My business challenge for this year, which I set back in December/January, was to grow my Social media reach. All smaller, and even medium-sized, game developers know how hard it is to reach influencers to talk about your game. Game sites only get interested AFTER your game made it big, Streamers (twitch and youtube) are hard to even contact in a normal way, and mostly don’t reply to you. They live in their own bubble of game playing and streaming, and the games themselves are often just a tiny tool to entertain their audience and get views.
As game developers we need to find our way to tackle this problem. So I decided that my best way to tackle something I have no influence on, is to try and completely remove my dependance on it. This is far from the easiest and quickest route to take, but this is my business and it is a long-term business, so if there’s anything I do have, it’s time.
Which steps did I take? First of all, as easy as it is to write blogs like these: just sit and type, they have a smaller reach in todays media landscape. Let’s face it, most people don’t read anymore, they watch, so:
My main challenge was to get in front of a camera and become my own spokes person. I’ve been doing weekly videos on Youtube since the first week of 2018, and I never expected I would love it THIS much. It’s extremely satisfying to spend one or two days planning and shooting and editing a video, and then releasing it to an audience! I wish I could create my games that fast without losing any quality. All the problems I figured I might have: speaking another language, not getting nervous, being natural in front of the camera, and actually enjoying it, mostly vanished within the first couple of video’s I did. The upside is that newer videos can get a little more on the planning and editing time, as the talking and being natural is much easier and I get my text and messages recorded on camera a lot faster.
The youtube channel is showing a slow but steady growth, on average I think it’s 10-12 new subscribers each week, also losing some subscribers in the process so the actual number of new subs might be higher. But there’s growth showing, and I’m learning a lot of interesting things with regards to telling stories and color grading which might also be interesting to use in my games.
So for now, my youtube adventure is here to stay, at the least until the end of the year, and hopefully I can keep it interesting week after week. I’ve even introduced some quick one-minute uncut videos which are exclusive to Patreon’s and there I record the things I work on, or thoughts I have about game development.
Pushing the mailinglist
The second big step I made at the start of the year was pushing my Newsletter. The big change here is that I’ve been using it for more then just game promotion, but actually giving something back to subscribers. So there have been exclusive unlock tips and tricks, exclusive sketches from my games, and more things like that. All those things are literally exclusive to the newsletter, making it a bonus for people to actually subscribe to it. I pushed the newsletter through my games, I had already done the code and updates for my “maintained games” so that they show a little “enter your email for the newsletter” popup after a player plays my game for at least X times (knowing they love it, and are more likely to be interested in more things from me).
This push generated a few hundred new subscribers, and this also means that when I do game-sales, I get a spur of new players who might also subscribe for more content from me. It even makes doing a “free for a day” on certain games interesting as on iOS that can often generate 100k+ downloads.
And finally I started pushing Instagram a bit more, posting 5-6 pictures a week, on a daily basis as I work. In general I get more likes and interaction on Instagram than I do on Facebook or Twitter. Altho growth seems to be much harder on Instagram. People will like your photo, but they will not follow you. I think the new followers there are lower than 50 since January. Still, the interaction is great, so it feels worth doing for now.
All these solutions have one thing in common: me. As weird as it sounds to me, people that have interest in Orangepixel ARE interested in me, because there’s nobody else here. Now that’s still a bit of a theory for me, so to test it I’m giving a lot more of ME to everyone out there this year. Using video’s, pictures, sharing exclusive things, etc.
I even went as far as re-opening my Patreon to give people the chance to subscribe to Orangepixel. In return there are exclusive video’s, exclusive assets I share, and I plan to do closed-beta testing through Patreon to weed out people that just want to get their hands on a free version of a new game.
The only downside, for you as a reader of this blog, is that I have less interesting things to share in these articles which hasn’t been shared in other places yet! I do try to keep you informed in the classic way tho, like this blog was much easier to type out than do a video about, and it’s also not interesting for the average player of my games since it’s more indie-dev-business info.
So the blogs will still keep coming, just much less frequent, luckily you now have a lot of other ways to keep updated!