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I have just finished a game I had been developing last month, but whilst making the game I was pestered by the fact that I had no way of getting it to the public eye. I didn't want to pitch it to a publisher, as being tied to a publisher is the absolute last resort for me. So with little in the ways of funds for advertisement and supplementary materials, coupled with the fact that I am a fledgling to the industry to the highest degree and thus have nothing in the way of backing or accolades or any reputation at all. How does someone such as me get his work out there, and keep it as a work of his own merit and design? Am I just going to have to put my pride aside and join the veterans, or is there some way, any way at all, to make my way through? I really appreciate the help of anybody who answers.

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possible duplicate of Effective marketing strategies for independent game projects Also: How can I promote my game? and Where to promote your indie game? And thanks for not making your question an advertisement for your game :) Good luck Jacob! Congrats on finishing your game! –  Byte56 Jul 28 '12 at 0:08
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If your game is insanely wonderful, you can self publish and wait for the money to roll in. Don't hold your breath. Otherwise, it's unlikely any publisher will be interested either. Welcome to the real world. –  ddyer Jul 28 '12 at 0:26

4 Answers 4

Option 1:

Best way to market your own game? Talk to a company who publishes games. Pretend they're just a partner who takes a share just like anyone, and make a lot more money than you would have publishing on your own.

We sold about 50k copies of our IOS game last year. Really good game, 5 stars in almost all country specific app stores. Would have done way better with the $10000 marketing budget these types of games generally get from a publisher. 100% of a few bucks isn't as exciting as 50-70% of thousands. Lesson learned the hard way. Just a note, publishers won't touch your game, in my experience anyway, if it's been released.

Option 2

For the sake of answering your question, we sent the game out to about 100 game review sites in a few different countries. Had some videos posted up on youtube, did a "like me on facebook" contest, gave the right people a free copy to get them to play it, and broke even.

Maybe go for the latter option just to appreciate the value of someone who knows how to market. They don't program games because they suck at it, I don't market games because I suck at it.

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Have you considered something like Steam?

If you could modify your game to suit their requirements, they could provide you with a solid base and you could focus more on the development itself without worrying about the business details (although business details are something to worry about).

Recently, a colleague and myself decided to develop a game and considered publishing it with Steam. We haven't done it yet, but it's a possibility for a small game studio/company such as our own, other small and big game studios/companies are doing it also, and it's something to start with.

An example of a bigger studio/company would be Runic Games with a game called Torchlight, but their developers are very experienced.

You could also check out GOG, I think they also provide this service.

Update (to meet the needs for the discussion in the comments):

From their FAQ on the site:

3: Do you take XNA, Flash or Adobe Air games?

Yes, we accept all three types on Steam. Flash games need to be wrapped so that they launch from a stand-alone executable.

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for steam and GOG, what type of software do they accept? –  Jacob Neal Jul 28 '12 at 1:43
    
Game software only! –  Secko Jul 28 '12 at 1:44
    
No, I mean do they accept java or flash games? And maybe Clickteam product games? Or only games made from other tools? –  Jacob Neal Jul 28 '12 at 1:46
    
As far as I know, they accept any type of game, developed on any type of technology. You have to pass some requirements mentioned on the site, that it is. –  Secko Jul 28 '12 at 1:49

[Edit] There appears to be some confusion about what I mean by "marketing." When I say a good game will market itself, I mean a good game is likely to get featured in blogs and in app stores. That is to say, the user has to spend $0 on advertising. [End Edit]

The simplest way:

Make a good game.

A good game (or any good product) will market itself. "Good" is a very nebulous word. But from my view a "good" game has two requirements:

1) It is unique (you can clone another game, but you should bring significant improvements or new features to it).

2) It is fun. Fun is in the eye of the beholder, but generally, if your game is fun, at least a certain niche of people will enjoy it. A fun game is also functional, without frustrating bugs or design flaws.

A boring clone will fail. A fun clone probably won't stand out in the market, unless it is really well made and marketed (or free). A boring, unique game might stand out, but probably not for the right reasons. A unique, fun game will entice its users to spread the word, and news/review sites will be eager to talk about your anomaly.

Obviously, there is grey area on the line between good and bad, but your first few games will either be unfinished or not that great, because becoming a good artist, programmer, and game designer is not an overnight endeavor. There are very few cases where successful titles were the first thing to come out of a developer's efforts. Rovio was around for 7 or 8 years before Angry Birds was made. Notch was 30 before he made Minecraft, and had worked on many other games prior. The list goes on...

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I disagree. A good game doesn't market itself. There's quite some competition out there and you have to do some marketing to get some visibility. Sure, an outstanding game that's free will probably require less marketing efforts (one blog-post on the right site will probably do the trick) but anything else will require more efforts to actually sell some copies. –  bummzack Jul 31 '12 at 6:20
    
@bummzack Games that spent $0 (or no time) on marketing, prior to success: Minecraft, Wolfenstein, Castle Story, Terraria, Grand Theft Auto 1, Legend of Grimrock, Voxatron, Limbo, Fez, World Of Goo, Braid, Super Meat Boy, Aquaria, hundreds of iPhone/Android games... Like I said, simply making a well-made game is not enough - it needs to be somewhat unique as well. If it is good and unique, news sites will cover it -- for free. –  Gavan Woolery Aug 1 '12 at 21:57
    
Gavan, if you believe that games like Limbo, Fez, Braid, Super Meat Boy, etc. did no marketing prior to their success, then you have a very skewed perception of how the games industry works. All of those titles, in fact, were major promotions on XBLA and all had to vigorously sell themselves to MS and then be vigorously be sold by MS in turn. Marketing isn't all you need, but to claim that those titles would all have sold without the immense marketing pushes they received is sorely naive. –  Steven Stadnicki Mar 29 '13 at 0:24
    
@StevenStadnicki I never said that games do not require marketing - I said that good games will market themselves (i.e. not cost any significant amount of time or money on the developer's behalf). Compare this to paying money for advertising space. Being small developers, it was my best guess that none of the aforementioned parties spent any significant amount of money on marketing. If you have proof that shows otherwise, I'd be happy to accept it. –  Gavan Woolery Apr 23 '13 at 20:25

what kind of game did you make? If it's HTML5, web, iOS or Android, you might consider putting it up on marketJS. We created the site ourselves because we couldn't find any publishers initially.

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Its a game using Multimedia Fusion 2 from Clickteam. Its a platformer with some elements of beat em ups/hack and slash. –  Jacob Neal Aug 5 '12 at 23:04

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