How do you make a game viral? Gamasutra, gaming industry business website, has published a new article today on five ways to market a game more, er, virally. Jon Radoff, creator of Space Empire Elite, gives a few pointers on how to gain a following and continue to grow that following after inception. In these tips, there’s a glimpse of how, if successfully marketed, a small, unknown game can become a hit.
- Design Games that Sell Themselves: The easiest, most cost-effective way to advertise and sell your game is to have your customers do it for you. According to Radoff, Magic: the Gathering is a perfect example of how poweful word of mouth can be, because when it started people would see others playing and come up and ask about the game.
- Design Games with Fan Sites in Mind: Your games community is very important, keep the fan site owners in the loop and they’ll drum up excitement. Radoff notes that World of Warcraft and Sony Online Entertainment have done an excellent job of this, helping information sites like Thottbot and Allakhazam to exist and flourish with extra content.
- Support Guilds and Clans: Keep your most enthusiastic players close to you and they’ll reward you with more sales to their guildmates. With new and interesting forms of communication (specialized chat channels and available offline content) built into games, guilds are becoming much more popular nowadays.
- Support Player-Created Content: There’s no real down side to player-created content. Consider it a free expansion pack. According to the article, the Neverwinter Nights‘ design tools make it possible for users to make their own dungeons for other fans to play through. This level of player-created content has given NWN life beyond its years.
- Avoid Level Segregation: Try to find ways to keep your players on an even field with their friends and guildmates, that way you avoid the frustration of people not being able to compete. Also mentioned by Radoff, EverQuest 2 is the best example of this principle, because it allows higher level players to drop levels and adventure with their lower level friends via the mentor system.
Read the entire story on Gamasutra.