Marketing for Indie Game Designers: How to Ensure Your Work Gets the Attention It Deserves

Even the most entertaining and challenging game is a bust if nobody plays it. The internet gives customers access to thousands of video games spanning dozens of genres and age ranges. To get noticed, indie developers have to ferociously market their game through conventional and creative tactics. While there is no perfect solution for marketing success, there are a few basic tips that every game designer should use.

Build Your Game’s Reputation Before Launch

Anticipation can be an amazing marketing force, especially if the game delivers as promised. Designers should start building awareness of their game months before their planned launch date. In some cases, getting a small group of dedicated players to serve as alpha and beta testers is a great way to accelerate mechanics development and bug fixing.

Connect with Media Influencers

The video gaming industry has grown to enormous proportions in recent decades, so it’s no surprise that there are many media outlets that cater specifically to this user base. Game developers should keep in touch with the community by reading blogs, forums and industry news so they can identify potential marketing outlets. Connecting with even a few high-profile bloggers can provide a huge public relations boost.

Consider Third-Party Distribution

Third-party distribution is not an easy decision for any developers, whether they are indie or established. There are a lot of options for distribution platforms, so designers have to do their research to figure out the best one for their game. Some gaming portals are designed specifically for indie or casual games, so it can be a great way to connect directly with the target consumer base.

Create an Engaging Website

Every game designer who is serious about marketing their game needs a website where people can learn more about the game and the development team. These sites don’t need to be incredibly complex or detailed, but they should be entertaining, engaging, and represent the spirit of the game. Game site builder tools can simplify the process of creating and maintaining the site while leaving plenty of creative options for users. 

It’s tempting to brush off marketing as a secondary priority or something that will resolve itself, but this can be a disastrous attitude for indie developers. Engaging in public relations outreach may be uncomfortable, unfamiliar and confusing, but taking the time to communicate and connect with users is a necessary step in getting the attention the game deserves.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Let’s Play Ball: Gamification For Businesses

Gamification – have you heard the term? The odds are high that if you haven’t, then you will soon. Recently, this method of increasing customer participation has taken off within the industry. It’s the process of using video game-style features to boost the customer experience. For the most part, it tends to make marketing more fun and enjoyable. The same also goes for the products and services themselves.

People who have never heard the term before won’t have a clue regarding implementing it into their business plan. That’s why this post is here – to give you a helping hand. The following are the things to take into consideration.

Valued Learning

Duolingo is a language app which helps its users to learn words and phrases. The way it does this is simple: it starts off small and works higher and higher. Anyone who needs to get to the next level has to unlock the one they are on first. Otherwise, they plateau until they get it right. Adobe Photoshop has a similar strategy with its LevelUp campaign. The competition is the part which engages customers and makes them come back for more as humans hate being beaten. Plus, it helps users take a complicated goal and break it down into bite-size chunks.

Distractions

There are bound to be times when customers lose interest in, well, anything. Whether it’s a marketing ploy or a product itself, people will get bored. Distractions exist and it is your job to find the major ones and deal with them as soon as possible. The reason this is essential is that gamification can lend a hand and make it less monotonous. Then, the level of focus should bounce back and no one will disengage. Use analytics to figure out where people are running out of patience and then gamify the area. Alternatively, you can use your gut.

Tracking And Reporting

Putting a gamified version of the brand out into the world is only a baby step. Those who want to go to the next level need to track results and report on the data. Again, analytic software is available so there is no excuse. And, IT support is accessible across the world regardless of location. Anyone who wonders why this is important should remember two things. The first one is that you can analyze whether the feature is achieving the goals you set out in the beginning. Secondly, it allows the customers to improve, which is added value.

Offline Synchronization

Never forget about mixing virtual and real elements. For example, Foursquare is a program that rewards its users for checking-in to places and events. It also offers incentives for frequently using the app. Anyone who owns a “retro” high street store can use this to merge their strategies. Get your customers to check-in to Foursquare when they are in the store to receive their rewards. Once they start to link the two, they will shop with you more often.

