suggestions, I will try my luck. Sadly, I live in Europe and the conventions aren't as big as in other continents. I've been on a few and mostly they focus on plushies, figures and other goodies. I remember they sold VNs but I only saw H-titles.

We're on the same level about Voltage games haha. Mary Sue is fun, but only if you adds twists. I wouldn't want to continue if the whole plot is predictable.
Yes, these videos are so inspiring. I often check out trailers and look at their style. It's easy to learn techniques but creativity isn't always within reach.
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Re: How to promote your game?

#12 Post by papillon » Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:48 am

I'm having trouble finding a clear rules post on adding game to VNDB. This, therefore, is my gut feeling which may not really match official policy.

- If a game has been released you can obviously add it.
- If a game has released a demo, the game can be added with a trial edition release entry for the demo, and a TBA for the full game.
- If a game has announced a firm release date of about a month or so ahead and the game has some publicly posted art to show that it's not just a fantasy, it can be added with that upcoming release date marked.
- If a game has announced a firm release date of less than two days away it can be added with that upcoming release date even if there's not much public art available.
- If a game has been announced by a major development company, with no release date, but at least some character art and screenshots have been put forth to indicate that the game is in development, it can go on the list with a date of TBA even though it doesn't have a trial. This is the tricky one because there's going to be disagreement over what counts as a sufficiently reliable company.
- Any release marked TBA for a sufficiently long period of time may have someone look into it to check for signs that it's still in development, and deleted from the database if there's evidence that it was canceled, or if the creator just seems to have fallen off the face of the planet.

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Re: How to promote your game?

#13 Post by Green Glasses Girl » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:12 am

PyTom wrote:I'm not sure this is a good idea. It strikes me that information like this has a shelf-life, with new things coming around all the time.
firecat wrote:dont forget that the articles are written by users that are like you and me, using it has a guide to answer questions will not help fill-in the truth about what it really takes to build a fanbase.
That's fair. :D

@OP: I guess there isn't really a formula but a lot of trial-and-error investigations. But one thing I've noticed is that when it comes to releasing games, a lot of hype gets built from new faces when the release day is announced and countdown begins (for example "My game is released on May 30!-->10 more days!-->Released in a week!-->Released tomorrow!") I usually find new games on tumblr and twitter that way, usually stumbling upon it during one of the announcement posts. Some VNs that only announce the game on release day tend to get pushed down further on the dashboard/feed, out of sight and out of mind. (Also, there are stats available online on the best times to post/most active peak hours on social media)
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Re: How to promote your game?

#14 Post by Lesleigh63 » Sun May 01, 2016 10:57 pm

My two cents worth...

Try to bring someone on board who is a social butterfly and who loves blogging, tweeting and all the rest of it. There may be folks out there who love visual novels, want to be involved in VN development but can't do art, writing, music, programming etc. This may be something they can do and I believe it's an area that is becoming just as important as the art, writint, music, programming etc.

Second suggestion is to take your product to a 'studio' that has released a few games (commercial or free) which has possibly attracted a player fan base and see if you can work something out with them. Being able to promote/release a new good-looking game under their studio umbrella may be attractive to them.
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Re: How to promote your game?

#15 Post by firecat » Mon May 02, 2016 9:29 am

Lesleigh63 wrote:My two cents worth...

Try to bring someone on board who is a social butterfly and who loves blogging, tweeting and all the rest of it. There may be folks out there who love visual novels, want to be involved in VN development but can't do art, writing, music, programming etc. This may be something they can do and I believe it's an area that is becoming just as important as the art, writint, music, programming etc.

Second suggestion is to take your product to a 'studio' that has released a few games (commercial or free) which has possibly attracted a player fan base and see if you can work something out with them. Being able to promote/release a new good-looking game under their studio umbrella may be attractive to them.
1) never happens in real life, also they could not like it and things could go bad if the person wants to do other things.

2) dont ever "sell-out" its never worth it.
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