Marketing Your Software

by Darius Kazemi on August 15, 2008

in braid,demos,marketing

My friend Kevin has posted a brief lesson about failing to market software properly. In this case, he’s talking about audio software, but the bottom line applies to any downloadable game with a trial period: make sure the user’s first few minutes of engagement with the game are immediately gratifying and show what your game can really do.

This reminds me of one of the weird things we see in games sometimes: when games withhold the best stuff from the player for a while. Half-Life 2 did this; you don’t get the gravity gun until about an hour into the game. Now, HL2 was not exactly a “download and try this game you’ve never heard of” situation. I am certain that 95% of the people who played it had read previews or heard things, and already knew going in that there would be a cool gravity gun to play with and they’d just have to wait.

(If I remember correctly, HL2 originally gave you the gravity gun much later on in the game, and someone said, “Wait, why are we making our players work to get to the fun part?” So they moved it much closer to the beginning of the game. Still, I would have liked to see them give you the gun at the start. The guys at Valve are smart, I’m sure they could have made it work.)

Braid, on the other hand, gives you access to almost all of the game’s content, minus the last four levels, at the very beginning. It’s all about giving everything it has to the player.

Anyway, I have digressed. If you are building a demo of your game, make sure that the player can engage with your best stuff within the first minute of play. Lower those barriers to entry. Impress ‘em.

I’m going to have to write a longer post about the lost art of game demos…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: