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Northernlion discusses getting your game covered by YouTubers
Northernlion discusses getting your game covered by YouTubers
March 21, 2014 | By Mike Rose

March 21, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing, YouTube, GDC

I often hear video game journalists murmur about how YouTubers are gradually becoming more in line with the video game press with every passing day. After hearing a talk from Ryan "Northernlion" Letourneau at GDC this week, I think we may already be there.

Letourneau, a prominent YouTuber with over 280,000 subscribers and over 100 million views on his videos, was explaining to his audience how exactly you can best go about getting your game covered by the YouTube crowd.

And as Letourneau listed the various angles you should consider attacking, much of his talk echoed back to my own from GDC Europe last year on how to get in contact with the video game press. It would appear that getting in touch with both YouTubers and the game press is nearly the very same thing in 2014.

When firing an email to YouTubers, for example, Letourneau says that you should always just send a game code in that very first email. "Don't do interest checks," he noted. "Just send the game straight over."

Other email advice: "Be brief. Explain your game's 'value'. Make information convenient." Again, also necessary elements when contacting the game press.

"AAA companies are starting to wise up, and have realized YouTubers aren't going anywhere. That doesn't mean if you're indie you can't compete, but you should know your competition."
And he added that if you haven't heard back after a few days, ping again via email -- they may have just missed the first one. If that fails, trying sending a message via Twitter.

"Don't be afraid to go on Twitter and ping them a couple of times," he notes. "But don't be belligerent or overly aggressive."

Oh, and don't bother with messaging through YouTube -- no-one reads those, says Letourneau.

The YouTuber recommended visiting the "Big List of YouTubers" and just contacting every single one. "There's 100,000s of people doing this," he noted. "It's not like trying to find a needle in the haystack - it's like trying to find strands of straw that want to talk to you."

And if, after all this, you still get no response, don't feel downhearted about it. Letourneau added that it could simply be that the person isn't interested in your game right now, or that it's too early in development and/or has bugs. Try again later down the line.

Of course, it's easier said that done. Since Valve opened the floodgates on Greenlight, YouTubers have been finding it way harder to cover all the games that appear on Steam -- plus, AAA studios are finally getting in on the act.

"AAA companies are starting to wise up, and have realized YouTubers aren't going anywhere," says Letourneau. "They've really started opening up and sending copies to people who are asking for them."

"That doesn't mean if you're indie you can't compete, but you should know your competition," he adds. "It's easier to get people to play Titanfall over indie games, as some indie games can be a trickier sell."

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Chris Lynn
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I have a gameplay/trailers channel on Youtube, and I agree with the points made in the article. I also would like to provide some extra advices:

- Make it clear where you stand in terms of rights - do you allow people to post/monetize videos of your game? If you allow monetization more people will post videos (here is a list of some companies position on the subject:

- Watch out for licenced content - Once I made a video of a game (with the developers approval), just to have a record label take down the video (the song rights were exclusively for the game). We have to deal with Content ID and DMCA claims, so a lot of attention is necessary

- Know who to ask - Many youtubers have specific preferences, such as MMO, 8-bit or dating simulators (wich reminds me of all the Hatoful Boyfriend videos). Try to find the ones that will genuinely like your game, and they will be more likely to showcase it

Jennis Kartens
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Absolutely right!

Especially point 1&2 are the biggest concerns when it comes to YouTube. Most people monetize their videos and must be in the clear, what they can or cannot put out on the web.

Bruno Xavier
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I hate to depend on marketing/press to publish anything. I rather talk to players openly by myself.