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  • Publishing 101: When To Partner With A Game Publisher

    [08.30.18]
    - David Logan

  • Community

    Social media and community management are important aspects to any successful game launch. A publisher can help you determine which social platforms your game studio and title should be present on and which kind of content you should be showcasing on each of the channels.

    Community Management

    • A publisher can teach you how to properly engage with your community to retain users.

      • Often this means promptly answering questions and providing regular updates about the game.

    • A publisher is able to leverage their existing communities and introduce them to your title, which will further grow your audience.

    • The more engagement there is about your game, the more visible it is to others outside of your community as well.

    Social Media

    Social media can be a tough medium to navigate through. It is a valuable tool for digital marketing since you can reach hundreds if not thousands of people if a post goes viral, but it also can be a platform for negative sentiment that you have to manage. Proper knowledge of what is appropriate to post on each platform, valuable and engaging content, and responding can elevate the visibility of a game.

    • Facebook prefers users to stay on their platforms and users tend to enjoy video and photo over text content. This is where big announcements should be made.

    • Instagram is a large hub for photos and great to show off concept art, development, and screenshots.

    • Twitter is where updates big and small should be made. It is also the best platform to directly engage with users on.

    With social media, it is important to note that it should not be just about advertising your game for sales, but a big emphasis should be on building and engaging your audience and answering questions or comments to develop a better sense of community.

    Events

    • Game trade shows, conventions, and events are a great way to bring awareness to your game, but you need a proper plan in place.

    • Often the major takeaways of conventions are receiving player feedback, bringing press by to see the game in person, and building your mailing list.

    • A good publisher will book you a solid press schedule, and set up ways to grow your mailing list - with easy signups and giveaways which will incentivize attendees.

    • Events can be expensive if representing a single title, but often publishers will have pre-existing space that they will use to showcase your title

      • A publisher can also take care of the booth set up, getting the swag manufactured, and arrange for the development team's accommodations including flight, hotel, badges, and meals.

    • Presentation is everything, and your publisher should try to find ways to best showcase your title, to be attractive to attendees walking by.

    • The Walking Dead at E3 had zombie actors that effectively spooked a lot of people walking by, which was great for the awareness of the booth as well as social media buzz of people taking pictures and videos with the zombies.

    When a Publisher Isn't the Right Fit

    Retaining full revenue, creative control, and IP ownership is a huge perk for not having a publisher. These are the most common reasons you wouldn't want to use a publisher, and would be better off yourself.

    Your Team has the Necessary Skills

    The point when you don't need a publisher, is when you're able to accomplish what they can offer on your own. To successfully pull off self-publishing, you should be setup with the following:

    • A large and engaged audience - which may come from conventions, past games you've developed, or even came naturally from social posts you make. You want to make sure you have a following already to make sure your game is as visible as possible.

    • Social posts you create get get picked up, shared, and talked about frequently.

    • Established press and influencer connections, or large press and influencers that approach you on their own to write about your game. You will want to be able to reach out and follow up frequently. It is also a good idea to meet in person when possible to keep a strong relationship.

    Your Team has the Necessary Financing

    An alternative would be if you have the financial backing to where you could partner with teams to fill in the gaps for the services you can't provide. Common services you can partner with for would be:

    • Marketing

    • Porting

    • Localization

    • QA

    Of course, if you go through the entire pitch process and do not find a publisher that is the right fit for you, that doesn't mean your game won't succeed. Often a game with a small release on one platform can gain momentum and become more attractive to publishers later.

    Stay tuned for our next article on game publishing - "How do You Find the Best Game Publisher for Yourself?"

    If you have any lingering questions, or feel I missed something, let us know on our social media @AkuparaGames on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Discord!

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