How to market a mobile game? Self-publishing vs publishers
You have 2 main options. You can go for self-publishing or go through publishers.
OPTION 1: Self-publishing
To go for own publishing you need to have cash. If you don’t have you could try to find some external investors and pitch your game. Here are some possible investors:
- Level up
They will be able to invest or lend you money in exchange for a percentage of your game revenues or your company. They receive many demands. So, be sure to show them a unique game concept with unique selling points together with a nice prototype. Ideally, a vertical slice. Some of them may, also want KPI’s before investing, especially for a mobile game where they may request the soft launch results.
How do you publish a mobile game?
To successfully publish a game you should have know-how and try different technics as:
- Being featured by Apple, Google Play …
- Using social networks to share information on your game in facebook, twitter, Indiedb
- Using ad networks as Tapjoy, AdColony, Unity ads, mopub, etc.
- Doing cross promotion with existing games
- Sending Press releases
- Participating to competitions
- Using newsletters
- Working with influencers
You can eventually find companies that do publishing as a service as appagent or appvertiser for example. You pay them for doing user acquisition for you.
OPTION 2: Working with a publisher
What about working with a publisher? Developing a game and marketing a game are 2 different jobs. That’s why working with a publisher can be a good idea. Publisher can usually help you with some or all of the following tasks:
Developing a game and marketing a game are 2 different things. That’s why working with a publisher can be a good idea. Publisher can usually help you with some or all of the following tasks:
-Marketing of the game (User acquisition, PR, Social networks, finance etc.)
Now, there are many publishers. You should select the ones with experience in the games you are working on. For example, if you have a location based cards game you should find a publisher with experience in location based games and/or cards games. Don’t pitch it to PC or console publishers. Before accepting to work with a publisher try to speak with other developers they are working with to get references.
A publisher can invest to help you and usually they will ask for a revenue share (usually between 30% and 70%). Most of the time, if they need to invest heavily before publishing the game, they will re-cut the investment. So, you need to wait they get re-paid before getting your part of the cake.
As publishers are working on several games they will often put a priority and their efforts on the ones giving them the best monetization. To mitigate this risk you can ask them for a minimum guarantee (MG). It’s an amount of money they will pay you as front fee. Doing so, you will be sure that the publisher will invest money in marketing in order to try recovering this amount.
To find the good publisher the best is going to events and fairs as Gamescom or GDC for example. To win time you can also go through consultant (as myself :-)) who can help you making the right pitch deck, help you with pitching, connecting you to the right person with direct introductions and help in negotiating the terms of the agreement.
PS: The above opinion is based on the experience gained with more than 20 mobiles games I had the chance to work on, on my experience working with more than 10 mobile game publishers and on more than 5 funding rounds achieved in the mobile game sector. Now, it’s based on my humble knowledge at this stage and many others ways or options are and will be possible. I just hope it may help you to win time.
Nicolas de Kerchove
Nicolas is a Startup Consultant and an awarded Tech entrepreneur. He has been working on more than 20 mobile apps and 25 games (VR, AR, PC, Web, Mobile).