How should I advertise my game

eluukkanen

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Advertising is a hard one, can't say I master it yet. But coming from a guy who rarely did it to one that is starting to figure it out, I recommend to really understand out what is the most important part in your game. What's the "Wow!" factor, the hook. Most of the times is easy to overlook as you already know the game in and out. But figuring out the thing to get people excited before even playing is the key for making a sale.
 

HentaiPie

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You have various ways to advertise that are good in my opinion. Using sites like this, rmmv.co itch.io and others to promote your game is always a good idea. This way you will also get constructive criticism. Another thing is to join discord servers in the niche your game is in, talk and discuss there and casually bring up the fact that you have a game. This is important, as no one likes promotion being shoved down their throat, especially by new people. So having it casually brought up and only talking about it if anyone asks for more information is key.
 

Dezue

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Heyho, guys! Thanks for the all the insight in this topic!

One thing I'd like to add from our experience that (I think) hasn't been mentioned before:

:LZSyum: The best time to start letting people know about your game is: As soon as you have something playable! :LZScheeze:
(As opposed to start it after your game is already done). Don't wait too long to show your game to the world!

This way, you get to know your players much better (and it's much more fun to kinda work together with them on the game).
I'm glad I got this tip from a friendly dev soon after we started with the whole sexy gamedev/******* thing, so I'm taking this opportunity to pass it on to you as well


Happy devving and stay funky,
Dez

@Labyrinthine Good luck with the sales and your future games and thanks for starting this thread!
 

Super-User

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it is a good idea to put your game on Steam and AppStore
 

jkweath

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Been awhile since I posted here. Glad to see this thread still being updated every once in awhile!

I know that for steam, they take around 30% cut for selling your game on their platform in addition to the $100 that has to be put upfront. As for Aldorlea Games, do you happen to know what is the % that they take per sale? In addition, is there some statistics on how many sale would posting on Aldorlea Games would there be compared to posting on steam?

Cheers!
I'm sure if you ask @Indinera they'd be happy to let you know. Both BMTMicro and Aldorlea take a significant cut, so most developers up the cost of their game accordingly so they can still make a profit.

That being said I couldn't vouch more for the site. It's a shame that I only published my first game there and went in a different direction with the next few.

The thing with Aldorlea is that, like what's already been said, your standard run-of-the-mill RPGMaker games are not only expected, but encouraged, even ones using the RTP and free resources. Unlike Steam, where a majority of users will buy your game on sale and never play it, 100% of players who buy your game on Aldorlea will at least try it. Even better is that they're not afraid to give you feedback and bug reports. I know from personal experience!

All that being said, the userbase for Aldorlea is dedicated, but still relatively small compared to Steam and other platforms, so you shouldn't expect to make bank if you publish there. Personally I submit all of my profits to BMTMicro's end-of-the-year charity donation.

No offense, but I've given up on Steam when it comes to selling games there (though I'll probably post it there...eventually). All I've seen says that unless you are the hot new AAA game or a porn game you got about 0.000000001% of making it big. Even the big name RPGMaker games didn't do it on Steam, they sold the game elsewhere long before they got on Steam.
@bgillisp it's embarrassing to say this, but it took me over a year before I realized why some hentai RPGs and even some more "generic" RPGs sell decently: It's because they have actual publishers (i.e. they're not self-published). Many of the hentai RPGs on Steam are from the same publisher, not to mention the games are translated in English and Chinese. I'm sure the Chinese translation boosts sales quite a bit.

Having a publisher means already having users to advertise to in addition to having plenty of money to advertise and promote the game. Finding a publisher seems like the only way to have a chance of making any money from Steam nowadays unless you have a decent amount of cash to spend on advertising.
 
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BlueMage

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Well, sale your game is similar to sale toys, goods, you must catch up with nowaday trending.
Classical RPG is out of date, not because you like it mean another does.
 

Studio Blue

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Well, sale your game is similar to sale toys, goods, you must catch up with nowaday trending.
Classical RPG is out of date, not because you like it mean another does.
We are curious.... what would you say the "nowaday trending" is... nowadays?
 

bgillisp

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And actually, many have been proven wrong when they say classical RPG are not popular. Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler are considered classical RPG's and they were massive successes.

