The Game Dev’s Guide to the Best Game Launch
by Game Marketing Genie, on 28-Jul-2022 11:36:58
You’re making a new game and have a date set for its launch. But you’re still one step behind - you must consider your game launch marketing strategy!
You should think about this process well before the game is launched or even complete. However, many game devs don’t realize this and start their marketing too late - meaning they fail to get the awareness they need to succeed.
So, where should you start? Our guide will set you on the right path, so strap yourself in and learn what you need to do to launch your game correctly.
- Your beginner’s checklist
- Mastering the pre-launch phase
- Early access marketing
- Your multichannel marketing plan
- Conquering content
- Building hype
- Launching on Steam
- Getting wishlists on Steam
- Launching on Epic
- Steam vs. Epic
- Launching on the Nintendo Switch
Your beginner’s checklist
The perfect strategy can be hard to come by, but great marketing efforts back up great games, so you must make sure you make it count.
If you’re a developer with several marketing channels to choose from, you quickly become confused when designing your game marketing strategy. After all, knowing how to create a good game marketing strategy is one thing, but knowing exactly what you need to do is another. Putting a great plan together with the right assets, understanding, and ideas is your formula for success.
A great way to ensure that you stay on track is to follow a checklist that tells you what you’ll need to consider. This will help you stay on top of your goals and timelines, heighten your brand’s power in your industry, and employ the best marketing methods that are set to work wonders for you.
Our blog, The 20 Item Game Dev Marketing Checklist, has a list of opportunities that you can (and should) consider for your latest game marketing strategy.
Mastering the pre-launch phase
If you’re thinking of beginning marketing for your game when it’s launched, you’re thinking too far into the future! Why? Because the truth is that an excellent game launch strategy starts well before the game is set (or even ready) to release. If you’re preparing to launch a game in the next six months and haven’t already started generating a buzz for it, then it’s time to get started!. Essentially, if it is playable, that’s when you should begin.
Ignore the people who tell you it’s fine to begin a week from launch. By starting early, you’ll get ahead of the competition and be able to ensure that as your game scales in quality and structure, so does your marketing!
Find out the answer to the question “What Do You Need to Consider in Your Game’s Pre-Launch Phase?”
Early access marketing
Early access is something we see a lot of these days. Many of these games are tentative releases by smaller gaming studios, and some are just not ready for the market. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start marketing them! You might have more opportunities to convert if your game is in this early stage.
From exclusive community sneak peeks, awesome early access deals, and unique content formats, there are a lot of ways that game devs can master early access marketing. But be warned, you’ve got to do it right as your early access period can be the make or break phase.
Get your game off the ground with our article that tells you How To Market An Early Access Game.
Your multichannel marketing plan
Your game is well on its way, and you’ve considered your marketing approach. You’re going to post a bit on Instagram and maybe publish a trailer or two on YouTube. Hey, you might even do some paid marketing where you can. But that’s not going to cut it if you want to succeed.
Why? Because there are thousands of games out there. Many of these games are from competitors trying to get your audience to play their game instead. This means you need a comprehensive game launch strategy that requires a lot more than just a few posts on your Facebook page every other day.
Don’t get left behind! Boost your reach with our guide: Making a Multichannel Marketing Plan for Your Game Launch.
Good content is one of the most important things you’ll need across all your marketing channels. Engaging content is your number one tool to draw in new players.
From character bios, backstories, and lore to stories about your business and why you’re creating your game, content is your best opportunity to engage your audience. The key here is making it attractive. You’ll need to consider a lot to make your content marketing strategy a success. This includes:
- How to get your content to your audience
- What platforms they frequent
- What they want to hear about
- How to make it interesting
- What types of content they’d like to see
And remember - what works for your competitors won’t necessarily work for you. You need a customized content plan that directly relates to your players.
