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April 18, 2021
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Self-publishing myths and realities, well more myths

by Kadri Ugand on 04/28/16 10:30:00 am   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.


Many studios decide to self publish in the hopes of larger revenues or as a result of failed publisher pitching. Often publishers are looked at as marketing and user acquisition partners, so making a good game and hiring a marketing person should be enough. Not quite.

1. Marketing and PR can make any game a success. Nope.

Before continuing to self publish, the game itself needs to be good enough to retain users. Pouring water into a bucket with holes in it will not result in a full bucket ;) Similarly bringing players to the game is a waste of time and money if the game cannot retain users. Short and long term retention, virality and monetization mechanisms need to be in place before launching the game.

2. Marketing and PR will make your game make money. Nope.

PR does not matter for F2P games. If you get a mention in press, you might get 100 more players, which in the long run will not make a difference. Community building on the other hand is something that works, contributes to long term retention, brand recognition and also provides you a database of players to direct to your next games in the future.

3. More user acquisition equals more revenue. Nope.

User acquisition is a math game today with a lot of trial and error. All that with real money. Bad targeting means the players will not stay in the game or make any purchases. When you make mistakes, they will be expensive. Practicing and learning user acquisition is better done in a country where users are cheaper making the mistakes cost less.

4. Global launch is global launch. Nope.

Launching needs to be specific to account geography, languages, platforms and sometimes even politics. The sequence of launching on various platforms can make a huge difference in featuring opportunities. Price point in different regions of the world need to be optimised for local purchasing power. Payment options have to correspond to the technology available and habits of the specific market.

5. After launching sit back and check the bank account. Nope.

While sitting back and counting money is the way to go with premium, with F2P games a lot of work awaits upon launch. Keeping the players entertained, coming back and eventually purchasing is the goal. Managing a community and live ops make players happy and keep them in the game. Like in real stores- people buy more when things are on sale.

Many statements and ideas are inspired by Gabby Dizon from Altitude Games, the fabulous mentor at GameFounders.

To apply for GameFounders, go to

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