@Studio Blue : Well, it seems for RPGMaker games on Steam its only the Hentai games that do well now. In fact, I joke that Steam needs to be renamed Steamy due to the flood of those kind of games coming to Steam.
 

Studio Blue

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And actually, many have been proven wrong when they say classical RPG are not popular. Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler are considered classical RPG's and they were massive successes.

@Studio Blue : Well, it seems for RPGMaker games on Steam its only the Hentai games that do well now. In fact, I joke that Steam needs to be renamed Steamy due to the flood of those kind of games coming to Steam.
Ah! Gotcha! XD Yeah.... we see what ya mean.
 

jkweath

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@bgillisp I'm just talking off the top of my head here, but I feel like the reason why hentai RPGs manage to sell is because they're presented in a way that makes the viewer feel something - and for guys, there's no easier way to spark a feeling than good ol' fashioned anime tiddies.

I know that's obvious information, but if you think about it, the vast majority of RPGMaker games on the market try to sell themselves on the "return to classic jRPG story and gameplay" tag. It's been discussed to death by now, but this tactic's been run into the ground for years now, and it simply has no appeal, even to people who are actually into that genre.

And for people who are into that genre, why look for an RPGmaker game with that tagline when you could just pick up Chrono Trigger or Dragon Quest or one of the games you mentioned? Because those games are part of a brand are guaranteed to have quality at least!

I know they're few and far between, but there are quite a few RPGmaker games that managed to sell, and IMO outside of having a publisher they generally had an appeal and some sort of approach to make the viewer feel something as they looked at the game. In other words, they had "the X factor", or whatever you prefer to call it. It just so happens that the easiest and most sure-fire X factor is... Well, anime tiddies.

To name an example of another X factor, I saw a very unique RPGm game on steam awhile back called Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. Just find the game on steam and you can tell from the get-go that this is a game worth buying if you're into whimsical earthbound-ish RPGs.

Edit: Seriously, look at this game if you (the person reading this thread) get the chance because it's a shining example of an RPGMaker game that, while not on the level of Lisa or One Shot or To The Moon, succeeded without the use of sex appeal, a low price tag or having a publisher.

As another example, my second game, Knight Bewitched, had a small X factor in the form of romance that undoubtedly helped it break the mold of the average RPGmaker game.

I know I haven't said anything newsworthy here, but I feel like it's worth stating for every developer here that you should take a careful look at your game and ask yourself what its appeal is. If the only conclusion you can come up with is, "story-focused jRPG", or some variant of that, then you may want to acknowledge that your game will probably not sell well, regardless of the game's quality or the amount of effort put into it.

Edit: wanted to say that I talk about appeal as someone who struggles with making appealing games himself. When I first released Mari and the Black Tower about two years ago, I honestly believed the game would sell decently because it was a good jRPG with well-written characters and a good story.

Today, I understand that the only appeal Mari and the Black Tower has to the average Steam user is that it's a cheap game they can buy to add to their collection. I'm not knocking my own quality when I say my game has no appeal, but rather I'm acknowledging that my game does not have an X factor, and if someone looked at my game and asked me, "Why should I buy this?", I wouldn't have an answer.
 
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Studio Blue

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To name an example of another X factor, I saw a very unique RPGm game on steam awhile back called Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. Just find the game on steam and you can tell from the get-go that this is a game worth buying if you're into whimsical earthbound-ish RPGs.
Also, there is a huge thing "Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass" does that a lot of RPG Maker games on Steam do not do. This right here:


Do you see that image? Look at it. LOOK AT IT!!! (ahem) Jimmy is sleeping in his mother's arms, and she is stroking his hair (in the actual game, you can see the mother's sprite stroking the boy's head). In 99% of all RPG Maker games, they'd be standing next to each other under that tree, with maybe Jimmy using the "Damaged" graphic that comes with the RMMV generator to simulate sleeping.

