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Powerful Game Marketing Techniques for Small Developers.
by Tony Celentano on 05/24/12 05:03:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

After doing website marketing and SEO for over a year now with a small game company, there's a few things I've learned about the MMORPG demographic and their less-than-realistic expectations of the industry.

Players have a general disdain for developers; they easily perceive imbalances in the game that can usually be attributed to player skill, they aren't getting their downloadable content fast enough and that last patch ruined the game. It's almost indimidating for an indie developer because today's gamers are giving brutal reviews before games are even launched, so how does one get their foot in the door?

People asking for game advice
Being active in the social networks is important, but more important is having a natural grassroots campaign spread out across various industry sites. It's important to talk about your games to players on a personal level and be active in communities for the types of players you're looking for. Spamming is never attractive, you want to essentially blend in with these communities. So someone trying to gain exposure for their new RPG might go to an active forum community like OnRPG and talk about their games in the appropriate sub-forums. Your goal is basically to harvest as much organic traffic as you can by being knowledgeable in human emotion and persuasion. Using power words is especially beneficial, but you should also be able to tone it down and not come across as a soapbox for your products.

If someone starts a thread asking for a specific game genre (ex: "What f2p mmo with minimal grinding should I play?") then you should try being casual when mentioning your product, without ever mentioning that you're affiliated with the company. Players are much more likely to trust the advice of other players, just like men are more likely to take a bro's advice than a girlfriend's. So your goal when marketing your games is to be a bro, and not a girlfriend, know what I mean dude? Dude I was totally playing these MUDs the other day, they're p. g00d if you're looking for solid roleplay and a cool community :)

The organic link is a powerful tool for small game companies because it's nearly impossible to rank highly on Google for most MMORPG related terms unless you're a power-player in the industry. Since you have basically no hope of gaining exposure through people searching on Google, your best bet is to be active on the communities that show up on Google for terms related to your game niche.


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