This week, the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco has brought with it a tidal wave of news and information. There are also a large number of talks and presentations, which take place during the week. One of these was a panel by Nick Popovich, co-founder and CEO of Monomi Park, the makers of Slime Rancher. In his presentation, he discussed how to make your game stand out in a crowded market, and how to sell it with gifs.
Popovich discussed at length different ways to make a game stand out in a crowd. He founded his talk on the point that, when you sell a game to someone, you are also asking for their time. “Your game is what customers buy from you, and time is what you buy from them,” said Popovich.
He goes on to talk about how you are actually competing, not just against other games, but also against anything else that people may fill their time with, such as social media or streaming services. Due to this, he suggests finding something to make you stand out, which is where gifs come in.
Gifs are huge on social platforms, especially the likes of Twitter. They can be used to convey short snippets of information quickly and easily. Popovich suggests trying to sum up your game’s core selling points and using those to create gifs.
“Can you present your core gameplay loop in a gif,” Popovich asked. “Can you show that in a span of five or six seconds?” He continued, “If you can give someone a sense of what it’s like to play your game, if they can understand it, if they can picture themselves playing your game, you’ve accomplished a huge step.”
Another important thing Popovich mentions is continuing to support your game, with updates, ports, or DLC. He called this "adding a pulse to your game" and said, “I believe your game needs a pulse to survive. Games with a beating heart have a far better chance of staying on the charts.”
Popovich has certainly been able to put this into practice. His studio's debut title, Slime Rancher, sold over 1.8 million copies while in Early Access. It has since had a full release and still benefits from regular updates and increasing sales figures.
You can read a more in depth review of Popovich’s talk over at Gamasutra.