The difference is immediately noticeable:

1. In Jimmy's case, the physicality of the sprite creates a human connection between Jimmy and his mother, something the player can empathize with. We know from that simple action that (1) Jimmy's mother loves him and (2) Jimmy feels safe with her.

2. In the other example, we have two sprites looking at each other. No connection. No empathy. Maybe if the writing is really good, you'll get something, but probably not (the ability of most RPG Maker developers to write compelling exhibition and dialog has been a bone of contention with us, especially Steel, for a while).

Anyway, the additional work of creating a sprite that generates human connection makes all the difference. Video games are mostly visual storytelling, which relies on showing the player something.

All the difference in the world.
 
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I had high expectations for Jimmy in terms of sales, I thought it might be the next big RPGM game after Lisa, especially after the coverage it got from people like Nitrorad. From what the creator has said though, while its sold more copies than 99% of RPGM games out there it didnt really gain the sort of traction I think a lot of its followers expected which is unfortunate. I think the game will end up being a bit of a slow burn cult classic but I guess in the end time will tell. It certainly deserves alot more attention than it has gotten.
 

bgillisp

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@jkweath : I'll tell you why I'd pick it up instead of those games. Maybe I've played those games 105166 times and want something, anything else that is similar, but not the exact same game.

I think one thing that is hurting games these days though is the low price points they set as their normal price. I see a game under $5 and immediately think it is a bad or a quick flash game and pass on it most of the time. And I wonder how many others think the same way? After all there is something to be said for valuing your own work some too.

Personally usually if a game is under $9.99 before sales I don't even bother unless someone recommends it to me, as past experience has taught me that games with a retail value under $9.99 are usually not that great of games.
 

Dezue

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@jkweath I totally agree with your 'X-Factor' sentiment. Standing out (visually and gameplay-wise) helps a lot when it comes to visibility and gives your game a kind of unique, recognisable character.
Basically, anwer the question 'Why should people play my game?' first and it'll be a lot easier afterwards.
 
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jkweath

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@jkweath I totally agree with your 'X-Factor' sentiment. Standing out (visually and gamepay-wise) helps a lot when it comes to visibility and gives your game a kind of unique, recognisable character.
Basically, anwer the question 'Why should people play my game?' first and it'll be a lot easier afterwards.
Right! A common thread I've noticed with every RPGM game that's sold poorly is that they have no X factor - there's nothing in the game's presentation or gameplay that excites the viewer or at least makes them feel interested.

X factor isn't just about making the game's store page prettier for viewers on Steam either. Part of releasing a commercial game usually involves contacting outlets, namely gaming websites, YouTubers and maybe streamers, to promote your game. You need a killer presentation to get any attention from content creators.

I'd go as far as to say there's no point in lamenting over the indie game apocalypse if the game you're trying to sell isn't marketable to begin with. For developers like the guy who made Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass, sure, I'd argue that the flood of games on Steam has probably cut into his sales, so I could see him/her struggling with that, but for the traditional "RPGM game that has less than 1000 installations" , there's probably something else going on besides too much competition.
 

Jhale M.

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I think the problem with games like "Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass" is demonstrated clearly from that title. These games try to be so sensory provoking/visceral/alien/horrific/miserable that they aren't for everyone and this ends up being the whole "sell" point of indie games as well as what we should expect from the best of them. I think what most of you guys are missing is that at the end of the day, a good RPG is like a good book with some gameplay dimensions to it. You don't need to have the most out-of-this-world visual design, theme or narrative for it to be a good game. It may be a fun and easy sale, but if it becomes the only thing that works, it is a show of low confidence in our own abilities. You can take a rather generiic fantasy setting and still sell it by having great story telling, improving how things work and trespassing long standing boundaries (like that sprite interaction thing). Game of Thrones is the type of story that shows this as it managed to be sold to so many people when for most of television history, a traditional medieval war fantasy would be a niche production or a flop and most stuff still uses sci-fi or anime-esque attributes to sell itself.

