The right timing for marketing / social media presence?

sugarcr4sh

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One of the threads below ("The Importance of Marketing") made me realize that I need to put some proper thought into building hype around my game before release, even if it's months away. But how soon do you start spreading the word about your game? I don't want to message let's players or journalists too early but I also have like... zero frame of reference! :kaodes:
 

KawaiiKid

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Even if it's months away.
It's going to take more than just a few months to build any kind of following. How many twitter followers do you have to start with, or youtube subs? How many people are in your mailing list, or how many people have downloaded and reviewed your demo on itch.io?

If you can't answer any of these questions without a reasonable number, I'm afraid you're putting the cart in front of the horse my friend.
 

sugarcr4sh

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It's going to take more than just a few months to build any kind of following. How many twitter followers do you have to start with, or youtube subs? How many people are in your mailing :kaoswt2:list, or how many people have downloaded and reviewed your demo on itch.io?

If you can't answer any of these questions without a reasonable number, I'm afraid you're putting the cart in front of the horse my friend.
ack there's not much of a twitter following since I'm pretty bad with social media TT__TT also I meant game demo, not the full game -- I would definitely be in trouble if I was releasing all of it with no heads up! <--(has made that same mistake before :kaoswt2:

Good point though! I didn't even think about a mailing list ^^;;
 

Andar

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I need to put some proper thought into building hype around my game before release
and actually your first thought should be about whether you want to hype your game or not.

While the big companies need to hype their games to break even on their costs, the disadvantages of hyping mean that a lot of smaller companies and independent developers never bother to try hyping their products.

Just one example: a hype can't be continued eternally - best negative example for that is Duke Nuk'em with a ten or twenty year long hype that ended in a desperate low-quality game to try to get something from the licence.
When you start advertising, you need to be able to have a reasonable timetable for the completion of the game. That is easy for big companies - not only because they have more experience, but also because they cn hire more people if the timetable gets a hickup.
For smaller and independent developers that is much more difficult to guarantee - especially if it is your first game and you have never experienced the slog that is bughunting and quality control after the game is "finished" but before it is ready for release.

Then there is the cost of advertising if it is to be done right - do you really want to waste that money if the development gets problematic?
There is no free hyping - even if you don't use paid advertisement you would still need to put worktime into it, and that time gets removed from your development time unless you hire someone to hype for you (see money).
 

sugarcr4sh

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and actually your first thought should be about whether you want to hype your game or not.

While the big companies need to hype their games to break even on their costs, the disadvantages of hyping mean that a lot of smaller companies and independent developers never bother to try hyping their products.
Good point! Looks like I'll have to do some more research. I also feel like big companies hyping their games are a bit more well received, since the company name automatically carries weight with their playerbase. Ex: I bought Astral Chain because it was made by Platinum games and I liked Bayonetta, but ended up dropping Astral Chain as a game itself
 

Zalzany

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Following unless you got it already takes time. Like I want may 2023 release and I am procrastinating hard on doing the last touches of my store page for "comming soon" status on steam. But I got old FB group with like 200 followers, and Company page with 3 lol. Goal is once I got a link to start FB "boost" ad campaigns for it. I know I won't get followers over night. Like I donating plasma to pay for all this lol. I do 70 bucks a donation now, so once I get approved I want 30-50 buck teaser on FB I expect maybe 2k views at best 8k if some how it does good from that and with esitmates from FB ad service projections. Like 200 is my goal for wish list or follow. Estimate is 120-1k will click the link in the boosted post then they got like what they see and hit wishlist and or follow lol. I don't expect one add to rule them all. But do like 3 of these by may 2023 and hope for 200 sales but cross fingers for 1k.

Like this is gonna be long haul I am gonna have to build a following from complete scratch. This why publishers are nice just really hard to find a good one for non adult RPGM game lol. There is great ones for that with like 270k followers on steam lol. But if your here you not doing that so you got have almost zero followers, and not many publishers wanting to touch you with over like 10k followers lol. But if you look at any big seller on steam they been in "Comming Soon" for long time. Like last one I got that sold like hot cakes was Honey I joined a Cult it was on steam comming soon for over a year, so they were really suprised on day one the sales, its like yeah I cam across that a year ago and check in on it once ever 6 months so when it emailed me saying its out in EA I didn't even blink clicked link in email and add to cart lol
Just like Stardew Valley it was lowkey on greenlight program before EA program for a long time, not sure how long but it spread by word of mouth and people linking to it going "look harvest moon on pc!" And people went "OMG why does this not exist yet!" And guy on day one sold so many copies he was millionair on paper after first weekend telling people "listen I don't get paid till next months still my bank account is still low I would love to hire people to port this and make MP but I got wait till I get the money from steam!"