So, the question is: are you game for gamification?

Love Tech? You’ll Love Gaming!

Technology is a wonderful thing. It has happened so many doors for so many people. In fact, if it wasn’t for technology, there is no telling what the world would be like today! One thing that technology has bought us is a love of gaming, one that millions of people share around the world. Some people really do hate it, but that must mean they have never tried it before. It opens the mind to new possibilities, and allows you to expand your imagination through the world of gaming! As the years go on, the way in which we game is changing, and the people who love gaming are evolving in the way that they play. As new games are bought out, new people are introduced to the gaming world. It’s not just men, women are now loving it too! If you haven’t yet developed a love for gaming, but you have one for tech, here’s how we can change your mind.

The Best Games

There are some really good games out at the minute that are defining the gaming world. One of them has to be Fortnite, purely for the attention and love that it seems to be getting. People all over the world are jumping at the chance to play it, with millions of people now subscribed. It is truly addictive, and the fact that the developers keep switching up how the game can be played, the added extras, and the changes to the maps that they keep making. However, one of the most long standing and popular games that there is has to be Final Fantasy. A game that has been going for years, and for a lot of people, it’s what got them into gaming. If you have a look at websites such as www.finalfantasyxvapp.com/, you’ll see that there is a downloadable app that you can have that should introduce you to the game. You can also play it on PC, which a lot of people like to do! There’s the obvious games such as Call of Duty that gamers have loved from day one, however, the franchise has changed so much that people are starting to go off it now!

Growing Empire

Gaming is definitely a growing empire. As the years go on, more and more money is being made from the different aspects of it, not just the gaming side. For example, there’s movies, songs, Youtubers, clothes etc. It’s expanding at such a rate due to the increased popularity in the gaming world. The games that we know are being developed today, such as the remastered Crash Bandicoot, and the soon to be remastered MW2 from Call of Duty, is sparking an interest in the gamers who had once lost it. What we’re trying to say is this, if you’re going to join the gaming world, now is the time to do it. The technology is amazing, and you can even dabble in things such as VR gaming that might tickle your fancy.

There really is something for everyone, so we recommend you try it.

Games Play an Important Role in Your Business Success

At first glance, video games and business don’t seem to have a great deal in common.

gamingAfter all, video games are perfect for relaxing away from work, not playing at your desk. Or so it would seem. In actual fact, video games can be a useful business tool, helping business owners to build their company, strengthen the bonds within their teams, and connect better with their customers.

What are some of the ways in which you can use video games to help build your business?

Using Games to Help Your Employees Perform Better

As the article “Not Just Fun and Games” points out, gaming can easily cross the borders into other areas of life such as business, and can be a valuable tool for helping your employees get the job done.

For example, designers or architects who have access to quality 3D games and environments can plan out how a room or apartment building will look, making use of the digital environment to move things around and make changes. In other words, mistakes can be spotted at an early stage, helping them iron out wrinkles that could cause problems later.

A plumbing or electrician’s business might use a game as a simulator, to help employees plan out a job, or test their problem solving skills. Using games in this way can help you get the best from your team.

Using Games to Help Your Team Bond Better

It’s not all serious business. Video games can also be used for stress relief and fun. Many companies now offer video game rooms for employees to use during break or off the clock, and may run video game nights to help with team bonding.

Playing video games is good stress relief, which is vital if you want your employees to feel happier and work better. Lowering stress levels means increasing creativity and clear thinking, and may also increase company loyalty.

Using video games for team bonding gets everyone together for an activity that generates a healthy level of both competition and camaraderie.

Playing a video game together literally levels the playing field, cutting through the chain of command and giving people the chance to get to know each other.

Using Games to Help You Connect With Your Customers

Video games aren’t just good for your employees – they can be pretty handy when it comes to connecting with your customers, too.

