Game Launch: Buzz & Hype

Buzz & Hype Campaign

The App Store gold rush has created immeasurable wealth for App developers. In 2013 the App Store generated $10 billion in App sales, 7 billion of which was paid out to Developers & Publishers!

Holy smokes batman, that’s a lot of cash… and a huge opportunity! So you go off, develop your own kick ass game and you’re nearing the finish line…

But then you realize, there’s millions of apps. Thousands added daily… and your app could float in revolving sea of nothingness… where it barely sees the light of day…

It’s daunting.

So what’s an app developer to do?

You need to be 10x more prepared, 10x more agile and 10x more committed than any other developer

Once you are in this mindset and are fully committed, you’re ready to start your marketing plan.

I advise every Developer or Publisher to break down their marketing plan into three stages.

3 Stages of your App Launch

  1. Buzz & Hype
  2. The First 48hrs
  3. The Last 12 days

If executed properly, you’ll significantly increase the odds of your games success!

This blog covers the 1st stage of your App Launch, the Hype & Buzz campaign.

Slate a Date.

Timing your launch is an important decision in the preparation process.
Mobilewalla speculates that Sunday is the best day to release an app because there’s less competition. According to the article, Wednesday is the most Popular release day among developers.

Make sure you don’t schedule your App release during Holiday weekend Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter!

Whichever day you choose, make sure its at least 2 or 3 weeks away so that you can prepare.

Action point: Set a date in stone.

Stage 1. Hype & Buzz Campaign

This stage is dedicated to building hype and buzz around your gaming app. Your goal is to build awareness in your network and generate inbound interest.

Targets: Reach 2,000 people. Hook at least 50 people. By “hook” I mean, generate interest / email / response.

So how do you build awareness? Leverage your Arsenal of Assets.

Social Media

Social Media

Do you have a social footprint? Do you maintain your accounts on a daily basis? Build relationships and connections with others who share similar interests. Make sure you focus with the big 4, which are twitter, facebook, linkedin, and google+.

Maybe even venture to an niche based social network and join the community! Forums are a great way to build strong relationships and establish your influence.

Actively post overlapping content on games, game development, and add personality to your profile. Seriously, give your online presence a voice!

Your objective here is to be interesting, informative, and provide value to others who might be listening to you. Build trust. Interact, engage and be genuine.

Posting motivational quotes won’t cut it, so put some time and effort into building a strong social base. This isn’t a numbers contest.

“It’s not about the size of your network, it’s about the shape of your network” @kylewaring

There are infinite amounts of people that share similar interests, learn how to find and share with them! These people will likely be your first downloads.

This goes without saying… but just in case, don’t spam your followers and network with links! This will never work. It’s just like real life, you wouldn’t walk up to someone and hand them a business card and leave… introduce yourself and communicate!

Action Point: Share at least 10 items with your network to build buzz over the course of the 2 days before launch.

Tips on what types of items to share:
- Game Trailer
- Game play demo
- Teaser images showing game play, cut scenes, or story line
- Write a dissertation on developing the game

Here are a couple of starter questions that you can use as a prompt

What were the biggest challenges building the game?
How did you persevere to complete the game?
What were the 3 most important lessons you learned developing the game?
How did you iterate and playtest your game?

  • Write a post-mortem
  • Share a presentation of your post-mortem at GDC, PAX or any other Gaming Conference

  • On a smaller scale, share a demo or presention you gave at a local game developer meetup!

The bottom line: Spend some time building and sharing content. If others find the content useful, informative, or entertaining… you scored!



Start a newsletter immediately. This will become your most valuable marketing tool further down the road. Don’t underestimate the value of Email. It’s powerful.

We highly recommend using Mailchimp, it’s free… but there are tons of other newsletter solutions like Campaign Monitor, Constant contact and

Already have a Newsletter? My my are we fancy… now let’s use it!

Action Points

  • Send out an email 1 or 2 days before the Apps official Launch date announcing “APP COMING TOMORROW”

Use special characters in your subject line to get more attention.

Here are some examples:
♣ ♠ ♥ ♦ ★ ✯ ✦ ✔ ❄ ™

Some special characters turn into icons on iOS, try these
✳ ♣ ♠ ♥ ♦ ★ ✯ ❄ ™

Try to give the subject line a nice punch. Excellent subject lines are short, definitive and give the reader something they want… which is a tip on a hot new game!

