Presentation on theme: "Building your brand as an independent developer About Chris Charla Portfolio Director for Connected Experiences at Microsoft Studios Worked as independent."— Presentation transcript:
Building your brand as an independent developer
About Chris Charla Portfolio Director for Connected Experiences at Microsoft Studios Worked as independent developer for 10 years Launch editor of IGN.com; game magazine editor for six years on twitter
Being independent is great Smaller Faster Cheaper More agile Freedom to make games you want to make
The problem: Standing out is hard! There are tons of great games out there… How can you make sure people see your game, and understand how awesome it is? It takes a lot of work, but there are some sound, proven strategies you can implement that guarantee you have the best shot possible.
Why just being great isn’t enough There is arguably more great content out there than there is time/money/consumers to experience it Videogames are not a rational marketplace. Discovery is hard; people are lazy
Building a brand is the solution We know on XBLA games with “known IP” sell 23% better on average This doesn’t mean established IP, such as sequels or licenses. Building a brand around your game, your studio, and yourself can help that happen – turning an unknown project into a hotly anticipated game Braid Fez Castle Crashers
Strategies: Focus Should you focus on a game, a studio, or yourself? Yes.
Strategy: Step One First, have an awesome game. This is really important! Be honest about whether or not your game is awesome Be honest about whether or not it has a chance for the level of success you are hoping for Listen for the feedback you don’t receive
Strategy: Be Active on Social Media (duh) Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc. Be active without being a shill for your project Consider two accounts, one for your game, and on personally Be real this is important Evaluating social media ROI Twitter is probably best for building personal brand Twitter + Blogs is best for your game Facebook is harder right now for independent games. Tough to update, tough to stand out in a crowd, tough to manage
Announce your game early and often Games used to be announced late. That’s a terrible strategy Old paradigm: Similar to launching a film Spend a ton of dough to saturate the market with awareness and generate tons of interest among target audience Very expensive, needed to be timed closely to “peak” with product release Realistically, no one can afford this type of saturation marketing for an independent game
Announce your game early and often New paradigm: Low intensity, long-lead time marketing Target your interested consumers where they hang out One tweet may not have the “reach” of a magazine ad, but if the right 1,000 people see it, it’s more than worth it Goal: Create the purchase intent months or years before release, so the purchase becomes a foregone conclusion
Analysis: Does this work? We’ve seen zero negative effects on XBLA for early announces Braid, Castle Crashers, etc We have seen correlation of late or surprise announces with low sales
Building Awareness Early Social media Big media, websites and magazines Amplification by thought leaders Shows and events (speaking and showing) Build awareness Get actionable product feedback Network like crazy PR, Marketing and outreach by the developer can be more impactful than outreach from a publisher.
Analysis of your brand building Be disciplined: Use comps not instinct to evaluate your strategy’s performance Compare stories / followers / etc with similar games. If your game got 11 stories after PAX, and every other game got 25, you need to pause
What if this seems awfully hard? Tough luck. Marketing and outreach is an intrinsic part of selling what you do If you can’t do this, you must partner with someone who can. There is no alternative if you want to succeed.