Part II of our series focuses on Steam, the App Store, and Google Play. These platforms play a huge role in the distribution of your indie game. As such, we felt it was only natural to spend a few words and discuss how they should be used!
Consider this: your Steam Page – as well as any other download screens – are your games’ and company’s business card. These assets are the first that a potential buyer will come in contact with. Publishing clear and professional content won’t take much of your time, but can radically boost your chances to succeed!
Extremely Ruthless Competition
A couple of months ago, we analyzed how the death of Steam Greenlight made it easier for developers to publish their games. While original submissions continue to dwindle, lack of proper policing also opened the floodgates. Hundreds of pieces of shovelware, built solely to make a quick buck, soon began pouring onto the store. With so much to choose from, there’s no guarantee that your product gets the attention it deserves.
Aside from marketing efforts and a touch of luck, other details also weight on how many copies you’re going to sell. Among these, picking the right name for your game is still the most important thing you should do. Lucky for you, we already spent plenty of words on names and independent developers in the past. If you feel like getting educated, you can check that article here.
Alternatively, Here’s a Brief Summary!
- Steer Clear of Overused Words: terms such as battle, adventure, and quest will return a whole lot of results. Since these are sorted by popularity, a new game is unlikely to make it to the top!
- Be Original but Easy to Remember: kind of obvious. You’ll want your fans to both talk about the game and get attracted to it.
- Get to Know your Niche First: names are more than just a bunch of funny words. The moniker you’ll use for your creation is going to indirectly describe it. You should go with something that recalls the main concepts behind your game. When in doubt, ask fellow devs, friends, and your own community for opinions!
Spending so much time on names might sound counterproductive at first, but getting it right can and will make a difference. More than once, we struggled to find information about games whose name was a tad too generic. Adding the word Indie to your description – so that anyone could find your through the game name + indie formula – is a solid idea. These steps will make it easier for YouTubers and streamers to get in contact with you. Catchy names and a nice description also allow press outlets to assign your key to the most suitable member of their editorial team.
Top-Quality Content… Always!
Exactly like you’d do with your social media accounts, the contents of your pages should be the best you can muster. Grammatically weak descriptions, emoticons, screenshots featuring multiple fonts, and low-res images won’t help you. Coincidentally, these remain the most common mistakes first-time developers do.
Above all else, you’ll need a professional-looking logo. Go for something that is both relevant and easy to remember. Qualitatively good press assets scream “professionalism”, automatically putting your product a few notches above your competitors’. Logos are also perfect for your press-kit and for any e-mail you might need to send.
Screenshots – as in: proper and enthralling ones – are also extremely important. You shouldn’t stop at static pictures, though. Feel free to add a short video, a preview trailer, and some gameplay footage. Your final setup mostly depends on the time that you can spend on it. Trailers, for instance, are a bit harder to build but can achieve marvelous results. If you’re on a budget, there are other solutions. Shorter videos, in which words and images are both featured, remain extremely effective!
Once you’re done with the gallery, it is time to start working on your descriptions. These few lines should both feel convincing and showcase your personality.
Unfortunately, there’s no set of golden rules that you can follow here. We did, however, lay down a few guidelines that you might want to look at.
- Write in English: it’s Earth’s Lingua Franca for a reason!
You’ll want people from all over the globe to access your game’s page. English allows you to vault most linguistic barriers, ensuring that a higher number of visitors can actually understand what you’re trying to say.
- Avoid Walls of Text: nobody would want to read through them.
Instead, you should make sure that the page is aesthetically pleasing. Bulleted lists and paragraphs are a great way to achieve so. Steam now supports GIFs and images too.
- Avoid Grammatical Mistakes: they’ll make you look tacky.
If English is not your primary language, consider asking for help or hiring a copywriter.
- Avoid Emoticons: this is not a Facebook conversations.
Emoticons are great when you’re in a hurry, but have no place in a product description.
- Why Should I Buy Your Game? What Makes It Different? These are the questions you should address.
A Few More Words About Steam
Valve’s distribution platform offers a few more features than both of its mobile counterparts.
Among the others,the community panel is one of the most amazing tools at your disposal. Dedicated forums and update screens allow you to collect feedback and keep in touch with the people who play your title. Including a company e-mail is also a great way to create a solid and reliable communication channel. Remember that, especially when you’re just starting out, player feedback is a valuable ally.
We’ll dedicate more space to it in the future, but there’s one last thing that we’d like to mention. No review that you might receive, regardless of its score and tone, is personal. Usually, the players behind these hope that you will actually read what they have to say and act upon it!
Here ends part II of our series. As usual, we’d like for you to let us know what you think, share your opinion, and tell us whether there are specific topics that you’d like us to cover!