Getting the word out

So you’ve managed to finish your game, have you?

It’s all polished and ready to go, and you’re about to open the gates to the hordes of players out there.

But do they know about it?

A lack of some sort of advertising or marketing can kill your game’s launch. Word of mouth alone will not get you a large playerbase; you need to get your game ‘out there’, so that as many people as possible will see it and try it out.

But a lot of browsergame creators do it in their spare time, and don’t have much money to spare. So here’s three quick tips on how to get the most bang for your non-existent buck, when it comes to advertising your game:

  • Referrals

  • One quick-and-easy way to get a lot of players quickly if you have a few passionate ones is to create an in-game referrals system. Just give each player their own referral link, and reward users who manage to use that link to get users to sign up for the game. The rewards don’t need to be much – generally, the players who will bring you the most referred players are the kinds of people that just like to have something that sets them apart from the rest of the playerbase – although if you reward referrals with something easy like more of your in-game currency or free level-ups, that’s fine too. At any rate, a referrals system is one way to attract a lot of players to at least you’re “you just got referred” page, at no money out of your pocket.

  • Directories

  • Directories were a big deal back before the ‘Web 2.0′ craze. Now, they aren’t quite as big of a deal – but they’re still a decent way to get some sort of link coming to your site. There are a few directories out there devoted specifically to browsergames – Browser Based Game Zone has a directory full of links to games, and pbbg.org will link to your game/site if you use the term ‘PBBG’ somewhere on your site, and then send them an e-mail to let them know.

    One thing you need to remember about directories, however, is that they’re called directories for a reason – and that’s because they have a lot of links inside them. You need to make sure that you provide as much content for your game as you can – a good description of your gameplay(how it really is, not just ‘enjoy an ever-changing game world!’), maybe a screenshot if they want it, and anything else that you can fill up with information about your game. The more information you have, the more likely a user will notice your game, read up on it a bit, and then visit it.

  • Guest Blogging

  • This may only come into play if you have a friend(or friends) with a blog. But all you need to do is ask them if you can write one post on their blog, and talk about your game a little bit. It could be a post-mortem of your game, or your friend could do an interview with you – there are a lot of options available to you if you can at least write something about your game. And all you have to do at the end of your piece is get whoever runs the blog to put a little blurb about you and your game – if the blog has readers, some of them will click the link to your game(and hopefully start playing it).

That’s only three of the many, many available options for getting the word out about your game – both when you release it, and after it’s been running for a while. But the nice thing is, all of them are free – all they take is a little bit of your time, and the dedication to making sure that your game succeeds.

Wish there was more?

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Luke is the primary editor of Building Browsergames, and has written a large portion of the articles that you read here. He generally has no idea what to say when asked to write about himself in the third person.

Thursday, May 29th, 2008 advertising
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Building Browsergames is a blog about browsergames(also known as PBBG's). It's geared towards the beginner to intermediate developer who has an interest in building their own browsergame.

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