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  • The Simplest Trailer To Make For Your Steam Page

    [05.06.21]
    - Derek Lieu
  • If you're a first time or hobbyist developer, Chris Zukowski from HowToMarketAGame.com recommends you make your Steam page as soon as possible. This is backed up by an official recommendation by Valve. According to their data, the longer the page is up, the higher the week-1 sales number will be above the median. But one of the sticking points for making a store page is the trailer; this is the one thing everyone says is the MOST IMPORTANT marketing asset.

    No pressure, right? 

    This post is my advice for making a Minimum Viable Product (or MVP) Steam trailer just so you have a video on your store page when you put it up. You could think of it as a glorified animated GIF. I want to caveat by saying this advice is for first time and/or hobbyist game devs with little to no following who would likely release a trailer social media and YouTube to no fanfare. 

    This isn't advice for veteran game devs or people who have a following and/or expectations. When you already have visibility, coming out with a minimal trailer could make it look like the announcement isn't a big deal. The way you treat your announcement can affect how we receive it. Imagine if Netflix announced a new show with some random clips of raw, unfinished footage; it would feel really weird. But if you have no following, no expectations and no visibility, launching a Steam page with an MVP trailer should work just fine since it's meant to serve people who randomly stumble upon your page via Steam.

    The Wonderful 101 Screenshot
    This is ONE article where I'll tell you to leave the HUD and UI ON

    By the way, this advice is specifically for a trailer which ONLY lives on your Steam page, not for a big announcement to make on YouTube, social media, etc. Steam is THE way people search for games on PC; that is why you want your game to be on there as soon as possible with a trailer, good capsule art, some screenshots, well chosen tags, and a good description. 

    So what does an MVP Steam trailer look like? Based on Chris' user research where he watched browsing habits of Steam users, it's all about gameplay. A lot of people treat the trailer on the Steam page as a receptacle for moving images from the game; they'll literally click through the progress bar to get a sampling of moving images so they can determine a few things:

    • What is the genre?
    • Is the art appealing?
    • Is it the sort of game I like?

    Like I said earlier, a MVP Steam trailer is basically a glorified animated GIF (though honestly, if the user never turns the sound on, then it's functionally the same as a GIF, except it has the top position on the page.) Based on the questions people have when they arrive on the Steam page, here are my guidelines for your MVP Steam trailer:

    • Show the game loop
    • Show variety
    • HUD/UI should be turned ON
    • Make each shot clear and easy to understand
    • No logos or cinematic shots with no player interaction


    Show the player DOING stuff as much as possible!

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