This is why we’ve written a couple of articles that will help you start thinking about how to create or optimize your content marketing plan. Read more here:
- The Relevance of Content Marketing for a Successful Video Game Launch
- 10 Content Marketing Strategies for Your Game Launch
Another critical factor of a successful game launch is how much you can get people to start talking about it. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get your story out there, and you (usually) only get one chance to launch your game, so you’ve got to make it count.
This is crucial as a strong launch will increase your initial downloads and in-game purchases drastically post-launch, whereas a weak one will throw your game into the sea of unplayed games. You don’t want this to happen as it is almost impossible to get out.
Learn more about our top tips for generating hype in Video Game Marketing: How to Build Hype for a Product Launch.
Launching on Steam
Steam is the most popular video gaming catalog on the market. As such, it is no surprise that it is a competitive marketplace.
So, what does this mean for you? It's easy - putting your game up on Steam and waiting for people to find it is not enough to succeed. The marketing process may seem complicated, but it doesn't need to be. You can use many different Steam game marketing strategies to help your game achieve higher heights.
However, remember that what works for others may not work for you. You must alter and adjust your marketing strategies to suit your game, audience, and goals.
So, if you're looking to get started and already have an idea of what you need to do, we've got the strategies for you! Get them all in 7 Marketing Tips and Tricks to Launching Your Video Game on Steam.
You’ll also need to make sure that your Steam page looks good. Why? Because your page here is a store page - it’s got to sell! It should be appealing, engaging, and optimized to attract customers.
Like we said before, Steam is the most competitive gaming marketplace available. Most of the games that hit Steam never get a profitable return. This is why it is crucial (and we cannot stress this enough) that your landing page captures your players’ attention.
Find out more in How to Create a Steam Page for Your Video Game That Sells.
Getting wishlists on Steam
Steam wishlists are a crucial tracking tool for devs whose game is not launched yet (or in early access). Your number of wishlists is great way for you and Steam itself to determine your game's potential following.
They function not only as a messaging system for potential buyers, alerting them to updates and your launch, but also as a way for Steam to rank your game in its tier lists — which is important when it comes to visibility.
So, why not get your potential players' vote of approval with 5 Things Game Devs MUST Do to Get More Steam Wishlists?
Launching on Epic
Another great contender in the PC gaming marketplace is the Epic Games Store. As a game dev, we have no doubt that you’ve heard of it! Famous for titles like Fortnite, Epic is a big player in the PC gaming market because of its competitive advantages.
But don’t take our word for it! This platform is growing daily, and with its massive benefits for players, including frequent sales and even free games every two weeks, you can reap the rewards of many features.
Get all the facts in 6 Amazing Reasons To Launch a Game on Epic Games.
Or find out how to get your game off the ground on Epic in The Best Practices to Create a Winning Epic Games Marketing Strategy!
Steam vs. Epic
You already know that you’ve got a lot of places you can launch your game. Perhaps you’re going console-specific or on mobile, but if you’re launching on PC, you’ll probably consider the big two platforms.
But which is best for you? Well, there are a lot of questions you’ll need to answer beforehand, including:
- What type of games will you be up against?
- Where does your audience spend their time?
- What store or layout features do you need?
- What social features do you need?
- What revenue split are you ready to settle for when compared to other benefits?
Answer all these and more here in Steam Vs. Epic Games – Pros and Cons of Both Game Launchers.
Launching on the Nintendo Switch
So, you’re launching on the Nintendo Switch - an e-store flooded with new, affordable games every day. How do you get your game to stand out?
Mastering your listing, audience understanding, and offerings are just part of the puzzle. If you want to get your game onto a featured list and ensure that it appears towards the top of the Nintendo eShop’s listings, you’ll need to have a deeper understanding of how to launch a game and what the Switch can offer you.
Get your Switch-specific info here: How to Launch and Market Your New Nintendo Switch Game.
So, what’s next for your video game launch?
Ready to launch? Still not there yet? Doesn’t matter where you are, our game marketing legends can come up with a custom strategy for you!
Chat with the team at Game Marketing Genie to get your game launch campaign ready today with our customized strategies that get results every time.