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Lets take a example of Apex Legends, it was release in February 4, 2019 and got 25 millions users in after a week (Source: The Verge). I know EA is the publisher so its easy for them to market and have huge user base but what if Im new in the industry and have been funded or invested to make huge game like that but could not get million of user in such short period of time?

How could I achieve something like this? How can I get a lot of players to play my game when I launch it? I thought of adding AI/bots to keep the real players in until my player mass is good enough, but is that just it? Are there other options?

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migrated from gamedev.meta.stackexchange.com Apr 7 at 12:08

This question came from our discussion, support, and feature requests site for professional and independent game developers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Although meta is for 'discussions', it's for discussions about the site, not for open-ended discussions about game development topics. Also, I rescoped the questions. Asking "how do they do it" is off-topic here, but you can ask about how you could achieve this within your own reality. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexandre Vaillancourt Apr 7 at 12:21
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Softlaunch and marketing.

Softlaunch is quietly launching your game. Once you're confident enough in the quality of your game, you release it to a small market (e.g. to only a particular region of the world). You start to build your user base while fixing some newly found issues, either those related to technical aspects of your game (server load balancing, etc.), or those related to monetization. Once your softlaunch is going well, you can expect to be ready for the official launch in your final target regions.

Marketing is having your game seen by your target audience. There are multiple ways to achieve this, either via internet ads, physical ads in your target region, having your game in the hands of reviewers, let's-players, etc.

This means that you have limited funds, you need to plan ahead and save some development time and some money for these aspects.

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First and foremost comes marketing.Release trailers and initially launch demo version of the game.Record the user feedback and improve the main game accordingly.Once you feel satisfied launch the main game and you will have enough players playing it.Try to release new patches in a short period of time to improve players experience.BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY Content matters.

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I would advise against relying on bots. Developing a good AI for a multiplayer game is a lot of work and players will still notice. I have seen some MMO games which started to use bots to reinforce teams when their playerbase started to decline (like Planetside 2), but this was usually considered a controversial move by their communities. Playing with other humans is the whole purpose of an MMO game, after all.

If you want to make sure that you have a large playerbase, then pre-launch marketing is important, especially for a multiplayer game where the size of the community directly impacts the game experience of the individual player.

If you "have been funded or invested to make huge game like that", then you should also assign a considerable part of these funds to your marketing budget.

I don't necessarily mean mass advertisement. Advertisement is great for AAA studios who got the budget to saturate the advertising space in order to make everyone and their grandma aware of their game launch. It is also great for the kind of game experience which wants to maintain a slow but steady influx of new players. But it's not really that great to get people hyped for a launch.

The best way to get people hyped is by building a fan community before your game is released.

  • Create a community hub for your game where your community can interact with each other and with you. There are different opinions about how to create such a hub. Forums are the classical solution, but seem to fall out of fashion. Options which seem more popular right now are an own community on reddit ("subreddit") or a Discord server. Feed them regulary with small bits of information to keep them interested.
  • Feed the gaming press with regular press releases.
  • Get into contact with streamers on Twitch and let's players on YouTube and organize public tests with them.
  • Announce your release long in advance. Not just the day, announce the exact time when the servers are open.

Promoting a game during the month leading up to release is a full-time job. If you are a solo developer, expect to spend more time on promoting than you spend on development during that time. When you are a small team, consider to hire someone who does nothing but promotion. Larger game companies usually have whole marketing departments.

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