Game Trailer

Game Trailer & Demo

Take video footage of the game play. Identify action points in the game, and take focus on highlighting some of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. Whether that’s attacking and conquering an enemy fortress, or solving a complicated puzzle… capture it!

Action Points

Use Vine to create 1 or 2 well crafted 6 second loop videos. Share these with your network and hashtag them with relevant keywords. Be specific, but not too specific.

Take several videos of the game play, review the footage. Import into iMovie or other video editing software.

Find music. Absolutely critical. The music will determine the pace of your video. Ideal music will build up to a “drop” and will have the viewer elated… and ready to download your game!

Check out soundcloud, I listen to a lot of great music that you’re likely to get approval from the DJ to use in your video. Remixes and smaller DJs usually have no problem as long as you provide credit where credit is due, and Youtube will auto match the song if it’s popular enough.

Pro tip: Time your clips and video speed with the music!

Things to make sure you include when making your trailer:
- Date of App Launch
- Link in the description to your site + social accounts
- Branding on the video of your studio + link in description
- Persistent title of the Game / App on the entire video

Videos are a great marketing vehicle to get people talking about your game. They entice and tease those who are interested and are extremely viral elements in the buzz & hype game launch checklist.

Although preparing a Trailer is time consuming, it’s worth investing in. They can easily be used post-launch, and open up several new areas to gain players from!

If you’re not willing to invest the time into producing a trailer, it’s very easy to take video and upload it directly to youtube.

Having some video content is important when submitting your unreleased game to reviewers. Often times, reviewers gravitate to the videos of game play over play testing because it’s quicker to evaluate.

What are your thoughts? Do you think videos provide value to your Buzz & Hype campaign?

How do you approach marketing your videos after you’ve created them?

Regardless of what content you create, don’t feel pressured to only share this item once. Come up with creative ideas on promoting your content… which support your overall goal of driving app awareness.

Keep in mind that everyday compounds on the day before it. Build and maintain your Arsenal of Assets, and prepare adequate time for your launch.

If you follow these Buzz & Hype action points, you’ll be off to a strong start even before your app has launched… lining you up for successful 48hrs post app release!

Do you have tips on additional items that should be covered in this Buzz & Hype stage? Share it with your fellow game developers and write a comment below.

Game Store Launch!

We’re proud to announce a major addition to Game Brokerage!

The Game Store comes Friday May 16th!

What’s the Game Store?

The Game Store is a store for non-exclusive HTML 5 & Flash (sitelocks) Games!

Game Developers can upload HTML 5 or Flash games into the Game Store today! However, the Store will not go live for Publishers until Friday May 16th.

Take advantage of our booming markets to generate additional sales on your existing games!

If you have previously licensed your game exclusively, your game is not eligible for inclusion in the non-exclusive Game Store. Speak with a member of our staff if you are not sure if you’re game is eligible.

Why sell your game on our store? Our Publishers are looking for both exclusive & non-exclusive titles to add to their existing game portfolios.

Extend your games lifespan by earning more cash and increasing the number of players!

Are you a Publisher?

Publishers can easily buy non-exclusive licenses using our quick checkout process! Automatically co-ordinate your game preferences to the developer. This time saving feature will allow you to quickly license games by reducing the amount of work you’ll need to collaborate with the developer.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Tips & Tricks pt. 1

App Store Optimization Tips & Tricks

Whether your self-publishing your game or partnering with a Publisher, you’ll need to know a thing or two about ASO. App Store Optimization (ASO) is SEO for the App store. Don’t know what SEO is? Go read this wiki.

The ASO process starts by understanding how the App Store algorithms rank apps. What happens when you press that magic “release app” button?

It’s simple, in theory. The app store tests your app.

How? By matching you up against other apps recently released in your apps designated Primary Category.

The app store then tracks and calculates the performance of just about everything. From the number of installs, to reviews, down to the number of people who have scrolled through alternate screenshots!

In addition to this, the app store will try to understand the relevancy of your app based on keywords specified by definition & description.

There’s quite a lot of details in the process, but I’d like to focus Part 1 of the series, ASO Tips & Tricks: for launching a brand new app.

The ASO process and techniques can be refined, and each app should be maintained over time. Don’t let your app get stale on the market!

By the end of this post, you’ll be able to improve your games app store & play store rank by using these three fundamental ASO techniques.

