DaFluffyPotato on November Challenge 2018

The November Challenge is an event in which you release and market a game or game related product during the month of November with the goal of making $1. The goal is to use (and hopefully improve!) your release and marketing skills with the goal of making money off of something you made!

You can read more about how the November Challenge works here.

The November Challenge started on November 1st 7PM UTC.


Tips and Tricks


The Pricing

Make sure you price your product properly. Nobody wants to pay $1,000 for Flappy Bird and you wouldn't profit much if you were to sell Mario Kart for $0.01. There are tons of factors involved in pricing which you have to take into account. Usually I recommend going on the cheaper end since even if you aren't maximizing profits, you're getting your product into more hands. If you overprice your game, nobody will buy it and nobody will own it in the end. That's no fun of course. The only rule that I vaguely go by is, "$1 per an hour of solid gameplay". When I say "solid", I mean gameplay that isn't repetative or dull. This rule has to be broken though. Different genres need to be priced differently and this rule only works best on certain types of games. This rule also isn't applicable to non-game products.


The Product

If this is your first time attempting to sell something and your goal is to get sales, I recommend working to your strengths. If your main goal is to have fun, I recommend doing what you want and ignoring this part. In my case, I specialize in fast paced platformers with tight controls and pixel art. I made Super Potato Bruh with that in mind. It's a fast paced Super Meat Boy-like platformer with bullet hell elements and of course, pixel art. It also helps to design your game to look good in images/GIFs. In my case, I used the bullet hell element to make the game look great in GIFs and I used a pixel art style that's currently pretty popular to make the game look good in images.


The Marketing

This is the area I see a lot of people failing in. I'm not the best at it myself, but I've learned a few things. There are only a couple things that should apply to most people and products. Early on, you need make sure you have a social media presence. I use Twitter, but ideally you'd use other sites too. Post interesting stuff related to your project there. A release trailer is extremely important. Make sure the trailer covers all the best parts of your product that you can squeeze reasonably into ~90 seconds. People click away surprisingly fast, so every second matters. Polish the trailer as much as you can too since this is usually what most people use to decide if they want to buy your product. Super Potato Bruh's trailer wasn't the best since I'm an amateur, but the effort I put into it was definitely worth it. If you don't know what to edit with, I recommend HitFilm Express. It's pretty good for being free. By far the biggest mistake I see in a lot of people's marketing efforts is the complete lack of media on the product's store page. It's important to have images, a trailer, and (if applicable) GIFs to show off your product.

One important decision to make related to the marketing is your choice of marketplace. You could just sell your product on your website, but generally it's better to put your game on more marketplaces for a better shot at people seeing your product. I recommend itch.io because it's free and you can set your pay cut. It's really easy to make your store page look nice there too. Game Jolt may also be worth a shot. It's pretty similar to itch.io. Steam is a great platform if you think the initial $100 fee is worth it. They provide a decent amount of publicity and lots of users prefer to play a game on Steam (I don't know about non-game products.) rather than running it as a stand-alone application. I released Super Potato Bruh on Steam recently and it hasn't sold too well on Steam, but the Steam release provided a good excuse for another marketing push. While it didn't sell that well on Steam, the marketing push resulted in a lot of sales on the itch.io page. In some cases, it may be a good idea to do what I did and split the releases. I'm not entirely sure what determines whether it's a good idea or not.

If you just have a store page, trailer, and a small social media following, you won't do too well. This is where what I call the "marketing push" comes in. This is where you do various things to get people to see your product. It's important to be creative. The most basic method is to post about your product on various websites (don't spam it though). I think that one majorly overlooked place is Reddit. It more than doubled my earnings for Super Potato Bruh. You can post about your product to the relevant communities. Since you're posting it in specific communities, the people from those communities are going to be interested in it if you choose the right ones. For Super Potato Bruh, I posted in r/python, r/pygame, r/pixelart, and r/linux_gaming. The people from r/python, r/pygame, and r/linux_gaming loved that I included the source code for my game on itch.io. (My second marketing push was mostly successful on reddit, which is why most of the profits ended up coming from itch.io instead of Steam.) It's also important to send out your product to journalists, YouTubers, streamers, and reviewers. I skipped this step (which I regret doing) so I don't know much about how it works. If your social media presence is good, I recommend running a giveaway for your product there.

Marketing is something that requires practice, so it's important to see every project as an opportunity to try out different things. Keep the scope of the project in mind though. I wouldn't go as far as sending copies of a game jam game to journalists.


Good luck in the November Challenge!

Comments (1)

Wan
15 days ago

Thanks for sharing your tips! The "$1 per solid hour" rule is an interesting one, which I agree kinda sums up the expectations from PC gamers nowadays.

"Working to your strengths" is also great advice that I should try and follow more. I know I naturally tend to explore game genres and art styles I don't know well (which I think it's pretty obvious from my jam history) ; while it is fun it does add barriers when the goal is a long-term project.

I guess I more or less know my strengths in terms of game design, audio & programming, but I still have to find an art style I can really feel comfortable in… !

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