Jacek Wyszyński (Pyramid Games): Marketing games is a difficult task. Build a community, grow a wishlist, and release devlogs

Currently, we have about 60 people on the team – that means pretty much every game genre is expert in us. We work in synergy under the eye of a passionate game designer, exchanging experiences, which allows us to find ourselves not only in various genres, but also themes. As a team, we started with smaller productions – in order to learn how to measure our strength and gain experience.

Such a project was, for example, Alter Cosmos (point’n’click adventure game) or Creativity in entrepreneurship (educational game). We are currently focusing on simulation games such as Dinosaur Fossil Hunter and survival games such as Occupy Mars: The Game. However, we have not abandoned our ideals and continue to oscillate around the themes of knowledge and science. We are also still developing our mobile games department, with which we started our adventure with gamedev.

Occupy Mars: The Game

As a studio, you have often created projects commissioned by publishers – how exactly does this process work and is it common in the gamdev industry?

We created and created. It’s a natural process in gamedev – very often because a given company has a vision, a game idea and the means to implement it. However, it lacks some necessary elements for development. This may be the availability of internal development teams, lack of time, lack of experience or qualified personnel.

We fill this gap by offering our services. We create games from A to Z. Sometimes we only have an idea, sometimes we get detailed guidelines on how the game should look. This is not an easy task, because such projects often last for several years. and are associated with frequent design changes during construction. However, we always try to make the effect satisfactory – both for the customer and for the players.

We also take care of outsourcing, for example graphic services. Any cooperation with outsourcers starts with discussions on the vision of the game, then preliminary work on the contract containing the necessary information on specifications, budget, regulations, etc.

After signing the contract, we create a detailed GDD (Game Design Document) and start working. For us, outsourcing is an “extra leg” on which our business rests, it allows us to expand our team and gives us more time for our own most important projects.

Now you are focusing heavily on Occupy Mars: The Game. Apparently the prologue you posted has been downloaded about 314,000 times. Recently, Mars is increasingly appearing in the entertainment world. The hearts of board gamers have been captured by Terraforma Mars and city builders by Surviving Mars. Who will your production be aimed at?

Yes, we are happy that the interest is at the expected level, we hope it will increase even more. The subject of colonization of the red planet has a lot of fans and this group is constantly growing. An uncertain future on Earth, the need for exploration, curiosity about the world – these are just some of the motivating factors to explore the subject.

We direct our game to anyone interested in possibly real and scientifically close knowledge of aspects of the origins of humanity on Mars. For us, it’s a lifelong passion that started while we were still in college. However, we do not close ourselves to other recipients, including those who are just beginning to familiarize themselves with this subject.

In our game, we try to balance realism with interesting gameplay, so we direct it not only to experts, but also to fans of sci-fi or survival and crafting games.

In one of the interviews I read that you are learning more about Mars through…your Discord. That is to say there are people on your server who are interested in the red planet. What does it look like exactly?

We learn about Mars from all available and reliable sources – but yes, our fans are a great source of information too! I mentioned once that we had a SpaceX employee on our Discord. We also have paleontologists who help us learn not only about Mars, but other things as well.

With such a multitude of people from all over the world, with different work and life experiences as well as diverse passions, we learn something new almost every day. Sometimes we gather information from chats, sometimes from linked sources. And sometimes someone who professionally deals with the subject, for example, dinosaurs or rovers, offers a consultation.

Speaking of Discord, do you use it to collect feedback from your players and build a community?

Discord is a very valuable tool for us, both for collecting feedback, building a community, collecting information, as well as for organizing events, contests and solving problems. Very often, players who have encountered a problem contact us on this messenger, where they can get help not only from us, but also from our community.

Most questions asked by players are answered by the players themselves. We also have a group of most loyal fans that we call VIPs. These are people who help us in beta testing games, who are a great help in testing the game “through the eyes of the player”.

Have you adopted the tactic of publishing game prologues? Are these just demos? Why are you doing this ? Purely marketing objectives?

Showing a game clip helps us in many ways. The key is that we can check how they like the game on a large audience. Thanks to demos and prologues, we can capture elements of the game that need to be changed before the premiere. Will it be adding a tutorial, changing a mechanic or improving performance.

This avoids a situation where we have to quickly improve important aspects after the premiere. Another advantage is that we can – thanks to player reports – verify the functioning of the product on a larger group of recipients. And so – more hardware configurations. The release of a demo also helps boost the popularity of the game, also allowing players to see that the game is growing and not just a blank map on Steam.

Not all stages of development can be shown well in player information, and the demo or prologue gives tangible proof of our work. Prologues, unlike the demo version, have a separate tab on Steam where players can write reviews the same way they would for the full game. This allows you to more accurately gauge their moods.

Some time ago you signed a contract with writer Marcin Sergiusz Przybyłek, the author of Slayer CEO. Are you going to publish a game set in the Przybyłek universe? The title sounds pretty cyberpunk.

Yes, we are very excited about this project. As soon as I read the novel, I was sure it was the perfect game material. The entire production will be done in close collaboration with the author of the universe, which will help us reflect the cyberpunk atmosphere of the created reality.

I can promise you there will be genre-specific elements. We have finished our first trailer, but we want to show it at the right time. This production will take a few more years, and currently our players are mainly waiting for Occupy Mars and Dinosaur Fossil Hunter.

How is the game marketed? What is most important in this aspect?

Marketing in the gaming industry is a very difficult task. This requires hard work, often several years, throughout the development period of the game. Building a community, caring for organic wishlist growth, constantly providing players with devlogs with “battlefield” on the progress of the game. The players are the most important. We focus on their engagement at different levels, listening to their opinions and continuous contact.

The impact of materials released on social media, our messengers or on Steam cannot be overstated – it’s how we show players that the projects are alive and worth paying attention to. We also organize streams, participate in various types of events and cross-promote our productions with other games.

Most importantly, we strive for the best quality and as many players as possible on the day of the premiere to reach the main page of the sales platform and ensure optimal visibility for a potential customer.

When preparing marketing campaigns, do you act alone or in collaboration with advertising agencies?

We do a lot ourselves. We create marketing materials, trailers, advertisements, social media posts and devlogs ourselves. Sometimes, more often on the occasion of premieres, we rely on agencies to send our material to a wider audience. We also put a lot of effort into mutually promoting games with games from other teams.

One of your titles – Farming Life – appeared on the Australian Warner Bros series, “Love Me”. How did your game come to this? Pure coincidence or your marketing activity?

agricultural life

I think our marketing efforts helped Farming Life get noticed. In December the production manager contacted us, after brief arrangements we agreed to pitch the game. We hope to see an even more positive marketing impact from this decision when the show hits screens outside of Australia. .

You have been a listed company on the NewConnect stock exchange for about a year and a half. Has this stock market appearance considerably influenced your marketing and communication activities?

Marketing has always been key for us in the case of games, of course we had several aspects to “marketing”. However, communication directed to players and communication to investors are distinctly different.

Even the communication that we prepare for players is completely different from that which is addressed directly to investors. Through game devlogs and ongoing communication on social media, we reach out to our players and target investors with video recordings with investor relations, newsletters or specialist articles.

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