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Getting personal with the press, and getting coverage for your game
by John Polson on 08/11/14 05:52:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


The following video is a presentation I gave at the Full Indie Summit in Vancouver, BC this weekend, with the goal of introducing indies to a different way to consider the press: not as one entity, but as individuals who are well worth being known by name, face, and approach to their craft. Along with my own commentary, (from top left) Tracey Lien from Polygon, Justin Davis of IGN, Chris Priestman from Pocket Gamer, Mary Kish from GameSpot's The Lobby, Patrick Klepek from Giant Bomb, Justin McElroy from Polygon, Jamin Warren from Kill Screen, Jess Conditt from Joystiq, and (no picture submitted) Chloi Rad from Indie Statik all lend their insights and anecdotes to suggest what makes good stories throughout a game's dev cycle. 

I've seen a lot of great talks that give examples of how to reach out to the press at large, and yet, I think most developers feel dismayed when they follow the "presskit and press release formula" only to yield no results. I think this might shed a light on what individual writers are looking for when you reach out to them, and what they like to hear.

The last part of the talk also contains some interesting comments on "pitching exclusives," too.

Mike Rose on Gamasutra gave a great presentation last GDCE that polled hundreds of journalists on their job, in case you want an additional source to read up on press behaviors, in general. Several of these anecdotes echo parts of Mike's poll, but it's great to hear concrete examples of how each writer handles stories, and it's excellent practice to start learning these experts of games journalism by face and name.

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Brian McRae
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Great talk and video as this really hits home for us. We've been finding that most of the press coverage we get usually spawns out of our studio being a husband/wife team, and the hardships we go through daily to make it all work. If they like our story, then they may stay to hear more about our games.

It makes sense in a lot of ways. In the fine art world, the piece is judged first by its inspiration and the journey the artist took to accomplish it. It's great this is happening for games, and studios who get more personal with their work could reach audiences on a more personal level.

Thanks again for posting.

Vasily Yourchenko
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I'm beginning to think that the reason Youtube reviewers have grown so popular is that they largely focus on covering games while traditional press focuses on human stories.

Marvin Papin
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When you wonder "hey I've heard spoken of that game, what could it looks like !", if you do like most people. You open a new Internet Browser window, go to youtube, where you're barely sure to find directly a video if the game is quite popular. And then you directly find gameplay, to check what it's all about OUTSIDE of trailer and to check if it worth it. It's quite fast, mostly objective and do not focus on best part.

In the press, that's often about text an text and some chosen pics and trailers. When they test the game mostly it's about 15min. When you have 40 min of gameplay but don't wanna spoil yourself, you just overview the progress bar and check the overall diversity of the game.

Fast and enough special or large to build your own opinion. With eventually somebody from who you do already know it's global opinion from video games. While mostly you don't even know who a press site writer do look like. Sure a 70yo grandma could have a quite different opinion even if it's often not relevant.


Luis Guimaraes
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Mary's example about competition is spot on. On our first game we had spare T-Shirts of the game and we made a challenge during a fair and players made huge queue lines to try and go back to re-try the challenge until one lone guy finally beat our challenge by the end of the afternoon. Players really got into it.