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Marketing & Sales for Video Games and Game Jam Kickoff - May 14 @ 2PM ET - Live from Epic HQ

WHAT
Getting ready to ship and looking for advice to spread the news? Wondering what you can be doing now to get yourself noticed? Sr. Marketing Manager Dana Cowley returns to the livestream (we know you’ve all missed her!) along with Head of Licensing, Americas Joe Kreiner and Marketing Manager Amber Sharif to talk about game sales, business negotiations, advertising, and how to market your team and game.

WHEN
Thursday, May. 14 @ 2PM ET - Countdown]

WHERE
www.twitch.tv/unrealengine

WHO
Chance Ivey - Community Manager - @iveytron](http://twitter.com/iveytron)
Dana Cowley - Sr. Marketing Manager - @danacowley](https://twitter.com/danacowley)
Joe Kreiner - Head of Licensing, America - @joekreiner](https://twitter.com/joekreiner)
Amber Sharif - Marketing Manager

Questions? Let’s hear 'em :slight_smile:

Edit: The YouTube archive is now available here](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbvQ-wFTba4)

I don’t think that countdown link is accurate, at least not for me. It’s counting up instead of down.
5 days
143 hours
8580 minutes
514817 seconds

I have no clue what you’re talking about… :cool:

Thanks for the catch, @Tekoppar.

Look forward to seeing everyone soon!

Cheers,
Dana

Oh that’s sneaky Chance.

[QUESTION] When should you start marketing your project? I’ve heard people say anywhere from the moment you’ve got a project to when you have a demo or a trailer to show off.

Hi Chance / Dana,
Sounds interesting… Are you open to accepting questions…?

#1. Market Flooding:
The good news is UE4 is free / The bad news is UE4 is free… With the democratization of game engines like UE4 / Unity, the games market stands to become flooded with ‘low-hanging-fruit’ from India to China and other developing countries. This onslaught may be accompanied by extra-loud-digital-marketing and perhaps even more manipulation of Voting / Ratings systems to artificially boost sales (Flappy birds). Does Epic offer any strategies to tackle all of this noise?

#2. Procedural Everything leaves more time for Marketing:
Games that have unique selling points may rise above the noise, for example games that utilize Procedural Game Design like No Man’s Sky etc. Does Epic see the merits of Procedural Everything for small teams trying to compete with larger studios? Because if Indie Teams can build quality games quicker, there’s more time leftover for marketing… But we’d need to see more Procedural elements in UE4 like Dynamic Landscaping etc. What’s the odds of that happening?

This is a very good question.

[Question] What’s the best way to balance self promotions and marketing tactics without exposing too much of our games or events that take place in the game. As indies we are at a huge disadvantage and in order to get followers and people interested in our game we have to consistently be promoting new development of the games progress, features, events etc. Being transparent during development is good but it can also be harmful.

I would say there are a ton of quality motion graphics artists / video production people here. If you need some help with creating marketing videos, reach out in the help wanted.

A website that I found extremely useful is http://www.videocopilot.net

Hey everyone, please keep the questions coming.

It helps to see them here first so we can start teeing up recommendations ahead of time and more thoughtfully consider the challenges you’re facing.

We’ll cover as much as we can on the stream tomorrow. Happy to go over an hour!

How to market to people without direct buying power?

For example, a kickstarter or steam campaign might be virtually useless if a game appeals to elementary or middle school crowds. Larger companies that have a proven history, capital and cash flow can reach out to TV, cartoon networks, etc. that connect with the younger crowd. But on a bootstrap budget, this seems unrealistic.

It’s not uncommon for indie devs to build games for their kids or nieces/nephews, but have difficulty with game exposure beyond word of mouth or local communities.

Chance / Dana
Thanks for responding to the question about “noise”… Any chance I can get Epic’s thoughts about this too:-

#2. Procedural Everything leaves more time for Marketing:
Games that have unique selling points may rise above the noise, for example games that utilize Procedural Game Design like No Man’s Sky etc. Does Epic see the merits of Procedural Everything for small teams trying to compete with larger studios? Because if Indie Teams can build quality games quicker, there’s more time leftover for marketing… But we’d need to see more Procedural elements in UE4 like Dynamic Landscaping etc. What’s the odds of that happening?

Here are my notes from before the stream, steam of consciousness style:

Start smart

Incorporate early
Memorable name

  • “Not 3 16 year olds in a garage” or “Wekindasuck.com
  • Epic Mega Games! (It was just Tim!)
    Clean, simple logo
  • Think about one color printing
  • Being easily sized
  • Have a vector version that can be modified for print, web, etc.
  • Should not look like a Heavy Metal band logo from 80’s (it was cool when you were 14)
  • Focus test it with friends and family!
    Have a business plan EARLY
  • understand the $ needed to go to market (dev cost + PR + marketing + operations)
  • budget for marketing
  • Don’t “hope it works out”, cause it won’t

Marketing 101

Community, Community, Community
Forums, Twitter, Twitch, Youtube, Facebook, etc

  • go where your community is! do everything, see what gets the best response
    Instagram is taking off, some folks are experimenting with Snapchat and Periscope
    Build a game personality, or in marketing speak “A Brand”
  • Talk about what that means
    Look at what other successful indies have done
  • Torn Banner, Tripwire, Coffee Stain
    Identify your most active community members
  • consider hiring them, or giving special access

Finish Smart

Target the best platform for your kind of title

  • console is an open market (no barriers!), not enough content right now!
  • mobile scary
  • Steam crowded, but rewarding
    Kickstarter is a great marketing tool. Terrible funding source.
  • If your Kickstarter fails, it should tell you the market doesn’t want your game. (Yes, it’s that brutal.)
  • If any of your are out there with the sole plan of using Kickstarter to fund the entire dev budget of your title - there is a high likelyhood of failure.
  • If I don’t know you, or your IP - Kickstarter probably not a good idea.
    Steam Early Access can be a great way to earn a little $ to bridge the gap to launch. It also can be a great marketing tool.
    Treat both of the above as product launch - with huge effort in marketing/awareness/push
    Lean on partners for help! Epic, nVidia, ID@Xbox, Sony, Apple, Google, Amazon, Logitech, Razor all have opportunities to leverage for marketing/tradeshow presence/contests/etc
  • Sony is being particularly friendly to indie devs! PS Plus opportunities!
    Go to tradeshows. Raises visibility + gets you in front of the press. PAX, Indiecade, etc. Yes, it’s expensive.
    Youtube/Twitch reviewers(players?) are worth their weight in gold, try to get one excited about your game.
    Focus on a platform at launch, but if success - have a plan to port to everything else. Build a long term income stream to fund future activities
    Have a plan for post launch regular, frequent updates. Each update = more sales.
    Watch your metrics.
  • A slow rise in # of players is actually good, will hit momentum at some point. (SMITE is a great example.)
  • Know when to walk away.
    There are some small publishers that can help with marketing/PR (and some funds). 505 Games, VS. Evil, Sierra Online, etc. May be right for you, may not.

Making the game is the easy part. Don’t discount good marketing/PR/biz dev!

Joe Kreiner
Engine Licensing for the Americas
Epic Games
joe.kreiner@epicgames.com
@joekreiner