Promotion Indie Games on Steam Greenlight

    Hello! Our team is now going through an important stage in the development of any game developer - the first launch of the game on Steam Greenlight. While I was preparing material for this article, our game entered the TOP-100 projects on Greenlight, scored almost 2,000 votes in favor, and after 12 days received a green light.

    In this article I want to share the information that I “dug” in the process of preparing for Greenlight, and also try to analyze which promotion hypotheses worked and which paths turned out to be dead ends. We hope this information will be useful and someone will be added to your favorites.

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    Our team of 5 people has been working on the game for a little over a year, and we decided that the game is ready somewhere at 47%. Thanks to the AppCampus program, we released the game in early access on Windows Phone (where 1.5 episodes are ready). And while the work on the content to the remaining levels is in full swing, it was decided to simultaneously launch Steam Greenlight in order to go through all the formalities from Valve in advance, get a green light and begin to build relationships with our potential players on Steam.

    The moral preparation was the study of materials that describe the specifics of entering the site:

    But the most interesting was the study of the stories of other developers who have already passed Greenlight and shared their unique experience, thoughts and specific figures for their games. Thank you so much for that.

    Articles have been written for 2 years, and you can follow them to see how the requirements for projects have changed and Greenlight itself has transformed.
    ProjectReceiving green lightVotes ForPros / Cons RatioNumber of daysOriginal article
    Legends of eisenwald2013_05_174715855% / 45%154Legends of Eisenwald. A Brief History of Greenlight.
    After reset RPG2013_11_ ??872683% / 17%5After Reset RPG. Kickstarter Reboot Preparations.
    Metal war online2014_01_0818000??% / ??%??Getting Green Light at GreenLight: Tips and Tricks
    CATDAMMIT! Director's Cat2014_02_051188848% / 49%54CATDAMMIT! Director's Cat. We have been Greenlit! And here are our stats!
    Guild of dungeoneering2014_05_14840450% / 47%36Getting Your Game Greenlit In 2014
    Warside2015_05_14620548% / 51%43Warside Steam Greenlight: from application to upgrade.
    Steam squad2014_06_0810,00049% / 51%106Steam Squad. Some useful Steam notes.
    The masterplan2014_06_24780067% / 30%9The Masterplan. Sailing through Steam Greenlight in 9 days.
    Train valley2014_08_201079059% / 41%21Train Valley has been Greenlit!
    Sumoman2014_12_30466754% / 45%89Sumoman: Steam Greenlight Game Release History
    35MM2015_01_08513384% / 16%535 MM: How to make a game for Steam alone?
    Vhs story2015_01_29354869% / 28%5VHS Story. How to get greenlit in 5 days.
    Turnon2015_04_12195449% / 45%12
    As you can see from these stories, over time, less and less votes are needed in Greenlight to get green light. This is due to the fact that the site itself has brought very little traffic and projects need to make extra efforts to attract votes.

    Moreover, there is a huge problem with Steam links:
    1. Typically, a link to a project is opened in a browser;
    2. To log into your Steam account from a browser, you almost always need to enter a verification code that is sent to your email;
    3. After entering the verification code, the person usually flips to the Steam main page;
    4. The search on the Steam main page only works for released projects, for projects located in Greenlight, a separate section has been selected “Communities” -> “Greenlight” ;
    5. The project can be found by searching or in the “New Projects” section (now the situation is such that the project disappears from the first page in just 1.5 days, on day 9 our project was already on page 5).

    Those. a person with all the desire to vote for a project so simply will not work, and how to deal with it is not yet clear to us ...

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    So, the most interesting part, which is described in almost all previous stories, is creating a project page on Greenlight. What did we do:
    1. Created an account for our team;
    2. They bought the opportunity to publish their project - this is a special position in a store called “Steam Greenlight Submission Fee” worth 3200 rubles. For colleagues from other countries, the Greenlight pass price is $ 100 (as with Steam, price indexation did not happen due to currency fluctuations - which is good news);
    3. Prepared videos on YouTube, screenshots, beautiful design and description of the project, etc.
    4. They set up Google Analytics in the profile to see where people come to our page from;
    5. We added the whole team to the "Creators", registered all the links to our social media, just in case we created a Steam group for the game - although we still did not understand how this would help us =)
    6. We launched the page in free swimming.

