How & Where to market a game for Linux ?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by ManuTOO, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. ManuTOO

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hello,

    I recently ported my tennis games to Linux, and in 1 month & half, I got only 2 Linux sales...

    So far, I only did a few posts on my Forum, on my Facebook page, on my Steam Greenlight page and on the top 2 Linux gaming Forum. ( + my latest game is listed on Desura labeled with Linux support)

    I also published my low selling game on the Ubuntu App Store, but so far, got 0 sale (although it's listed to support only the latest version of Ubuntu, while it actually also supports the 12.04 LS, which might be more used, I'd guess ; I asked Canonical to change that, but didn't get any answer so far).

    What else could/should I do ?
    Are there any major Linux download sites to not miss ?

    If you have Windows/Linux games, what % represent your Linux sales ?
     
  2. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Linux sales for me are still quite low, around 10-15% on average, but vary greatly based on the game genre. RPGs/strategy seems to be the best fit for Linux, definitely.
     
  3. Stropp

    Stropp New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    If I build it they shall come... remember that from that baseball movie?

    It might work in a small town in the stix, but really things don't work that way. Especially in todays internet connected world. There's just simply too many games out there. Too much noise. You have to make a bigger sound.

    Listing on App stores only lists your product on an App store. It doesn't get eyes on that listing. That's what you need to do.

    You've done a tiny amount of promotion, and it looks like you're getting the results that follow from that.

    Honestly, that questions makes it sound like you've done a lot already, but in reality you haven't done any marketing yet.

    How many users read your forum and have liked or subbed to your Facebook page?

    If there are lots of facebook fans, remember that currently facebooks edge algorithm only lets about 16% of your fans see a post. They want you to spend to sponsor a post. So what you can do on facebook is to post lots of screenshots and videos for your game. Mix up them up and don't use the same text or do the hardsell, that actually can work against you. If you have spare cash try doing some facebook ads, I don't know how much they cost or even if they'll be effective, but it can be very expensive to sponsor a post.

    Sit down and make a list of Linux blogs, Linux game sites, and Linux whatever. Find out who runs these sites and personally contact them. Whatever you do DO NOT send them messages with Dear Webmaster. Dear John, or Dear Susan is much more effective. And look at the sites try and figure out what makes them tick and use that in your message. If there are Linux Game sites, offer the site owner a free copy of your game (create a special download link from a CDN for this) and ask them if they will mention or review the game in a post.

    I don't use Linux, so I don't know about download sites. Google is your friend (at least for search.)

    Linux traditionally, and I think mentioned on this forum, has been a small fraction of Windows sales, but that may not be indicative of the sales you'll get if you work hard at marketing your game.

    Other than that. There are press release sites where you can issue a PR.

    This is all marketing. It's hard and there is no guarantee of success, but if you don't market your game there is a guarantee of failure.

    Can I suggest you do some learning about marketing? The Duct Tape Marketing website is pretty good. I have two of his books, Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine, and they are both pretty good. Lots of useful advice.
     
  4. HarryBalls

    HarryBalls New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0
    You may want to google phrases like "linux games" and "games for linux". Then contact every site on the first two pages of results to see if it makes sense to work with each site to introduce their audience to your game.
     
  5. ManuTOO

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    4
    Jack Norton,
    I'd be already quite glad to raise my sales by 10% for only 10 days of work..! ;-)
    Do you do anything special for your Linux games ? Or just list them on your website(s) ?

    Stropp,
    I'm going to highlight 2 words of my 1st post, so maybe you won't feel the need to rant :
    only + few = means I consider I didn't do much, don't you think ?
    And one side note : I don't need generic noob advices from someone who never sold a Linux game in his life, thanks...

    HarryBalls,
    I already did such search a few weeks back, but I'm not ended especially enthusiastic by it... The 1st site I got didn't have a contact form, listed very games & news, and had a broken registration form ( => linuxgames.com )...

    There were a few often sites, which mainly looked like some kind of db, but nothing really impressive...

    So if someone had some concrete hints, I'd gladly use them to not lose time contacting a bunch of sites that'll never give any significant results...

    Anybody interested by Linux Game Marketing,
    Here some concrete stuff :
    last month, I posted in ubuntuforums.org & linuxquestions.org , the 2 best Forum results for "Linux Games Forum" ; this month, I got 2 downloads from there ; last month, around 20...
    I won't go anywhere with such numbers, even if I put my games on 100 equivalent sites, and we all know that usually the top 5% of sites make it for 95% of the traffic...
     
  6. Stropp

    Stropp New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry my generic noob advices were't up to your such incredibly high standards...

    Let me also highlight a couple of words from your 1st post.

    Oh, yeah that includes those words you mentioned above, only + few

    Let me include a few other words from that first post.

    Wow! Asking what else to do before you've even exhausted the possibilities in basic marketing.

    I must have mistakenly thought you were expecting serious results after doing such an amazing amount of work.

    So I guess my generic noob advice, not meant as a rant by the way even though you took it as such (over-sensitive much?) was to continue with the basics.

    Get the basics right before you go on to more advanced methods. Focus on one thing at a time, perhaps that is more generic noob advice, but it works.

    By the way that website I listed, Duct Tape Marketing, has been very useful to me in my own business. Sorry that I shared something with you that might actually help you.

    Also, get over yourself. Good business advice isn't solely restricted to the game industry. Sometimes I think there's not a lot of it in the game industry. I do software and I've had some great advice from computer illiterate business associates. Advice that has helped me tremendously at times.

    You'll cut yourself off from a great well-spring of knowledge and experience if you only listen to people in your own small sphere of influence.

