Marketing a new product is difficult, and it’s even harder when it’s your first ever product. In this article we will be analyzing how Elliott Marc Jones turned his first ever video game, which was mediocre at best into a commercial and critical success.
It’s no secret that Elliott, the developer behind IGS’ number one rated game thinks that his game Redactem is not that great. In multiple online posts and interviews he’s mentioned that his initial vision of the perfect video game was very different to what he ended up releasing to the Steam and IndieGameStand stores in August of 2016.
Redactem’s biggest claim to fame is being the highest rated game ever released on the IGS gaming platform, however Elliott even admits himself that he used his knowledge of the underdeveloped rating system on the site to make his game rank higher. You see, IGS’ rating system is hardly used by players on the site, and even games that sell well only get a few reviews. Searching online, we can see exactly how Elliott managed to get so many reviews for his game on the site. On Redactem’s Steam store page, which did get a lot of natural reviews, Elliott replied to a lot of users who reviewed his game and encouraged them to also leave an honest review on Redactem’s Metacritic and IGS pages. Because of this, many of Redactem’s Steam players left a review on it’s IGS page, boosting it to highest rate game on the service.
After becoming the number one rated game on the site, it was also shortly on the top sellers list, which indicates that being the top rated game drove a lot of new sales. This is the first time we have seen a game developer use review crossposting, but I’m sure we will see a lot of developers using this method in the future, as it is genius.
We know from an article he wrote on his advertising companies’ website that another way Elliott boosted Redactem’s online presence was by creating secret cheat codes. He simply added a cheat code menu to the game, but didn’t release any codes. Just a few days after release hundreds of players were posting on the game’s discussion pages asking about the cheat codes and it created a community around the game which would have otherwise not existed as the game is not multiplayer. Elliott never released the cheat codes but eventually they were found out by some members of the community by simply brute forcing the game’s cheat code engine, testing every code.
The last thing we know that Elliott did to boost Redactem’s sales was extremely smart. He created partnerships with large gaming communities to periodically give away a few hundred product keys for his game. In order for people to get a free copy of the game they had to complete multiple tasks like share Redactem’s trailers and store pages on social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter. Looking at the data available on SteamSpy, we know that the days following each small giveaway, Redactem’s user base grew by thousands of new players meaning by giving away his game for free, Elliott actually managed to gain more sales thanks to clever marketing and PR.