Tip #1 Keyword Research

Tip #1 - Keyword Research

List out the top 10 keywords that you think make sense for your app. Then ask someone else to come up with an additional 5 keywords, preferably someone who is not involved in your project.

Do a live test these keywords. Type them into the app store and see what auto populates. Was there a better suggested keyword that might be more relevant?

The auto suggestions are based on volume of searches, so your goal here is to identify BIG keywords. Ideally, find keywords in the top 6 position after pressing just 2 or 3 letters.

Need clarification?

Here’s an example. If you have an infinite runner game, let’s test the keyword “infinite runner”

After pressing I-N

Infinite runner isn’t in the top of the list, but rather instagram, instasize, etc

Going 1 letter more, I-N-F… STILL doesn’t yield infinite runner, but rather infection, infinity blade, etc

So the conclusion on this particular keyword, is that there really isn’t enough volume to warrant targeting.

Instead, I’d look at “R-U” - and there’s a keyword in the top 6, Running Games.

Running Games is great candidate.

Go through this process with all 15 keywords, identify at least 3 “candidates” and narrow this down to 2 target keywords.

Tip #2 Keyword Targeting

Tip #2 - Keyword Targeting

App title & description. Once you’ve narrowed down your keyword list to 2, identify the primary & secondary keyword target.

The primary target keyword should be included into the App Title. The App title is ultra important in the app store(s) ecosystem.

Good titles are short. Great titles include keywords.

Try formatting your title with the following structure:

[App Name] - [Primary Keyword]

You can separate keywords using a comma or a dash (-) from the actual title of your app.

The first 25 characters are shown on the Charts, so try to keep the total length of your app name within this limit.

Once you have nailed down the perfect title, you’re ready to move onto developing your description.

Most developers who self publish don’t set aside enough time to write a strong description. Take your time to develop and perfect your apps description, it’s worth it!

Even once your App has launched, you’ll likely need to revise and freshen up the description once in awhile if you app goes flat.

How to start your description:

The first sentence should be your thesis statement. It’s the summary of your app that highlights the best parts. You want to keep the first sentence succinct, and to the point. Use your primary keyword in a different way than is used in the title. Make it plural, change its tense, or if its 2 words- switch up the order.

In the 2nd sentence, support your thesis statement and if possible, use your secondary keyword.

Do not waste the first 2 sentences with hype about being “the best game in the world” or with quotes. Also refrain from writing about how the app is free or discounted.

This will hurt your apps visibility, and you will lose out on the targeting power of the 1st and 2nd sentence.

It’s also best practice to include similar keywords to your primary and secondary keyword targets throughout your description.

Have between 10-14 sentences, grouped into multiple easy reading paragraphs.

Look over the keyword density, complexity factor (lexical density) and frequency of top words.

Adjust the frequency of certain words and improve your Readability (Gunning-Fox Index) which should be as close to 6 as possible (easy to read).

It should take you 1-2 days to really nail down a strong description. When writing, you want to take frequent breaks. This allows your brain to “cool down” and allows you to see the description in a different light, versus overworking it.

Again, don’t rush your description. It would be a waste of time developing an awesome game without giving some attention to writing a good description.

Tip #3 The Money Shot

Tip #3 - The Money Shot

The 1st screenshot in your listing needs to be the MONEY SHOT. This is the absolute best screenshot you have, coupled with optional text-overlay of your best feature or draw.

I’ve read recently (though I couldn’t find the source) that the highest CTR (click through rates) on web banners were WARM COLORS. Red, orange, yellow, so try to take advantage of the heat seekers. Catch a player by prioritizing a perfect- warm colored screenshot.

Important to note that when searching for your app on the store, the 1st screenshot to show up is the ONLY one to show up. Check for yourself!

This about wraps up the first checklist of our ASO series. Do you have any tips & tricks you’d like to share with the game dev community? Write us on twitter or in the comments!

If you found good insight and bookmarked this page, please share it so others can learn & grow their apps!

Don't get Snaked signing a Publishing deal

Tips Establishing Publishing Deals

When establishing a Publishing agreement, there are 2 major points Game Developers need to address immediately in negotiations. Don’t let slytherin [publishers] snake you.

1 - Exclusivity. Are you giving up the exclusive rights to your game, to X publisher? Does this agreement bind your game to the Publisher even if the app fails?