    So. There's some more generic 30 years as a software developer and shipped dozens of products noob advice for you. Take it as you want.
     
  7. ManuTOO

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    4
    Stropp,
    my standards are not that high, I just expect answers actually pertaining to my question, and all that without patronizing.

    No idea what's your point. Maybe I wrote too much things after "only + few" so that got you confused, so it's all my wrong..? :confused:

    And yup, I'm asking directions before spending too much time on things that could be unneeded at the end ; that's called looking for the advices of experienced people & that's the goal of this Forum... Crazy, huh ? :rolleyes:

    I'll re-phrase my initial post to make it more clear :

    I know basis of marketing, I don't need noob advices, I've read them all.
    Now, I just ported my games to Linux ; is there any specifics to Linux that I should know to optimize my time spent to market on this platform ?
    A google search for "How to market a Linux game" gave me about nothing ; I just rechecked it, and now this thread is already number 5, so maybe that'd be nice to put some useful advices & data in it... :cool:

    And to end this post, I'm linking this article showing that Linux Market Share on Steam is only 2% => http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTMxNTQ , but it's only 2 weeks after the release of the Linux version of Steam...
     
  8. Stropp

    Stropp New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    I apologize if I came off as patronizing. It wasn't my intention. I wrote that late and tired. I should have re-read it before posting.

    My point though was that you stated that you hadn't done much, and wanted to know what else to do. My response was to keep doing what you had already done, just getting the word out. Everything I've read about marketing indicates that trying a little of everything doesn't produce results. That's what I was getting at, and yes you are right, it really is noob advice. It's amazing how many people ignore it.
     
  9. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    No I just list on my site and send a PR when a new one is out. Usually Linux games are rare so people should be looking for them, at least for now. But depends a lot on the type of game. I honestly don't think sports games and linux are a good match, from my experience is more strategy/RPG/etc that kind of stuff.
     
  10. ManuTOO

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    4
    Stropp,
    apologies accepted, no problem..!

    Jack Norton,
    according by the few reactions I got from my post in the Forums, I'm afraid you're right...

    GolfHacker,
    thanks a lot, that's a great list !

    I'm going to work through all that, and I'll try to report in a few months to let everybody knows the results.
     
  11. SLotman

    Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    9
    @ManuTOO: How hard it was to publish on the Ubuntu Store? Did you have to make a .deb package, or did they build one for you? I tried reading their docs, but I couldn't figure out if the .deb package was mandatory or I should just upload the binaries, what graphics assets were necessary...

    I ask because I just ported my Mahjong game to Ubuntu (I just love Blitzmax and it's portability!), and was hoping to put it on the store...
     
  12. ManuTOO

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    4
    SLotman,
    it was fairly easy to get published on Ubuntu Store (compared to the Mac App Store, that was a walk in a park actually ;) ).
    Only free app have to provide a .deb package . But letting them create a .deb package for you make the process lasts longer (for me, the total was a bit more than 2 weeks). So for my next update, I'll see if I can create the .deb package by myself.
     
  13. GolfHacker

    GolfHacker Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,073
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, and I forgot to mention: if you're using a payment processor like BMT Micro or RegNow that has a good affiliate program, and the game is family-friendly, I'd be happy to consider affiliating the game and sharing it with my customers on my site.

    ManuTOO, I know your tennis games are family-friendly - I've already affiliated them and have them on my site. But I didn't see a link for a Linux version. Is the Linux version not available for affiliation through BMT Micro?
     
  14. ManuTOO

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    4
    GolfHacker,
    the order forms bundled with the games only contain Plimus & Paypal links, so I just sent you a PM with a 5% discount code so you can motivate your visitors to buy the game through your site.
    And I just added the Linux version in my BMT panel..!
     
  15. CyberCod

    CyberCod New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    A couple things about Linux you may or may not be aware of...

    1. Linux podcasts are a big deal. There's lots of them, some are more popular than others... the older it is, the more listeners it probably has. If you can get your game reviewed on Sourcetrunk, or the Linux Link Tech Show, or LottaLinuxLinks, or similar, a lot of linux people would hear about it straight away.

    2. Linux magazines. They're out there, and they're always looking for articles. Shop around, be willing to do interviews over chat (for magazines) and over the phone for podcasts. Be prepared to be recorded and know that many people will eventually hear what you're saying, so try to be mic savvy.

    Good luck!
     
  16. GolfHacker

    GolfHacker Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,073
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks! I'll update my site soon - just finished releasing a new game, so I need a couple of days to recover! hehe
     
  17. ManuTOO

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    4
    Ok, here a mini-report of my Linux marketing activities : in end of May, I went through all the list posted by GolfHacker ; I got the release news on some sites, got some answer from other ones but the news didn't make it (why, oh, why ?), and some other just didn't answer or work.
    Also some sites did some news by themselves before end of May (ie: I never contacted them but they may have been followed my newsletter/FB/twitter), and some other sites later on re-took the news of end of May. All in all, that gave my games some coverage.

    Anyway, after a few months & seeing the results of the few posted news, I don't think Linux is a good platform for my tennis games ; the port time was quite short, so if the sale rate is stable, it'll be paid in "only" a few years... ;)
     
  18. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,385
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is your engine c++/opengl based? If yes, you might want to consider porting your engine to tablets. It might be a bit more work but for the future, it will be a win.

    JC
     
  19. ManuTOO

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    4
    jcottier,
    I use C++ / SDL / OpenGL.
    But I'm not sure the gameplay would be much effective without gamepad nor keyboard ; I never tried a virtual pad on a table, but on iPhone, it's just aweful, while my game needs something quite accurate & responsive.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer