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Right off the plate I should mention that the headline refers to a “How To” guide from Gamasutra. They had a rather interesting and very detailed, written conspectus for how independent developers on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich budget can market their game to games media so that games media can do what they do best and advertorialize the game to the masses.
Gamasutra's Mike Rose has a very nifty breakdown of all sorts of ways and tips to get the attention of the big boys... the Kotakus and the Rock, Paper, Shotguns... the IGNs, the Gamespots and the Polygons. There is a process to getting noticed and the article – a written transcript of a speech Rose gave at GDC Europe – breaks down exactly how to go about pitching and selling your game to games media.
Now as we all know, the Doritocracy owns games media. Is your title an AAA shooter with some Hollywood voice acting and a by-the-books story with explosions, shiny muscles and a few boobs tossed into the marketing campaign at some point? Well you don't need to worry about getting promotion for your game, it'll be all over N4G in no time.
Do you have an accent and you're selling an idea that will “Change the world”, while simulataneously coming off sequels of undeserving praise? No probs, you don't need to worry because your game will be on the front page of the top selling video game magazine regardless.
Do you have a game starring some compelling macho guy sporting a Tom Selleck-sized mustache that oozes enough testosterone that he gets women pregnant just by looking at them? Or maybe your game stars a female protagonist with a gritty hard-boiled story, where her character embodies enough strength to impregnate men? Well, then don't worry, your game will be all over Reddit in no time.
Are you peddling a $100 million dollar idea with graphics from 2005 while using a demo that yells “next-gen”? Just tell the Doritocracy how much the pre-order figurines will cost and you'll be featured in Gnews' tech section from a hundred plus websites just about every other week.
For everyone else out there not bribing games journalists with Doritos and Mountain Dew like this dandy fop below...
You'll have to actually work at getting your game some decent coverage... and by work, I mean force the lazy bums who call themselves “games journalists” off their wide bottoms and get the Doritotine patch off their arm. Once you manage that terrible feat then maybe you can get them to start writing about your game, which may or may not be the second coming of something spawned from the uterus of awesome.
Rose, however, has some pretty straightforward tips for indie devs to get the attention of games media, including personalizing e-mails with names. According to Rose, no one likes being e-mail bombed with some generic “Hey everybody”... like this guy...
If you can get past the painstaking process of personalizing each and every e-mail, you then have to be able to tell a compelling story, something that makes game journalists feel like it's worth covering over the 42nd pack of DLC for an annual shooter where you can purchase the ability to block users who have penis emblems plastered all over their gun for only $5.
Rose goes on to explain that not only do you need to know how to pitch and personalize your own self-marketing tactics to get your game out there, you also need to build connections. Get personal, chat up the cargo-pants cultured journalist, find out what flavor of Doritos keeps their belly filled and what sort of Mountain Dew keeps their urine tract from ever being clean. Heck, offering to buy them Mountain Dew or Doritos could be the make or break moment for getting your game featured on the front page of a website that's not quite Japanese... but it's close enough.
Rose offers some detailed statistics, survey information and helpful tips and hints for getting your indie game covered on major (and minor) gaming sites. You can check out the rest of article over on Gamasutra. I imagine anyone trying to sell their indie game will probably want to check it out at the very least.
As for any indie dev that feels the need to let us know about your game, just drop us line... no need to get all formal.