Many of the horror stories I hear from developers unhappy with their Publishers performance are locked into exclusive agreements. Meaning, they can’t pull the app down from the store and re-launch or re-brand.

Sometimes this often spills into the Android release… where developers have shot themselves in the foot by establishing multi-platform deals with halfhearted Publishers.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Establish individual platform deals. Diversify your odds of success by working with a few Publishers on each platform. If you piece out your game into each platform, you’re also positioned well to get the most competitive terms from the best platform specific publishers. Why? Platform Competition.

The point is, you’re taking on a challenging project — building games cross platform… and you should be taking advantage of every opportunity you can.

The next critical point you need to address when establishing a deal revolves around IP.

2 - Intellectual Property - Who owns it? As a developer you should retain your games IP. On the rare offshoot you get a BIG offer ($100k+) then maybe consider selling it.

IP is extremely valuable. There are longer term opportunities to establish a game series, or even merchandising. Take Rovio’s Angry Birds for example. In 2012 30% of Angry Birds revenue came from Merchandising. That’s millions of dollars. I wouldn’t be surprised if the breakdown was an even higher % in 2013.

What are the most critical aspects of establishing a Publishing deal for you?

  • Revenue share
  • Cross promotion capabilities
  • Advertising budget
  • Minimum guarantee on earnings
  • Publisher Prestige

Answer me on twitter where I’ll be actively responding (in english) & slap on #gamedev to your response.

Flash Games aren't dead!

Over the past few years, there’s been a negative “fog” around the Flash Game industry. From the emergence of mobile platforms, steam, and progression of consoles, flash gaming just isn’t what it used to be.

Sure, we all have heard the doom and gloom. Seen the writing on the wall. Even tried to mask it, does anyone else remember the slogan to Flash Gaming Summit 2013? I remember it, it went something like “Flash Gaming isn’t dead!”… or maybe it was exactly that.

Now with recent news of Mochi media closing it’s doors the negativity has a whole new resurgence.

It’s no longer “Flash is dying” but more along the lines of “Flash gaming is completely, utterly, and defenselessly dead” (is defenselessly even a word?).

Well I’m here to shed light on a dark day. To uplift developers, and to push the market forward! I believe that Flash games aren’t dead, but their niche in the gaming ecosphere has changed dramatically.

Flash is still a great platform to develop games for. Really? YES! Why’s that?

There are still millions of players and plenty of growth in emerging markets. In addition to this, barrier to entry is low and it’s relatively easy to market your game (compared to, lets say, mobile).

It’s a good platform for early-stage studios to test prototypes and build traction with their brand.

There are several examples of success stories. Ironhide leveraged Clash of Olympians to fund the development of Kingdom Rush. Once KR was finished, they released on flash & it was a massive success! (thanks Armor). This started a cult following of avid players that would go on to purchase the game on mobile platforms and propel Ironhide into a top developer spot on the app store.

Can it be done in this climate? Absolutely. Is it harder? Absolutely. Will I become rich? I don’t know (but I hope so).

Test a prototype on flash, find a good publisher to work with even if you aren’t getting rich off the deal.

Build your studios brand, create a mailing list and obviously have a website. Make sure you link your studio in preroll & credits.

Leverage the casual experience of flash games and short attention spans, and move mobile.

For those studios who already have previous releases, and a following… break down your game into 2 games.

1 flash game, with shortened game play lasting 15mins - 25mins
2 mobile game, with as much depth as you can possibly add… minimum of 3hrs of game play

There’s still merit to cross promotion from flash games to mobile. It’s all about the integration.

Suggested cross platform rules:
1) In the preloader or preroll, run a short 3-5 second cross promo splash
2) At the end of your game, make sure you link to the app
3) Give users INCENTIVE to download your mobile game

Give extra lives, boosters, powerups, upgrades, coins… basically anything intangible in game that would be irrefutable to players.

An easy way to do this is to provide a code at the end of the game, and a redeem location on the app’s title screen. This way not all mobile players will get the benefit, and the flash players are stoked because they get something from beating the flash version.

Flash Games aren’t dead, they are transitioning into great marketing vehicles for larger cross platform releases!

Development studios are evolving & diversifying. Gone are the days when studios could rely on Flash game income. Fortunately the tech to build cross platform is rapidly advancing!

Flash game developers in particular have a unique advantage to leverage the massive exposure of flash games and to build hype & buzz around their games release on alternative platforms.