Getting a game known to many people can be difficult at times, especially for us indie developers, but having good publicity is crucial to a game’s success. This is especially true even before the game’s official launch.
There are multiple ways to promote a game, such as posting about it on public forums, telling friends about it, using paid advertisements, asking online influencers to try your game, and many more. Some images and at least one gameplay video should be included when trying to promote a game.
Promoting your game in multiple ways before it is released can help create hype around it and help you gain some feedback from multiple groups of audiences so you can adjust and make some improvements to your game before finally releasing it.
For the rest of this article, I will be explaining some of the methods for promoting your game.
Promote your game on public forums
Promoting your game on public forums is a good start. Gather up some screenshots or a short clip of gameplay video and post them on those forums.
Reddit is a good site to promote your game as it is easily accessible and is used by a lot of people from around the world. You can go to subreddits related to gaming or game development and post about your game.
There are also genre-specific subreddits you can visit. But do note that there are rules for each subreddit and you should always check out the rules first and make absolutely sure that you won’t be breaking any of them. Most of the big subreddits like the general gaming subreddit or platform-specific subreddits like Steam do not allow self-promoting. Be careful.
And don’t just post once and forget about it. Posting updates about your game regularly is also a key to success. This way, you can gather feedback as you develop your game. Just make sure it’s not too often that it becomes spammy.
Twitter is also another place you can possibly promote your game easily for free. There are millions of daily active users on Twitter and the hashtag system makes it really easy for your game to be found by people.
Post some screenshots or a gameplay video and give it a few hashtags related to gaming or game development like #GameDev, #IndieDev, #IndieGame, or a hashtag of your game’s genre to increase the chance of it being found on Twitter.
If your game is interesting enough, people will also help to like and share it. Thus, creating more traction. And if a lot of people talk about it enough, your game could end up trending, generating more hype around it.
Join Discord servers
Promoting your game on Discord servers is also a great way to get your game known. This is especially good if you want immediate feedback as Discord servers function as chat rooms where people can interact in real-time.
One of the servers I recommend is Reddit /r/gamedev Discord server.
There are also many other gaming Discord servers you can join. I recommend searching for them on the Disboard server search.
As with any community, make sure you read the rules properly and make sure it is absolutely fine to promote your game on the server. Note that some servers do not allow self-promoting.
Ask people you know to spread the word
This is kind of an obvious one but another way to promote your game is by asking your friends or someone you know to try it and possibly spread the word about it. Even better if you have friends who are well-known by a lot of people.
You can start by posting about your game on social media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter, and asking your friends to help share it.
Promote by creating a Steam page
If you are serious about releasing your game on Steam. It is a good idea to try and create a Steam product page for your game early on, even if you haven’t finished making the game yet.
As long as you have some screenshots or gameplay videos, and you’re serious about finishing it, it is recommended that you try and submit your game and create a Steam product page early on.
This is because there is a chance Steam will pick up your game and promote it on various pages in the store. Your game could end up on the front page or in the upcoming section.
Having a Steam product page for your game also helps with promoting it on other platforms and websites as it gives credibility to your game, increasing the chance of people showing interest in it. The Steam page also lets people wishlist your game so they can get notified when it is officially released.
Reach out to online influencers
Another way to promote your game is to reach out to online influencers. This can be YouTubers, streamers, or influencers on social media platforms.
You can start by contacting them via email. Ask them politely and explain to them what your game is about and why you want them to try your game.
Send them a demo of your game, or a game key of the full version, if your game is already released and you don’t mind giving a few away for free.
The caveat to this method is unless you’re well-known or you intend to pay the influencers, the success rate is quite low. Not all online influencers are friendly toward this kind of behavior and there’s a high chance they will ignore your attempts. But the publicity you gain will be huge if you manage to get big names to promote your games.
Putting devlogs on YouTube
YouTube is the most popular video hosting site on earth, having over millions and millions of daily active users watching and creating video content. Doing devlogs on YouTube is a great way to promote your game.
By regularly putting out 10-minute (or longer) videos about updates and progress of your game consistently, you increase the chance of your game being found by potentially millions of people on YouTube.
This method is great if you don’t mind putting a bit of work into making videos. There’s a high chance your videos will end up on someone’s recommendation list, and it can snowball from there.
Another benefit of doing this is it helps keeping yourself disciplined by pushing out progress regularly. And YouTube, being a video hosting platform, is great for showing gameplay videos. Feedback you get from there will also help you improve your game as you develop it.
Promoting your game isn’t hard. You can always start by posting about it on forums or various social media platforms. If you want immediate feedback, joining Discord servers is also a good idea. And if you have friends who are into gaming, asking them to help spread the word is another way to promote your game.
If you feel a little adventurous, reaching out to online influencers, specifically YouTubers or streamers, is also another way to get your game out there. Though the chance of success may be a bit low unless you’re will to pay to sponsor them.
Lastly, pushing out devlog videos on YouTube is a great way to get make your game known if you have time and can afford to make videos about your progress as there’s a high chance you’ll be found by potentially millions of people.
There are simple, and not-so-simple, ways to promote your game. I hope you learned something today.
I’ll see you again in the next article.