    After launch, the project will hang in the “new” category for a couple of days and will sometimes appear among users in the “Voting List”. But as practice shows (from the experience of other projects), it gives votes, but they are not enough, and there are no illusions about the fact that Steam will bring us the right number of people to vote, and without any effort we will get a green light, we don’t It was.

    Useful Services

    1. Bit.ly Service - allows you to create and personalize short links. The service shows full analytics - where and how many times they clicked on this link. It is very useful to know when you have to evaluate the effectiveness of a post;
    2. Sidekick service - allows you to add an add-on to the browser and receive real-time notifications about whether the message was opened by the recipient, what links he went in the letter, what kind of social activity the recipient shows, a kind of social spy. When you send out press releases to reporters, it’s very useful to know if your letter was opened or not.

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    Как завещал Галёнкин в своей книге , первое, что можно бесплатно сделать для продвижения игры — это завести свои группы в разных соц. сетях. В нашем случае мы развиваем свой сайт, группу VK, страницу в Facebook, иногда пишем в Twitter, выгружаем фотографии в Instagram, выкладываем видео на VIMEO и YouTube, даже есть страница на Google Plus, но я чего-то не разобрался в интерфейсе…

    Свои площадки — это хорошо, но по умолчанию там никого не будет, кроме ваших друзей, и как туда привлекать своё комьюнити — это тема для отдельной статьи, которую мы может быть напишем, когда наберём больше опыта.

    The next sites for us were platforms where you can create a page or forum thread for your project, in which you can publish information related to the game and its development. With due regard to these resources, new people will come to you from there, and if they like your project, they can vote for you.
    TitleLinkFeatures
    Indiedbhttp://www.indiedb.com/In my opinion, the most popular site for indie developers. Almost all projects here have their own page, and we were no exception.

    If your project has interesting news, then publishing it in your game, after checking by the moderators, you can easily get to the main page with news, which will give you free traffic.

    Moreover, if the project on the site conducts various activities (publishes interesting news, uploads new screenshots, videos, etc.) and remains in the top 100, the site administration can begin to promote it, as well as add it to the most popular collection of projects on Steam Greenlight .
    Gamesjamhttp://gamesjam.org/A wonderful site on which various game jams are regularly held. Register your project there and even participate in one of them, what could be better?
    Kanobuhttp://kanobu.ru/There is a pub on Kanobu where you can discuss various topics with players, including your game =)
    Gamasutrahttp://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/It is possible to write your own articles on various aspects of game development. If the content of the article is sufficiently original and interesting, the article gets promotion from the editorial office, which will give you free traffic.
    Unity Forum - Works In Progresshttp://forum.unity3d.com/forums/works-in-progress.34/If the game is on Unity and you have information and secrets that you want to share with other Unity developers, you can create a page on the official forum and regularly update it with relevant information. It is important to read the rules of the "Works In Progress" section .
    Game Bloghttp://gamin.me/A simple blog about games where you can write your article.
    Gamedev.nethttp://www.gamedev.net/A fairly large forum on game development. If you have relevant information for this site, then it’s not a sin to write an article there or create a discussion.
    Tigsourcehttp://www.tigsource.com/A community of independent game developers and players. There is a forum and the ability to write articles about your game.
    Video Game Bloghttp://gamer.livejournal.com/For fans of the good old LJ, one of the popular blogs about the game. There are not many audiences, but she is responsive.
    Community D3https://games.d3.ru/No one forbids writing an interesting post on your article in a branch related to game development.

    We still do not have the opportunity to post a demo version of our game, so these resources did not suit us - but they say that they help in promoting indie games:
    TitleLinkFeatures
    Alfa Beta Gamerhttp://www.alphabetagamer.com/The catalog of indie games, it is possible to lay out a demo and test it on users.
    Gamejolthttp://gamejolt.com/Like Alfa Beta Gamer, you can upload a demo and receive feedback on the project.
    Itch.iohttp://itch.io/Another very good catalog with demos and full games for sale.
    Desurahttp://www.desura.com/There is an opportunity to put up an indie game for sale. The interface is similar to IndieDB.

