Marketing an indie title

Who am I?
My name is Peter Norberg and I’m one half of the indie studio Hellhound Interactive. We are currently preparing to launch our indie title Rising Empires, and being the one responsible for our marketing strategy I’ve been forced to learn a lot about how to market an indie title. This is my attempt at writing down my experiences so far during this process.

At the end of this article you will find links to some of the articles and websites that have helped me along the way. There’s many more but I‘ll try to keep the list reasonably short.

Marketing an indie title
Many people believe that creating a good game is enough to ensure success and good reviews. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Having a good game is, of course, essential but if no one knows about it how are they going to write reviews or buy it? The common advice is that you should spend time marketing the game equal to at least 25-50 % of the time it took making it.

We have been working on Rising Empires for 2.5 years now, so does that mean we should spend more than one year on marketing? Yes and no. We decided to start creating a buzz about Rising Empires very early and then talk, write, blog about the game regularly until we launch it. In one way you could say that this article is another way of promoting Rising Empires, even though it’s intended to give some insights into how to market an indie title with Rising Empires as an example. Why not take advantage of the opportunity?

Research
When you have decided it’s time to start writing about your new shiny indie game you need to know where. You should spend a couple of long sessions googling for sites that could be interested in your game. When I searched for forums where I could write about Rising Empires I started out searching for general Android forums, like Everything Android. Most of these forums have a category where you can make announcements or write about your game.

But I also searched for general programming sites, like GameDev.net, or sites focusing on java since Android apps are written in java. It’s very likely that there are members at these forums who are also interested in your project, if nothing else for the fact that they also program games.

Then I started looking for game sites, specifically sites focusing on mobile gaming and/or strategy games. An example of a very good strategy site is Wargamer.com.

One site we have received lots of play testers from is Reddit. There are several subreddits dedicated towards 4x games, Android games, indie games and so forth. Be sure to follow all the rules of each subreddit (and all of the forums you post in) to avoid being banned. So far I’ve only been banned from two sites.

You should never stop searching for new forums and sites that might be interested in your game. There are plenty of them out there and even if you think you have covered them all you probably haven’t.