Much of indie games are just artistic and little else. The focus should be genuine and evocative work with clear effort put into it rather than being zany because it works. Chrono Trigger basically is one of the few games that mastered this. In fact, a lot of classic RPGs have been untouched on their concepts. Surely more people would be wanting a true Chrono Trigger successor/styled game than to "just go play Chrono Trigger" but as far as I know, there was only one game that really tried to pull the essence of Chrono Trigger and it was made with some of the minds behind Chrono Trigger. We have games such as Parasite Eve, Shin Megami Tensei, Final Fantasy VII/VIII and Mega Man Legends that people just haven't tried too hard to emulate and yet they feel like they always have to be original. If tons of first person shooters and stuff can still sell, how can making the second game that is like a certain game be doomed to fail?

And this is not even to mention how the games were often much more minimalistic than they could have been. There are so many what-ifs you could give on how a classic game could have been deeper and more well defined and have an actual complete atmosphere.
 

bgillisp

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The 2nd like a first can flop though. What can happen is a lot bought the 1st due to either word of mouth or rave reviews, but many of them honestly didn't like it. But since the internet kept saying it was good, they were like eh, I'm not going to speak out against it.

But...when the 2nd game comes out like the first, then all of those who didn't really like the 1st just give it a hard pass. And that hurts their sales, sometimes badly.

One example of this is Pillars of Eternity and Pillars of Eternity II. The devs said that sales of the 2nd were significantly below the first, and were unsure why. And I think myself it is honestly because Pillars of Eternity, at least to me, felt like a D and D ripoff with a poor story. So I had no incentive to buy Pillars of Eternity II, and odds are others felt the same way.
 

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Build social media presence, you can also join some groups to promote it.
 

Tamina

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And actually, many have been proven wrong when they say classical RPG are not popular. Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler are considered classical RPG's and they were massive successes.
As a long time JRPG fan I can share my thoughts about this particular genre. Most of the JRPG fans that I know of, including myself, don't play JRPG for it's game design nor mechanics, but we play for animeverse/art/character/stories. This genre has been around for 30 years, all the mechanics has been done many, many times, it's getting old.

There really isn't much to play with when it comes to turn based battle mechanics: Elemental weaknesses, Holy Trinity or formation system, job change, "break" system etc...all of them are being done by another JRPG game at least once, or maybe 20 times even. The only selling point left is pretty much just art/character/story/animeverse. Games like Tales series or Trails series strongly lean toward the taste of anime fans by putting large amount of effort on character focused writing. And they sell millions of copies.

If a game's target audiences are anime fans, then resource priority should be character art > character focused writing > other art > music. Characters are hearts and souls of the entire anime industry, thus on the highest priority. Using generic character assets or art done by not-so-professional artists on DeviantArt won't be appealing to fans of animeverse since characters are what we pay our money for. There are many subgroups within anime fandom. The artstyle and writing style has to match what this particular subgroup likes, because different anime fan likes different things that can be very specific.

This is part of reason why many AAA JRPG will hire popular manga artist/character illustrator to do character designs. Character design has always been a HUGE selling point in JRPG. See Dragon Quest(Akira Toriyama), Ni no Kuni (studio ghibli), Lost Odyssey (Takehiko Inoue), Disgaea(Takehito Harada). Those big name artists already have many fans liking their art, and their game world or even some of the game mechanics are pretty much built for their character art.

If your target audience is not anime fans and not going hentai, then developer needs to include different elements for that particular genre. Western RPG players tend to like open world, freedom of choice, skill trees and traits to pick, and seamless transition between battle and explorations. This kind of game can be tough to build well in RPGmaker. Alternatively it's possible aim for indie game fans who look for unconventional gaming experience, in that case your game has to look and play really, really differently from every other game. Games like Undertale or Lisa are such examples.

Advertising the game as "traditional JRPG" without the JRPG element that really matters (animeverse), will be tough, since many JRPG fans actually don't play JRPG because JRPG has awesome game design or something. I was interested in Octopath Traveler ONLY because there's 1 character that I liked.
 
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@Tamina well said, couldn't be more agree that i had to login to like your post
 

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