Have you ever stumbled across a Steam Store page, scrolled down to the 'About This Game' section, and found a real mess? More to the point, did you find it didn't really inspire you or tell you much about the game?
Could this scenario, perhaps, describe your Steam page? Do you consider the customers' experience by making sure you clearly communicate and properly structure your game's description? Maybe you don't know where to start, and you're confused about how much content you need to include. If so, don't worry, here are my tips on how to present this section. Let's make marketing simple.
1. About This Game Section
4. Images & GIFs
5. Key Features
6. Call to Community
This section is used to further describe your game, so make sure to tailor everything to your audience. This includes how many GIFs, how many bullet points, the reading level, the word complexity usage, and what's above the fold vs below the fold (‘read more‘ button). If a customer has arrived at this space, it means either your trailer, screenshots, or short description enticed them enough to scroll down and learn more, and that's a good thing because you've piqued their interest. At this point, customers want you to tell them why they should take the last leap and purchase your game, not talk them out of it. All you have to do now is make their choice easier by showing the right amount of information.
Let's talk about how much content you can include. If you add tons of GIFs, images, and text, part of your content will be placed after a ‘Read More' button. You have about 600 words to play with before that happens. Now, I'm not saying very engaged users will not click ‘Read More,' because they will, what I am saying is that it's also good practice to accommodate for people who may not click ‘Read More,' which is why I recommend including the best of what your game has to offer above the fold. Keep in mind, there is no one size fits all template. Every game is unique with its own personality. For example, your game's target audience may contain a younger demographic, which means your content might resonate better with multiple GIFs and less big words. Or it could be the complete opposite. In the end, it's beneficial to research and experiment what resonates best with your audience, and this can take time to find out.
The Overview section is where you'll briefly talk about your game. It's technically your second hook (your short description is your first, and that is where you would tell the reader the basic features about your game).
Here's an example of a Short Description for my completely made up up game:
"Sword of Vengeance is a tense, unforgiving and fast-paced third-person slasher with heavy rougelike elements. Play as an Angel in 1-4 player co-op and fight your way through the outskirts of Dagan's Hell." (I'll write some tips for this section in another blog).
As for the overview, you still want to explain what your game is about and include some unique selling points. But be careful to not oversell/promise something! Stick to the core mechanics your game actually offers. Typically, you want this copy to have flair, rather than being too technical or boring. To give you an example, I've written some copy:
Example 1 - Not Creative
"Sword of Vengeance is a 1-4 player co-op game where you play as an Angel. You must survive Dagan's Hell and figure out why you were put there in the first place."
(Again, this type of copy is effective for your 'Short Description' because it tells the customer what type of game they are looking at straight away. Feel free to be technical here).
Try to set a more compelling tone and show some personality to stand out from the crowd and pull the reader into your game's world.
Example 2 - Creative
"You are one of four Angels who mysteriously fell from Heaven, only to find yourself in the outskirts of Dagan's Hell. You must seek the truth and restore justice, before it's too late."
Hopefully, those examples give you an idea of the difference. Finally, don't copy text from your short description. Nobody wants to read the same thing twice, especially after being encouraged to scroll down for more information.
You've likely been told that placing GIFs in the About This Game section is a good idea, and while I definitely agree, you should keep some points in mind. Let's go through them.
GIFs with Purpose
Firstly, do not use the same image as your small capsule or footage from your trailer for your GIF. The customer doesn't want to see the same thing twice. GIFs can be very effective because they give life and motion to the About This Game section and allow you to highlight specific gameplay mechanics. They help the customer imagine what your game is about and can add a bit of creative flair. In a sense, using GIFs is almost like visual storytelling. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, keep the focus on what you wish to convey, rather than on the number of GIFs you use. (This same guideline also applies to images.) Less is sometimes more. Don't slap on a dozen GIFs simply for the sake of using GIFs. I realise copious GIFs are quite common, but following a trend isn't always the best option.
Lastly, there is some talk about how GIFs can serve as your second trailer. I agree with this notion to a certain extent, in that they can encourage the customer to make a final decision if you present them right. But what I don't agree with is using GIFs because your trailer isn't as strong as it should be. In that case, you should invest more time into learning the fundamentals of what makes an effective game trailer. Both GIF and trailer have clear objectives; make sure they fulfil their purpose well. (Derek Lieu has some fantastic tips regarding game trailers).
