The need for marketing your VR game cannot be emphasized enough. Nobody is going to stumble upon your game without you doing some sort of promotion. While you can get some initial momentum going by launching your VR game at the right time, you will need to put in the extra effort to keep getting your game noticed. Here’s some tried-and-tested marketing tips for you.
I call Youtubers who specialize in showcasing games Gametubers.
They are your allies for getting hundreds to thousands (if you are VERY VERY VERY lucky, millions) of people out there to know about your VR game. Some of them come with a large subscription base comprising gamers interested in virtual reality games who may just become your customers if they see their favorite Gametuber do a fun play test of your game.
Increasingly, there are Gametubers like Nathie, JoshDub and NODE who specialize in playing VR games. You can find out who they are by doing a search on who has done a video on the popular VR games.
I would then compile a list of these Gametubers and write in to them separately with a polite request to do a play test video of your game. Now remember, Gametubers are gamers too and they want to know why they should play your VR game. Tell them what’s special about your game. Include a great screen shot and a link to your promo video. Let them know that you would be very happy to furnish a free Steam key or two to download your game.
And please treat them with courtesy and respect.
I have read game developers ranting online about Gametubers being snobbish because they are asking to be paid to play test a game. Personally I really don’t think that’s very fair on the developer’s part, considering the following.
1. Gametubers are very important members of the gaming ecosystem. Without them a lot of gamers would not get to see how our games look like in action. We should see them as friends and partners and accord them the credit they deserve.
2. Gametubers are exchanging their time to make videos of them playing games. If they treat it as a profession, then it is a job like any other. Unless it is of a voluntary basis, nobody wants to work for free. If they expect some gratuity for making a video, it’s really up to the developer and Gametuber to work something mutually beneficial out. There’s no need to get personal about it.
My personal experience is that I have very seldom met Gametubers who ask to get paid for doing a video. And when I do meet the occasional one who does, I follow my own advice and try to work out a deal with them. My rationale is that if I really want them to do a video that badly for me, I will try to work out a fair deal I can afford.
Getting word on your game out to relevant websites is important for getting eyeballs.
I have found a strong co-relation between an increase in sales and a mention on high traffic VR centric websites that VR gamers tend to visit. Hence it makes perfect sense for developers to try our best to reach out to editors and writers of these websites,
However these professionals are literally swamped with dozens of emails, tweets and Facebook messages asking for some sort of favor every single day. So we need to be mindful of a few things when approaching them.
Some writers focus on covering general VR news, some on VR hardware and gadgets and others on VR games. Obviously we should focus only on writers with a focus on covering VR games. Like my advice with the Gametubers – be polite and professional, be clear on the selling points of your game, include a couple of screen shots and a link to your game play video and probably include a Steam key to download your game.
Lastly, be clear on why you are approaching the writers. Are you telling them about your game launch? Are you giving them an exclusive on your game preview? Are you asking for a game play coverage? Are you telling them about a major update? Don’t be ambiguous and make them guess.
I do want to say that maintaining good press relations require a great deal of time, patience and good communications skills. If you don’t think you can handle this on your own, consider hiring a PR specialist or agency to help you out.
My only advice in hiring someone like that is to make sure that
- Write in to Gametubers to make play test videos on your game but don’t get personal if they want to get paid for their efforts. They are just people looking to make an honest living like you and me.
- You can try writing in to the press yourself, but if you are strapped for time or clueless about this, then hire an agency. But make sure that it is one with good credentials.
- VR arcades are a great avenue to let the public get to know about your game. Approach as many as possible to let them know about your game and cut deals to have your game be showcased there.
- If you can afford it, purchase ad spaces on the relevant VR centric websites to gain exposure and boost your sales.
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