“击败最新的《Burnout》系列游戏。”这是许多独立游戏开发者最想听到的评价。Neon Play的《Traffic Panic》系列的第三款，《Traffic Panic London》中设置了许多有趣的新功能，并获得了许多评论者的赞赏——这些评论者认为简单的休闲游戏比基于长久的Criterion/艺电的《Burnout》而新推出的游戏优秀得多。
设计一个具有吸引力的应用图标，并选择最佳截图总是能够快速吸引玩家的注意（当他们在应用商店进行搜索时）。利用图像去传达游戏内容是一种非常有效的方法，如果不能有效做到这一点便有可能破坏游戏工作室与消费者之间的关系。在《Traffic Panic》系列游戏中，我们的应用图标从非常简单的卡通式碰撞转变成更加动态化且刺激的图像，即红色双层巴士撞上辆黑色出租车。我们在新游戏的图标中使用了与之前游戏图标类似的模式和图解，让《Traffic Panic》系列玩家能够更好地进行辨认，同时还将三款游戏的游戏玩法变化体现了出来。
游戏预告片便是最有效的推广工具之一，也是我们认为手机游戏市场营销中必不可少的元素之一。这种方法非常适合于动作类游戏，但同时开发者也可以为即将发行的游戏创造具有创造性且动态化的名片。Google Play Store的一大优势便是能让开发者将预告片整合到自己的应用页面上，从而让玩家更好地了解他们想要购买的应用。
这些视频的主要内容陈列在我们的YouTube页面上，并且能够通过其它社交媒体（主要是Twitter和Facebook）去推广游戏（在游戏发行前期或之后）。我们的视频便获得了许多评价，并被链接到其它平台上。《Traffic Panic London》的预告片在我们的YouTube页面上共吸引了超过100万的点击，并获得了大量积极的反馈。这是开发者在探索成功道路上值得借鉴的一种好方法。
就像我之前曾经说过的，在推广《Traffic Panic London》时我们便是利用伊丽莎白二世女皇钻禧纪念日和奥运会等事件去吸引世人的关注，并因此成功打动了App Store和Google Play Store，从而幸运地获得了大量的宣传，推动着游戏在发行时取得更好的成绩。
作为一家小型且独立的游戏开发商，我们必须不断研究各种适合自己的市场营销方法，并尝试各种新方法。为了推动《Traffic Panic London》的发行，我们便决定创造一款附随的iOS小游戏，《Carpark Carnage》，让这两款游戏能够进行交叉推广。
《Carpark Carnage》的开发过程非常简单，我们只是使用与《Traffic Panic London》相同的资产去创造这款游戏。最终证明我们的战略是有效的，即通过相互推动，这两款游戏均登上了App Store排行榜的前10位，如此也证明了，如果你能够不断尝试一些新的市场营销策略，你便有可能看到意想不到的结果。
大多数情况下，我们都是直接使用社交媒体渠道，即通过分享预告片，发送tweet评价和高分，或公开下载数据和游戏相关信息等推动着玩家对游戏报以期待。而对于《Traffic Panic London》，我们又想做出不一样的尝试，即我们想要将社交媒体完全整合到游戏体验中。
其次便是为那些与Neon Play在社交媒体上进行互动的玩家提供免费的汽车。如果玩家想要《Only Fools and Horses》中的三轮里来恩特知更鸟（游戏邦注：由英国塔姆瓦斯的里来恩特摩托车公司所生产的一款小型三轮车），并成为了我们Twitter的粉丝，他便能在游戏中获得这辆汽车。同样地，如果玩家在Facebook上“赞”了我们，他们便能够获得一辆双层巴士。对于我们来说，这是一种非常有趣的奖励型市场营销方法。根据我们的社交媒体粉丝统计，这种方法为我们带来了大量的粉丝，并能够长达数月吸引他们的注意。
《Traffic Panic London》本身便拥有较高的游戏质量，所以我们需要更加重视来自应用商店的宣传。从来自iOS和Android平台上超过5百万的下载量，YouTube上的预告片超过100万的点击率，Twitter上的5万名粉丝以及Facebook上的20万名粉丝等数据来看，《Traffic Panic London》的确取得了巨大的成功。
通过《Flick Football》，《Paper Glider》以及《Traffic Panic London》等游戏，Neon Play向世人证明了小型独立工作室在面对世界上的巨头公司时也能够获取成功。当然了，这并不是件易事，但是我们从中看到了，独立开发者也一直都在努力发展着。
Evolution of a mobile game: Marketing and promotion
by Oli Christie
In the third of a three part series, Oli Christie, founder and CEO of Neon Play, discusses how to effectively market and promote a mobile game
You can read part one of the series, which looks at the formation of the core idea, here, and part two – an analysis of the process of making that idea in to a game – here.
“Puts the latest Burnout series release to shame.” It’s the kind of review you love to see as an independent developer (and we didn’t write it ourselves…). Traffic Panic London, the third instalment of Neon Play’s Traffic Panic series, was packed with exciting new features and winning plaudits from reviewers who were suggesting that our simple, casual game was better than the latest release from the long-established Criterion/EA Burnout franchise.
Happy does not even begin to cover it.
But how did we get to this point? The mark of a great mobile games studio is, of course, the ability to develop good quality games. It will be the effectiveness of your marketing and promotion efforts, however, that will have a big impact on determining whether those games are a hit with consumers.
Marketing and promotion begins from the very moment you have completed the game.
Designing an aesthetically appealing app icon and selecting the best screen shots will help grab the attention of customers as they casually peruse app stores. It is important that the images are illustrative of the game contents otherwise you are at risk of undermining the relationship between the studio and consumer. Throughout the Traffic Panic Series, our app icons have changed from a very simplistic, comic-style crash through to the more dynamic and provocative image of a red double-decker bus crashing into a black cab. By using similar patterns and iconography the new game is identifiable to fans of the Traffic Panic series while simultaneously charting the evolutionary gameplay of the three games.
As part of the app submission process, you are able to provide a short description of your game which is a chance to sell the concept. Descriptions should be punchy and succinct; highlighting the game’s unique elements and enabling players to gain an understanding of the game objective from the briefest of word counts. If you want people to download your game – and especially if you want them to pay for it – you will need to convince people that it is worth the investment both in terms of time and money. As you release updates to your game, you can revise the accompanying description to include some of the positive reviews that you will hopefully have received in the weeks or months since the initial launch.
One of the most effective promotional tools available, and one which we think is a must in mobile game marketing, is a gameplay trailer. It is a medium which is ideal for action- orientated games but you really have free reign to make a creative and dynamic calling card for your forthcoming game whatever genre you are working in. One of the advantages of the Google Play Store is the ability to incorporate these video trailers into the app page which undoubtedly provides the player with a better idea of what they are buying into.
These videos are prime content for a designated studio YouTube channel and can be used to promote the game via other social media feeds – primarily Twitter and Facebook – in the lead-up to launch day and beyond. We have found that our videos have often been repurposed into reviews or at the very least linked to and it does make a difference. The trailer for Traffic Panic London has gained over 1 million views on our YouTube channel and has had positive feedback. It’s another avenue that is well worth exploring as you search for success.
The ultimate test of the potential success of a game is if Apple or Google pick up on it during the app submission and approval stage and choose to feature it on the front page of their app stores. Editorial coverage like this is hugely important in helping your game get noticed amongst the hundreds of games that are released each day and can play a big part in determining its success.
As I wrote in the first part of this series, the main motivation in bringing Traffic Panic to the streets of London was to riff on the fact that the eyes of the world would be on London during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. This thinking obviously struck a chord with both the App Store and the Google Play Store and we were lucky enough to receive some fantastic editorial coverage which helped us launch the game.
As a small, independent developer it is important for us to investigate all marketing avenues that are available to us and we are always open to trying new approaches. To help with the launch of Traffic Panic London, we decided to create a companion iOS mini-game called Carpark Carnage and cross promoted each game within the other.
Carpark Carnage’s development process was very basic as the game was built using the same assets that we had used for Traffic Panic London. The tactic worked as the games pushed each other up into the Top 10 games on the App Store and goes to show that if you remain nimble and employ new marketing strategies, you may well be rewarded.
Integrating social media
It goes without saying, as alluded to above, that social media plays a big part in marketing for a studio such as Neon Play. Since the studio’s inception we have had a very active Twitter feed to communicate with fans, offer technical support and to promote the studio and its successes in business and the games industry. We have backed this up by establishing consumer-friendly Facebook pages for individual games. These channels of communication are now an incredibly important part of our marketing activities as we attempt to compete against large global publishers with huge marketing budgets.
For the most part we use the social media channels in a very straightforward manner, hoping to build anticipation for a game release by sharing our trailers, retweeting reviews and top-scores or releasing download figures and facts about our games. But, again, wishing to try something different for Traffic Panic London, we wanted to integrate social media more fully into the game experience.
There were two ways in which we went about this. Firstly, as in many other mobile and social games, we gave people the option of sharing their top scores or mission completions with their friends on Twitter and Facebook by tapping the respective icons at the end of their turn. The hope is that numerous friends will be compelled to download the game and compete with their friends and social circles.
The second way in which we integrated social media into Traffic Panic London was to offer players free cars in return for interacting with Neon Play on social media. For instance, if players want to unlock the famous 3-wheeler Robin Reliant from Only Fools and Horses they follow us on Twitter and the car will then be introduced to the game. Likewise, if they were to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, they unlock the double-decker bus. This incentivised social media marketing is an interesting development for us and one which we are keen to build on. As demonstrated by our social following statistics, it provided a significant boost to our audience of followers and we have maintained them in subsequent months.
It sets us up with a captive social media audience, who are proven fans of one of our most popular games, and will enable us to communicate with them more directly and effectively in the future. Interestingly, it is with this model of social media and freemium content that we have scored our biggest hit to date on Android; a platform that is notoriously difficult to monetise.
Success in the app marketplace is never guaranteed but there are ways to maximise the effectiveness of your marketing activities. What is most important is that if people search for your game online, they find multiple avenues to explore. Be it a link to a page about the game on your website, the gameplay trailer on your YouTube channel, mentions on social media – including your own feeds – or reviews, all will play a part in convincing a consumer that your game and studio is worth a punt. As with most things, if people like it, they will share it. Word of mouth is a marvel of marketing and with social media, everyone’s voice is now that little bit louder.
In Traffic Panic London, we had a good quality and timely game that was deemed to warrant editorial coverage from the app stores. Combined with over 5 million downloads on iOS and Android, 1 million views on YouTube for our gameplay trailer, 50,000 new followers on Twitter and an additional 200,000 fans across our Facebook pages, we consider Traffic Panic London a great success.
With games such as Flick Football, Paper Glider and Traffic Panic London, Neon Play has consistently proved that a small, independent studio can be successful even when competing against global giants. It’s not easy – it’s never easy – but it is important that indies stay in the fight.(source:develop-online)