In a new Gamasutra feature
, Betable's Tyler York examines the concept of the minimum viable game -- which requires a small but statistically significant base of testers to try. How do you find them?
"In my experience," writes York, "a simple forum post by an indie developer asking for participants is usually well received. The advantage of using this tactic to get your initial group of testers is that the players will already have a relationship with you when they try your game. This means they will be more likely to forgive your game's experimental quality and give you valuable feedback."
That personal connection is something York sees as valuable. "As long as you communicate to your users that this is a test game and you're looking for feedback, you should still be able to get some sympathy from a paid player base."
Paid player base?
"Another method for acquiring test players is to use paid traffic," writes York. "The advantage of paid advertising is that you have the ability to turn on traffic whenever you need to test something. While this does require a crash course in internet marketing, with some basic targeting you can keep your costs in a reasonable boundary."
"Certain platforms, such as Facebook, offer laser targeting options that let you sort by game type, age/gender and even crazy stuff like marital status. On mobile platforms, you would probably want to target your ads by publisher, so that your ad is only shown in other games of the same genre."
"The disadvantage is that this doesn't give you nearly the same connection with your players as the community outreach method, but you can still collect feedback with a plug-and-play widget such as UserVoice, or simply by offering your email," he writes.
The full feature, which goes into detail on the minimum viable game -- and the business idea which spawned it -- is live now on Gamasutra