With only a few days left until our free two-day GamesLab Masterclass arrives in Birmingham, we caught up with one of the event's special guests, Rich Keith.
You may recognize Rich from the increasingly popular online video series the Yogscast which brings together gamers from all across the globe. We asked Rich to share his thoughts on networking, getting your game seen and promoting yourself properly. Read the Q&A below...
How important is networking when starting out?
It’s vital at all times, not just starting out. Whether it’s for support or information, the more people you know and connect with you the easier your life is going to be.
What makes a game exciting for you?
I prefer smart storytelling and quirky gameplay to flash and bang these days. Although you can still find me playing big-budget noisy games at times.
How can small companies compete in the digital market with games like Call of Duty and Angry Birds?
Discovery is the key issue, making sure that enough people hear about – and see – your game. YouTube is an amazing discovery engine for all sorts of games – it’s a lot more than serendipity that the rise of YouTube as the dominant platform for how people find games to buy and play coincides with the rise of indie games. Having said that good games are good games, whatever the budget, and will find an audience.
How important is video marketing for emerging game studios?
I’m not sure that ‘video marketing’ really means anything but understanding that your game will mostly be discovered by video, rather than words and screenshots is a mindset marketers and others need to get into.
What are the best ways for start-up studios to harness the power of rich content?
Understand that YouTube and social audiences want to be part of something. They want to be able to act, rather than passively consume. However that can’t be false or fake or it won’t spread. The best thing to do is see how people react to your game, find out what YouTubers and others are saying and sharing and try and make that as simple as possible.
The Yogcast is a perfect example of a thriving network of like-minded individuals. How crucial is it for small studios to forge their own online communities?
Talking directly to people is obviously important and can be hugely valuable if done right. But it’s hard to do and should only be attempted if you’re willing to go the whole way – both in terms of dedicated, skilled staff but also not getting the arse when the community aren’t happy with what you’ve done. There is still a lot to be said for having your message mediated, using both old and new methods.
What are the common pitfalls new studios encounter when promoting their brand and how can they avoid them?
From a video/YouTube point of view a lot of people fail to realise that creating video content – being a YouTuber – is a *very* different experience than being a journalist on a games website or magazine. The fact that your livelihood is based on the need to create daily content – plan, record, edit, optimise, upload, analyse, repeat – means that time is valued very differently. Things like coverage plans, press trips, exclusives etc have a different value than they do for the press.
What would you like new developers, start-ups and small companies to take from the GamesLab Masterclass event?
That those Yogscast guys are nice.
For more information on our GamesLab Masterclass event in Birmingham head here.
Read our interview with fellow speaker Tim Ponting here.
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