The gaming press has changed such a lot recently, and it stands to reason
that indie studios should look for less traditional means to promote their
games. YouTubers can have a big positive impact on your game promotion,
with their audiences often much more receptive to indie game titles.
At this point, I’d like to point you in the direction of the fantastic Pixel
Prospector/VideoGameCaster website. This site is the best thing on the
internet for indie game developers. Featuring pages and pages of ‘Big Lists,’
which provide links to anything and everything indie game development
One such list is their YouTuber database, which is kept updated regularly
and is now hosted on its own unique site:
When you have a playable demo and are Early Access or Beta ready, start
contacting the various YouTubers listed above. You can sort the list
according to the interests of the YouTubers, such as Platformer, Arcade,
Shooter, Fighting, First Person Shooter, Horror, RPG, Adventure, Strategy,
Simulation, Racing and more. If you can get covered by even one or two of
these guys, you could see a boost in interest for your game. Get covered by
one of the larger ones, and your game will hit the fast track!
One high profile indie example is ‘Thomas Was Alone.’ the developer has
gone on record many times to say that the success of the title was helped by
‘Let’s Play’ YouTube videos from Dan Hardcastle (aka Nerd Cubed).
Apparently, the videos prompted a huge surge in popularity for the game.
Bear in mind, as with all media, most will likely not respond. Never be
impatient or rude, but it can be a good idea to follow-up on initial
communications a week or so later. One point to note, and this is the case
with other online and print press, Kickstarter games are becoming less and
less interesting to these guys. You could well have a very hard time trying to
convince them to cover a Kickstarter demo, so it could be best to approach
the coverage from another angle rather than specifying that it is a
As ever with any PR, timing is critical. You need to contact YouTubers
before the game is out, give them access to preview/Beta builds. Leave it too
late and it becomes very difficult to convince them to play your game,
because there are always new games coming out. The launch window is
everything. A good approach can be to send your game out a few weeks in
advance of launch, and tell them that they can play whenever they want.
Try to avoid copyright music tracks, otherwise you will fall foul of
YouTube’s rules (see Monetization Worries below). What this means is that
money would need to go to the composer of the song(s), rather than the
YouTube creator. Naturally, the YouTuber will not want to be in that
situation, so will most likely not cover the game (unless it is a major release).
You also need to consider that YouTubers often select to play games that are
already popular, so using traditional online press can be very important to
getting the attention of YouTubers in the first place. As such, make sure you don’t neglect the more traditional games press coverage; you should see
YouTubers as one segment of a larger press strategy.
In early December 2013, a change in YouTube’s ContentID policy caused
many existing Let’s Play and other video game–related material to be
blocked. This can still cause a few headaches, so make it nice and easy for
everyone and create a valid monetization permission form for video content.
Once again, the excellent guys at Vlambeer are here to help!
Simply fill in the details on their monetization form generator website here:
http://vlambeer.com/toolkit/monetize-generator and all the necessary formswill be instantly generated for you.