6 Steps To A Successful Game Launch
by Edward Wills
Having worked in the gaming industry for nearly a decade, I’ve seen many great game launches and some not so great. The launch of a game can make or break it, so it’s crucial to get it right after all the hard work that’s gone into the creation of it. It will take a lot of planning and meetings, which should involve the whole team, from the designers to the developers, not just the advertising team. As a guide, I’ve outlined 6 of the key factors that I think will make a game launch successful.
1. Have a Good Concept
This is really important, because if your concept is not good, your game simply isn’t going anywhere. People need to want to play it, and while they play it, they need to have fun. A concept doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to make sense and have a market. Think about your target audience and whether the concept appeals to them. This should take place before anything, otherwise you could be setting up to fail not matter how good your launch is.
2. Test, test, test
Launching a game and then finding a ton of bugs is going to do two things. First, it will put people off playing, and second, will lead to bad reviews.
If you have a team of testers, great, but this doesn’t always find every bug as there are usually millions of possible scenarios. The best way to test your game is enlist a several hundred/thousand beta testers. Not only will this highlight any bugs that were undiscovered before the official launch it will also help when the game launches as if the concept is right, then your beta testers will likely praise the game and leave great reviews, influencing other gamers to buy your game.
3. Target Social Media
Social Media is the new TV advertising. If you have a quality product, word can spread fast. Not only that but you can target people with specific interests, which you can’t do on TV. For example if you’re launching a game for PC, you can target people who are only interested in PC gaming. This way you know the people who are going to see your advert are highly likely to be interested.
You should start this a few weeks before launch and include the launch date in your graphics. This will help to generate buzz, and you can get more people interested in your game before the launch.
4. Prepare for Demand
If your launch is successful, you want to be prepared for the large influx in users. This is applicable to the game website and if your game is being run on servers over the internet. If you have a sudden surge of users registering or wanting to play, can your servers handle it? If you can’t afford to have hardware that can handle the influx initially, you should look at options that are easily configurable just in case. If not you might again be looking at negative reviews popping up and users being put off playing.
5. Build an email list
If you don’t invite people to your game, how will they know it is there? You need to gather email addresses so that you can inform everyone who needs to know once the game is live. You can do this by having a landing page on your website that people are sent to asking them to submit their email address to keep up with the latest news.
Then send out a targeted email on the day of launch, letting everyone know that the time has come to get their game on. Including a special gift for subscribers which is only available for 24 hours can work really well if you want to really generate some buzz.
6. Reviews and Features
Now that the game is live, it’s time to pull in as many good reviews and features as possible. A few days after the launch email your subscribers asking them to leave a review, otherwise the majority just won’t.
To get your game featured in online media and offline magazines contact editors and journalists telling them why they should feature you and what you can offer them such as early access or behind the scenes information that no one knows about yet.
By following the above points above you’ll be helping towards a successful game launch. While of course there are lots of factors to look at, these are the 6 that I find most important.(source:gamasutra)