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10 Dec 2013

Letting Players See Your Game in Action

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Even though the PS4 launched last month, half of all Twitch livestreaming is coming from the PS4. Here is a service that has been around since June, 2011, yet already a sizeable portion of its audience is using the PlayStation 4 to livestream the game. Crazy numbers, right?

What kind of tale do these numbers tell exactly? The big story they tell is people have been wanting an easy way to stream their gameplay sessions, yet until the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One they have been constrained to having to use a PC to stream their games. Before next-gen consoles arrived, streaming gameplay footage was reserved only for people that were serious about getting their games out there for everyone to see, but now? Practically anyone can do it.

It also tells a tale about how people enjoy watching not only livestreams, but pre-recorded footage as a whole. For those that are curious about purchasing a game, watching someone livestream the game or watch pre-recorded footage is a great way to gauge if the game is right for them. Thus, this brings me to the main idea of today’s post: what are the best ways to ensure people not only know about your game, but can also see it in action.

No matter how well-written a review may be, sometimes people simply want to watch the game in action. Seeing is certainly believing, and when it comes to people’s hard-earned money, they are more likely to fork over their money and purchase your game if they see that your game looks like something they would enjoy. So what are the best practices for letting players witness your game being played? Here are a few tips.



Livestreaming your game

I mentioned livestreaming via Twitch and UStream in last week’s post “Documenting the Entire Game Development Process,” but in this instance, you will be using the two streaming services in the way they were originally intended. Streaming your game via the two services is quite easy – especially if you are using one of the next-gen consoles to do so.

As for streaming via the PC? It isn’t overly complicated, but it isn’t as simple as pressing a ‘Share’ button like on the PS4. Both Twitch and UStream have helpful articles detailing how to livestream via PC, and if you follow the directions closely you should be up and streaming your game in no time.

I know a lot of you probably want to livestream your mobile games, so never fear. I will have an article coming up detailing exactly how to do this. Probably this week even, so stay tuned.



Etiquette for livestreaming?

Simply streaming your game isn’t enough to entice players to play your game. You also need to ensure that your livestream is as pleasant as possible. I’m sure you have all watched recorded footage of games where you simply want to watch the game in action, yet the yahoo recording the footage won’t shut up.

Rule number 1? Shut up. Play the game without saying anything. After all, you are livestreaming your game so people can make up their mind if they want to purchase the game or not, right? Then knock off the commentary. Allow the game to speak for itself, and let players make up their minds whether or not your game looks like something they would want to play.

Is there a time and a place for doing commentary while livestreaming your game? Absolutely, but not whenever you are trying to introduce your game to the masses. Later down the road, if you find that your game is garnering quite a few players, then build up the commentary livestream and do a livestream with a commentary. Until then, simply let your game speak for itself.



Getting help from ‘Let’s Play’ personalities

While livestreaming is important to ensuring many additional people learn about your game, don’t think only you can livestream your game. Get some help by contacting some ‘Let’s Play’ personalities that livestream games via YouTube. Many people enjoy watching ‘Let’s Play’ personalities play games because of exactly that: their personalities. Some people are simply talented in recording gaming footage while speaking and making witty remarks that keep viewers engaged. Thus, use this to your benefit.

Reach out to some of these ‘Let’s Play’ personalities by contacting them and asking them if they will feature your game on one of their episodes. Tell them you will provide them with a playable build of the game and wait to hear back from them. No, you won’t get a response from everyone, and those that do respond? Don’t expect all of them to say ‘yes.’ Yet the chances of finding someone willing to do a ‘Let’s Play’ starring your game is pretty reasonable.

You can find a great, extensive list of ‘Let’s Play’ personalities here.


Do any of you guys have experience in livestreaming your indie games? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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