Discoverability – the Struggle is Real!

So you’ve made your game and you think it’s awesome. Even your friends and family think it’s awesome – so how do you get people to play it? Or even find it among all the millions of games out there?

Thinking about Interference – our first game, we have new players join every day. They say things in the comments like:

Vick the Stick 2 days, 3hours ago
“This is hilarious! 😀 ”

PointyCatEars 10 minutes, 30 seconds ago
I laughed so much at this one X)”

Bun 4 days 6 hours ago
“OMG I’m dying here 🙂 How did I not know about this game?”

How indeed? That is one of the biggest problems for indie developers. How do you get eyes on your game?

So, what have we tried already?

  1. Internet
    As suggested by all the best guides on this “discoverability” problem we have got an eye-catching website and the front page features the highest ranked pictures of the week so far, as well as some reviews from the app store. We have also put how to play the game and a link to download the app – for players who don’t want to play the web version. We made it easy to join up and sign in – using Facebook or Twitter, or even a Microsoft login.
  2. Social Media
    Interference is on Facebook and Twitter and I post to both platforms several times a day. I choose both morning and evening to ensure we hit most time zones. Guides always stress that pictures make posts more interesting, so I always include some art work from the game:
    Recently – to make posts even more noticeable I have been posting animated gifs of particularly good or funny pictures to grab more attention. Check out our feeds to see more!
    Facebook doesn’t seem to work too well for the game. The only people who share the posts are my own personal page and the developers parents! We ask friends and family to share – but very few ever do. However on Twitter we have a lot more success. By following other indie game studios and devs, art and drawing groups and interesting individuals we have a good rate of retweeting and likes.
  3. Other websites.
    The biggest spike in new players came when we had an article on the MS Power User website. It was about an update we’d made to the Windows app – but we had a flurry of new players from all over, particularly Indonesia. We already have players from all over the world and this is one of the nice things about Interference – it’s not just a game it’s a community. So, what other websites can we use to promote our game?
    We found this useful list on LinkedIn – called Indie Games Pusher  a list of many webpages, blogs and other media that help Indie Game Developers. Just need to get on that now 🙂
  4. App Stores
    How to get on the front page of an app store – or even in a featured collection  and who decides this seems to be a well-guarded secret. Obviously the most popular games are there due to downloads and reviews and ratings. But, what about “Apps for Artists” and “Apps for Windows Ink“? Interference would be perfect for either of these collections and yet our pleas to the few Microsoft evangelists we know have not produced any results, yet.
    We have a brand new shiny Interference UWP App which we’d love to promote, yet many of the apps in these collections are old and have been there for a very long time. It would be lovely if the app store would feature new apps in here – even if it’s just for a few days. They could have a more vibrant and exciting collection if they did this. We’ll never get 1 million players without a bit of help! 🙂

In conclusion – we will keep on trying everything we can think of. We even went on a TV quiz show and talked about the game at length – we just hope they don’t cut it all out when they screen to show next month!
We’d love to hear from other indie devs about the cunning ways they have promoted and marketed their apps. Please get in touch via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn  🙂