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    Large public about games that publish your information in the form of advertising and for money:

    Large VK public
    TitleFollowersLinkCost of 1 post
    Igm2700khttps://vk.com/onlinegamer20,000 rubles
    Gamer968khttps://vk.com/playtoplay1200 rubles
    Gamers500khttps://vk.com/gameri1000 rubles
    Games390khttps://vk.com/games1700 rubles
    Live In Game | Games217khttps://vk.com/livein_game500 rubles
    Gamer | Best games200khttps://vk.com/i.dplay300 rubles
    Typical gamer160khttps://vk.com/tips_gamers450 rubles
    Gameplay160khttps://vk.com/vk.game300 rubles
    Igromir140khttps://vk.com/game.space600 rubles
    Gamer105khttps://vk.com/gamer_blog400 rubles
    Steam games90khttps://vk.com/s_games200 rubles
    Gamer | Gamer90khttps://vk.com/forever_gamers250 rubles

    We decided to test our hypotheses and buy several posts in such public places (with a total audience reach of just over 1 million people) and got a result close to 0. For us, the effect was mainly given to small groups specializing in indie games, which we just wrote:

    Indie Game Groups
    TitleFollowersLink
    Games - Games47khttps://vk.com/unity3dgames
    INDI GAMES | INDIE GAMES11khttps://vk.com/world_of_indie
    ★. ★. INDI GAMES | INDIE GAMES. ★. ★8khttps://vk.com/indie_games
    NERDY YETIS | DEVELOPING INDI GAMES5700https://vk.com/nerdyyetis
    Game Developers Academy | gamedev Unity Indie4500https://vk.com/gdacademy
    Games jam1300https://vk.com/gamesjam
    - Indie Games - Indie Games1200https://vk.com/indie_games_group
    IndieGO and All-All-All940https://vk.com/misterwoodoo
    Indie Games - Indie Games600https://vk.com/indie.art.games

    But the most effective was the publication in the public of Igromania, and we just asked to tell about our project, and the entry appeared in the public absolutely free, for which we are very grateful to the editorial staff.
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    Facebook perfectly monetizes itself and constantly offers to pay him for advertising, but we decided to go the way of the samurai and try to master the site without financial injections. Having learned a lesson from VK that the number of people in a group, as a rule, does not indicate the effectiveness of posts, we began to look at pages about indie games that can help us.

    The groups where we managed to publish and we got the result and clicks on the links:

    Groups with their own rules that publish only relevant content after moderation:

    It seemed to us that in FB it is many times more difficult to gain likes and subscribers for your page, so it is important to work with every user who is active. Like - add as friend. At what instantly (fb notifications to help). They asked a question - to answer as quickly as possible, praised the game, art, thank you. All who have added as friends are invited to like this page. In his tape regularly write about the development, diluted with personal posts. People learn a lot from your stream and become interested in the studio itself.
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    We run Twitter in English and try to use relevant hash tags when tweeting about game development. Popular hashtags related to game development:
    #gamedev #indiedev #videogame #gamedesign # unity3d #screenshotsaturday #conceptart #gameart #screenshot #art #igdev #pixelart, etc.

    Usually, these hash tags look for interesting information, and there are also robot accounts that do automatic retweets, and because of this, you have new subscribers.

    We also recommend that you look at http://playfield.io/ , a portal aggregator of tweets related to game development.

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    In conclusion, I want to add that there is also a gaming press that can help promote your game. They say that major publications make materials (previews, reviews, interviews, etc.) for free, but provided that you tried and made a very cool, original game that you want to write about =)

    We have not grown to this level yet, but we have prepared for ourselves a list of those publications on which we want to see materials on our projects.



    Useful links that helped us:
    1. http://www.pixelprospector.com/ - Useful instructions for promoting indie (lists of forums, sites, etc.);
    2. http://videogamejournaliser.com/ - List of sites writing about Indy;
    3. http://videogamecaster.com/big-list-of-youtubers - a directory of all letpleplayers;
    4. http://youtubers.brightside-games.com/ - another directory of all letpleplayers.

    PS In the article I did not have time to consider the portals that write about mobile games (iOS, Android, Windows Store) - maybe this will be the material for the next article. But while there is excellent material - Mobile PR: 160 sites where they can write about your game.

    If you have links to resources that could potentially help promote the game and were not mentioned in this article - write in the comments, I will sometimes update this article. We will be glad if this article is useful to someone.

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