How do I publish my own game? Marketing is full of pitfalls

Anyone in the room getting ready to release their own game? The question is primarily for people who don’t work in major studios, but rather operate in the independent sector. I know from my own experience that preparing for the premiere can be tiring. And sometimes even burn a man.

Stress begins, errors suddenly appear, often critical, then suddenly someone asks about marketing. That’s right, promotion, marketing, player acquisition. Difficult subjects. Usually left at the end, which is a mistake in itself. Currently, it is considered standard to grow the community from the moment the page is published on Steam. It’s no coincidence that Discord is so popular.

How do I publish my own game?

This is where players potentially interested in the game gather. You may even be tempted and some closed tests to check the first playable version and check if it is addictive. It’s a good base, especially when it’s planned to release a demo. What also – fortunately! – is gradually becoming a standard. After years of more or less closed betas, the demos are making a comeback. But such a truncated version is not a cure-all. This is absolutely no guarantee that tens of thousands of clients will appear by the time of release. Marketing is still needed here. It has become an inseparable part of gamedev, especially at a time when the market is so saturated. I don’t mean, just the motive! PCs and consoles are also full of firsts for users to choose from.


That’s why I decided to take a look. I approached it as always, which is to say I took a look at where they hang out. This is how I found interesting threads on reddit and went through them. You might as well confront your beliefs with what people write.

I focused mainly on indie games. Result? Well, the answers rarely include “big” names or widely understood influencers. It’s quite a difficult subject. Especially when looking at these collaborations in terms of conversion. People are drawn to the name, but don’t necessarily come to watch the game. They are more interested in listening to the man they want to see. At the same time, the comments often featured Twitter accounts belonging to specific creators. They’re closest to the game they’re working on, but the NDA may be preventing them from sharing their progress with the world. Interestingly, official accounts from game development companies do not enjoy similar popularity. This is interesting because there are many brands on the market focused on the independent sector. For me it is interesting because it points to the sector India continues to be associated with an individual strongly involved in the creative process.

And Steam? It has also been mentioned several times. The following discoveries have proven to be an endless source of headlines for some to check out. Oddly enough, there were references to curator and publisher websites on Steam in the comments. Personally, I almost never go there.

Therefore, it surprised me. Much smaller than pointing to documents on Youtube and articles in the Internet press. There was not a word on Instagram or Facebook. This may be due to the specificity of the product, which is a video game, which has a page on Steam. Adding it to the wishlist requires logging into your own account, which can be tricky if you’re using the app on your phone. You have to save the link somewhere, enter it on another device, there are a lot of steps here where a potential customer can drop. It is undeniable that we consume a lot of content in the day, so some can escape us. This applies to all social media promotions.

Regardless of the direction taken by this or that independent studio, I rarely see the use of UTM. And Steam makes it possible! It is worth using for several reasons.

It allows you to track interest in specific campaigns. This greatly facilitates cost control. It goes without saying that marketing is not just about mindlessly burning money. You still have to know which fire to light. This is why further segmentation can be so useful, for example adding a parameter to verify support. This can be useful especially when using different social media and when buying advertising from influencers. These are just a few examples! I encourage you to use UTMs on Steam, as they allow you to easily verify the conversion. Not only that related to visits, but also to sales, which greatly facilitates the definition and control of marketing budgets.

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