With so many customers being mobile these days, developing a game app is a fun way to connect with them in a mobile-friendly format that keeps you fresh in their minds.

Some businesses are also tapping into video games as a way to measure their customers’ opinions.

Games based on “prediction markets” allow customers to bet virtual money on what they think will be popular. The strategy has been used by brands such as Citigroup and State Farm to get a feel for consumer opinion.

Using Game Strategies to Grow Your Business

Video games can offer real benefits to your business, including gifting you with strategies and fresh approaches that can make a difference to performance and sales, from individual employees upwards. Gamification, the practice of applying game-related concepts in other situations, can increase productivity for your business.

By using tools such as leader boards, prizes, and contest rounds and so on, you can encourage your employees, such as your sales team, to work together and strive for better, which has a positive effect on your business as a whole.

No longer the province of a lazy weekend afternoon, video games can be used to improve performance and team bonding, understand your customers, and increase productivity in your business.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including social media, SEO, video games and productivity.

Bracketology: Data and Analytics for the Masses

March Madness is in full swing as the NCAA Basketball Tournament kicks off. Everyone is filling out brackets trying to predict who will win the tournament. There is even a $1 billion prize for one lucky winner who picks the perfect bracket.

Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge 2014: Tips for March Madness Tournament

So what is Bracketology?

The process of predicting the field of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, named as such because it is commonly used to fill in tournament brackets for the postseason. It incorporates some method of predicting what the NCAA Selection Committee will use as its Ratings Percentage Index in order to determine at-large (non-conference winning) teams to complete the field of 68 teams, and, to seed the field by ranking all teams from first through sixty-eighth. ~Wikipedia

Is there a science to bracketology?

Math Improves March Madness Predictions

Inside Science Buzzwords:

  • March Madness – The period of time (held mostly in March) that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) holds a single-elimination tournament wherein 68 college basketball teams compete to determine the national champion of college basketball.
  • Tournament Brackets – The form that shows the games in the NCAA tournament, and includes spaces for the winners of each game, arranged in a tree diagram that shows the teams and the different rounds of the tournament. In this year’s tournament, 68 teams are divided into four regions and sorted into single-elimination categories that display which teams the winners will face next.
  • Bracketology – The name for the process in which an individual attempts to predict and fill in the NCAA basketball brackets.
  • Computer Algorithm – A step-by-step process that a computer uses to calculate a solution to a problem, such as the prediction of the March Madness tournament winners.

Using #Gamification to Engage Employees

What do we mean by employee engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals. When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.

Engaged Employees lead to…

  • higher service, quality, and productivity, which leads to…
  • higher customer satisfaction, which leads to…
  • increased sales (repeat business and referrals), which leads to…
  • higher levels of profit, which leads to…
  • higher shareholder returns (i.e., stock price)

Many organizations have created employee engagement strategies that include gamification. Why Gamification? When done correctly, gamification can inspire, motivate and help team members collaborate more effectively and more organically overtime.

Salesforce’s JP Rangaswami – Engage Employees and Drive Innovation with Gamification

Loyalty 3.0: Big Data and Gamification (GSummit SF 2013)

10 Key Mechanics of #Gamification

As I get ready to write a grant to game-ify our online orientation, I was re-reading Rajat Paharia‘s book, ” Loyalty 3.0.” Below are his 10 Key Mechanics of Gamification (See Chapter 4 of the book!)

Fast Feedback I get immediate feedback or response to actions
Transparency I can see where everyone (including me) stand, quickly and easily
Goals I have short and long term goals to achieve
Badges I can display evidence of my achievements
Leveling Up I can achieve status within my community
Onboarding I can learn in an engaging way
Competition I can see how I am doing against others
Collaboration I can see work with others to accomplish goals
Community I can see what the community is doing; the community can see me
Points I can see tangible, measurable evidence of my accomplishments.