Like I don't expect that insanity level I want to sell 1k copies of my game one day. So dropping some plasma cash on FB adds if that works I still need something to get attention is gonna be stupid slow, and not cheap. Just google ads is option. Otherwise out it you can still do ok. Like I did some videos of VR on youtube put it on FB got 900 views with no boost and only 2 followers on day one. Eneded up with just shy of 200 people, but I had to put out 6 videos each one not topping 1.2k views "organically" Meanwhile my youtube has 20 followers and that is with links in description or comments with the video clips with hundreds of views lol. I got 2 that over 1k hits, rest are lucky they get 200 in a year views lol

Its way harder to start from scratch. But FB has metabuisness crap to learn how to market, they do free "courses" to get certfied and it is very much a full time job or at min part time to do marketing. I got no damn job on VA disabilty so I can worry about responding to comments fast if I get any, but I still get noticed and easiest option pay facebook to shove me on peoples news wall lol Most people here that isn't a viable option. But a ton of it is knowing your taget groups. 18-60+ on FB has worse results then me telling it 18-40. its eaiser for it to target, and if my tags and genre apeal more to that group success odds go up. If I market to 40-60 for instance the demo for that is casual games yes many will play action and RPG, but they got stronger market for puzzle games and casual stuff lol.

Like my professor had a link to some group who does reports on the market, they are really vague unless you pay money for detailed info. But it showed in survies for 2021, gaming was up go figure covid made that happen, and like 11% increase from 2020 in people over 40 said they like gaming now. Then like it was 70% of the 40-+ range said they liked causal stuff, like candy crush and puzzle games like that. My mother loves those games and is in her 50s for instance, and now she got a nicer smartphone can play on her phone in doctors office or at home on pc that is stupid old lol.

And Metbuisness does tell you with your tages the % of market who likes it, and its insane because its facebook and they got tons of data. Like both facebook and that one study group thing said about 60% of gamers are female now. That is big deal as most assume less play. But its also including crossword puzzles, candy crush and every thing else. But its still a market its why female protag exists on steam its a viable market and that tag can increase sales more then RPG lol. Like this is kind of stuff I am talking about that makes marketing a full time job or at min part time. I mean back in day a charactor blog was great tool you make blog based on char from you game you think will be popular I seen people do this with twitter, hell one adult game has a Onlyfans page for a fictional charactor in their game lol. But those don't give the returns that they use to when new lol

This is why big companies "leak" games early and they got people they hire just to manage their social media accounts. Like every one with decent income a year who can afford it. You see click bait for stuff from celebs some of those are them some of those are paid ghostwriters who just make posts on their behalf. Same with funny Wendy's offical posts and stuff, that isn't some one at main HQ with 6 figure job its some one who probally runs like 3 other socail media accounts if not more being told they can do that, and encouraged to do it working from home probally.

Like I love that stuff see people on game FB sites or twitter for decent size companies complaining, and all they can do is "I can foward this to some one in the company." Because there not in the office, there not the head dev like some people think its some some making salary not hourly who runs their FB Twitter, and instagram page. Maybe their steam pages too as moderator lol.
 
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Ellenor

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As early as you can!
Got some concept art? Show it! new sprites? Show it! Gameplay update? Show it!

Unless you have someone to boost your post it takes time to get followers, expect a slow increase until you reach 1000.
 

TheAM-Dol

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Marketing is tough, it requires 100% hardwork, and your success is going to be based 70% on dumb luck. Unless you have a massive marketing budget behind you (which I am certain you don't) marketing really comes down to networking and planning ahead...way, way ahead.
I wish I could tell you the winning formula, but my last album wasn't exactly a chart topper, and the album before that one performed even worse. We don't talk about the music that I did before those albums (but I will say the Vocaloid community certainly liked them)

My current mission is just to try to get a few extra sales - not reaching for the stars, let alone the sky, just trying to reach for the hill in my backyard. My strategy has been to be active on Youtube.
As I discussed in my "RPG Maker Has A Terrible Reputation" thread, RPG Maker as a topic really is performing well on Youtube recently. And by "as a topic" I mean things that are discussing things surrounding the engine, but not necessarily things built in the engine. Talking about it's reputation, it's legacy & history, or even giving a commentary on your thoughts on the engine sort of fit this role. However, no one really cares about reviews, devlogs, or playthroughs of RPG Maker - so these types of content perform poorly.
You can use this strategy (as I have) to try to grow some ever green content and mix it in with devstreams & playthroughs (yes they underperform, but an active channel is better than a dead channel, so under-performing videos is better than no videos - at least for a small, growing channel) to hopefully grow some marginal interest in your game over time. I've been expiramenting over the past few months to see what drives the highest click-through impressions on my channel. Hard to make definitive answers right now, probably need another 2 months of data, but it seems like including "RPG Maker" in the title helps a bit. You can read the wrap-up (my last post) in the "RPG Maker Has A Terrible Reputation" thread for some insight on video performance (although the information is not up to date, some of the stats are performing even better than what my final report states)
I would keep a list of contacts of people you think might be interested too. Once release day hits - or even a week or so before - start emailing those folks. If you can't spend money directly, then you can "spend money" by giving away free copies. Give streamers & reviewers keys, host a give away on the forums or somewhere that might see it, and maybe go hang out in front of your local game store and harass strangers with your download code (I'm only slightly joking)

If you are interested, partnerships always benefits growth, as we can both mutually benefit from a partnership, so if you have ideas for RPG Maker or RPG game topics, I'd be willing to collaborate on a video. I hope to do one big video similar to "RPG Maker Has A Terrible Reputation" every 6 weeks or so. If you are interested let me know. I've been reaching out to other users about possible video ideas *cough* @Arthran *cough* The production behind these things takes a long time, so the sooner we can start the better.
 

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