This discussion is aimed towards the 'About This Game sections that literally contain dozens of uninspiring and unorganized GIFs and images. You've probably seen these pages countless times, and they can be quite off-putting. If I just described your About This Game section, here's a reminder: not everyone is blessed with fast internet. I know you could argue that the number of people without fast internet is negligible, but not according to Valve. Here's what they had to say on the matter back in 2018:
"GIF's will render in the About This (Game, Software,Video...) section as well as in Special Announcement sections of the store page. As a reminder, please take care with the size of images you upload and display on your store page. Every image increases the time taken to load the page and could cause customers to abandon the visit. If we see a store page with a large load size (e.g. 15MB+), we may remove any animated GIF's to ensure users can actually visit your page."
You can read more about that here. My advice is to crop your GIFs and images appropriately to cut down their size, (ezgif.com is a convenient tool). It's also important to make your GIFs run at the highest frame rate (FPS) possible. If not, customers may think your gameplay is laggy, or that your Steam page is making them lag. In the end, Steam is a vast place with millions of users, so you would be wise to try and accommodate everyone by increasing the chances of your About This Game section loading optimally.
Next, make a concise list of features that best show off your game. Remember, features are features for a reason. If you have a massive list of them, then they stop being features. This list must be easy to read and contain creative copy. What parts of your game stand out? Try to make it sound intriguing; each word should have a desired effect. Here are some key features I whipped up for my fictional Sword of Vengeance game:
UNCOVER THE TRUTH, TOGETHER
"Find out why you fell from Heaven in a 1-4 player co-op as you fight your way through hordes of soulless creatures. Unravel puzzles and search for clues. Perhaps Dagan isn't the primary threat?"
"Players can choose between one of the four Swords of Vengeance, an ancient weapon equipped with dense skill trees, attributes, and attack combinations."
HELL IS RELENTLESS
"Fight dozens of monstrous and terrifying beasts armed with demonic artefacts and unholy relics. They will stop at nothing to destroy your soul. Find their weakness before they expose yours."
RECRUIT FALLEN ANGELS
"Free captured Angels who have been trapped in Dagan's hell for centuries. They want nothing but vengeance, and their unique skills are yours to command."
Please note: If you're creating a Steam store page from scratch, make sure to upload your Discord Image (external link) after your Steam page is approved. Otherwise, it may get flagged. If you don't wish to add an image like this, that's completely fine. The following advice describes how to get the most out of it should you decide to include one.
This is where you'll add your Call to Action, but I like to think of it as Call to Community. I recommend creating a Discord button because it gives interested players a chance to ask either you or your fanbase questions in real time. Should they join, they'll be able to tell how active your server is. Putting in the effort to interact with your players shows that you care and listen to your fans. Overall, Discord is a fantastic platform to champion your community.
As for tips concerning the image itself:
Make it a clickable link. Think about it - why should someone have to leave your store page and scour the web to find your game's Discord? That's not practical.
Always include this text within your design: "Click Here to Join." Seriously, if you don't make it obvious that people can join with a single click, many of them won't even bother trying and you'll potentially lose out on lots of new members.
To show you what the end result of everything I've discussed can look like, I've created a mock-up for the "Sword of Vengeance" About This Game section. In terms of content placement, your content doesn't have to be structured the way mine is. For example, you might prefer placing your GIF at the very top and the overview just underneath. Or maybe you want to show off multiple GIFs instead of one. Be as creative as you want and tailor it to your audience; you get the idea.
Next time you're browsing through Steam's endless catalogue of games, have a look at how developers design their About This Game section and ask yourself: "Could this be structured better? Is it telling me everything I want to know in a creative way?" I'm not saying my way is the deciding factor that will determine whether your game sells well or not. Many Steam store pages out there have different concepts and have sold thousands of copies. What I am saying is that your About This Game section might have room for improvement, and if you think it does ... what are you waiting for? It's time to clean up your Steam store page!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or drop me a tweet.