Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
As an independent developer, you're likely to have a very limited budget. Even entry-
level prices for PR agents are going to make your jaw drop to the floor. If that's the
case, walk away and get back to working on your game. Your gut reaction is correct.
Now, if you already have a game out there and it's presentable, and you've earned not
just money but also some influence with the people around you, things may be a little
different. Perhaps you have some money to spare, you've learned a lot from your first
game, your second one is even better, and you already have players waiting for it to
come out. Can you give it a boost with the help of professional PR? In this case it's
more likely.
If you take on the help of a PR agent, you should definitely try to find one who has a
track record of working for the game industry—preferably with independent game de-
velopers and the mobile games niche. They're not easy to find, so ask around. Using a
PR agent who isn't into game development is a waste of time and money—you need to
have PR with the ability to reach out to your game's target audience. But most of all,
the deciding factor should really be your game.
If you know you have something special, testers tell you so, and the game just looks
gorgeous, then investing a few thousand dollars in PR might be a good choice. The PR
agent will want game reviewers to write about your game and game development sites
to take notice of your special abilities. If these aren't clearly visible, professional PR
won't be able to make a big difference. PR works best if you can provide gorgeous
screenshots and an intriguing, funny, and captivating trailer movie.
How do you know if your game is something special? By asking the people who
wouldn't hesitate to tell you what they don't like. Family and friends are typically too
kind to provide the sometimes harsh criticism needed to improve a game. You should
ask on forums for private beta testers and provide them with an appetizer, which could
be a screenshot or a description of your game's special features, so that they'll be more
interested to try your game. How you deal with criticism and feature requests, and gen-
erally how you interact with your testers, is also a matter of PR. Dealing with user
feedback, and specifically criticism, is a vital skill you should hone as early as possible.
But who's to say you can't try for yourself first? There are press release services spe-
cifically for independent developers that cost a fraction of what a professional PR agent
would charge you. And writing a press release isn't that hard if you follow the rules.
The following press release services tap into exactly the right channels for game play-
ers and developers. The hottest candidates are the Indie Press Release Service, at
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