Monday, September 08, 2014

Gridiron Solitaire #121: Marketing

1.2 was released Thursday afternoon, and the response has been very positive. Difficulty was reduced on Rookie level, plus a custom difficulty option was added, and that should make it possible for everyone to find the right degree of difficulty for them.

I made a mistake in putting 1.1 together. I wanted to make the game more realistic--and I did--but I also inadvertently made it less playable for some people. Bad move. So with 1.2, the high degree of realism is still there for people who want it, but for the non-hardcore players, it's much more accessible.

Plus, the new changes and features are a nice addition. Goal line stands are much more possible now, presentation has been improved with the halftime/end of game "TV style" box score, and the new team museum is interactive and absolutely full of information.

There are still a few minor things I'd like to do (adding selectable weather profiles when a user changes a default team name, for one), but essentially, the game is complete. It's done. Instead of building out content, I'll be doing maintenance updates to fix all reported bugs, and really, the number of bugs is very small.

So let's turn our attention to marketing.

Quite a few of you e-mailed me since the game launched and wanted information on the marketing process, but hell, I had no information to give you, because I wasn't actually marketing the game.

Well, that's changing now.

GS is a unique game, and it has extremely long-term play value. Instead of making a game to fit a certain market, I just made the game I really, really wanted to play. In any kind of economic sense, this was insanity, but I also have an affection and commitment to the game that I wouldn't have otherwise. So even though I really don't like the marketing aspect--at all--I'm going to work at this. Hard.

Here's the order I'm going to work with:
1. YouTubers
I know how popular and important YouTube is for getting a game attention. And I have a terrific list of just about everyone (thank you, Brightside Games), but I don't want to spam these guys. So here's a request: if any of you have watched a YouTube gaming channel and remember seeing them talk about sports games, would you please let me know?

The list has about 500 channels, and I'm going through them and seeing if any of the posted videos refer to sports, but it's going to be slow going.

2. Gaming websites
I'm not exactly sure how to do this, but I figure a polite e-mail asking for consideration, along with a Steam code, can't hurt. Plus there are a few sites I've read for years (like IndieGames and Jay Is Games), so I do have a few in mind to start with.

3. Advertising
I'm not going to do much of this, but there are a few places (like Football Outsiders) that have very inexpensive advertising rates. It won't cost much (under $500) to do a few test ads and see if anything happens.

Here's the cold, hard reality about marketing, and I wish someone had explained this to me: I have to be as methodical and patient about marketing the game as I was about making it. It could take years to develop a sizable player base.

On my side, though, the game isn't time-dependent in terms of content. Nothing will be obsolete six months from now.

Also on my side is that I am very, very patient.

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