Indie game developer stresses importance of digital marketing

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Indie game developer stresses importance of digital marketing

A screenshot of Snow Games' mobile game "Gleam of Fire" / Courtesy of Snow Games

By Baek Byung-yeul

Snow Games CEO Kim Su-min
Kim Su-min established his own game company Snow Games in 2017. As a solo developer, Kim developed the mobile action game "Gleam of Fire" after a year of production and received a warm reception from gamers, topping charts including Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.

While Kim invested about a year into producing "Gleam of Fire," he also spent about six months promoting the game.

"I've seen a lot of quality indie games produced by Korean developers. Sadly, many of them failed to win users' attention due to lack of promotional efforts," Kim told The Korea Times, Friday. "I feel like I am always short on time for promoting my game. Spending more time promoting products is as important as developing quality games."

As a solo developer, Kim chose to utilize social media. He especially spent more time building up his own network within online communities for indie game developers worldwide.

"There are two ways to promote your games. One is spending big money on advertising and marketing agencies and another is using social media. As a solo developer I chose the latter because using a marketing agency needs more time to see the effect of publicity unless you pay big money," Kim said.

With Kim's efforts, he could promote his games worldwide, as "Gleam of Fire" was introduced through blogs, podcasts and broadcasters in many countries.

"Within the community for indie developers, we promote each other's games. Thanks to my promotional efforts, I was able to let my game become known in European countries such as Germany, Romania and Turkey and even in Iraq," Kim said.

"Gleam of Fire" was well-received especially from game fans in Western countries who enjoyed Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. series and Capcom's Mega Man series.

"In terms of game genres, they are categorized as 2D action platformers, in which a player controls a character to jump and climb on a single screen while dodging obstacles," he said.

Kim also emphasized the importance of market analysis. To make a successful game, he chose to develop a 2D action platformer game because the genre is relatively easier for a solo developer and no one had been focused on this kind of genre when he decided to develop the game.

"The biggest reason why I developed Gleam of Fire is I am a fan of 2D platformer games. When I began developing Gleam of Fire, games where you breed or tame something were popular mobile games. So I focused on developing a game that other developers don't give attention to," Kim explained.

"Gleam of Fire" won first place for fan favorite of the week at the 2018 Game Development World Championship (GDWC), an annual competition for game developers.

"Gleam of Fire won first place for fan favorite of the week at the GDWC among 16 nominees. It was the most meaningful award to me as this award is given by fans," Kim said.

Kim's game was also recognized here, winning a "Game of the Month" award by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) in September 2018. The state-run agency said the game succeeded in appealing to users who were desperate to play the latest platformer games.


A screenshot of Snow Games' mobile game "Gleam of Fire" / Courtesy of Snow Games

By Baek Byung-yeul

Snow Games CEO Kim Su-min
Kim Su-min established his own game company Snow Games in 2017. As a solo developer, Kim developed the mobile action game "Gleam of Fire" after a year of production and received a warm reception from gamers, topping charts including Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.

While Kim invested about a year into producing "Gleam of Fire," he also spent about six months promoting the game.

"I've seen a lot of quality indie games produced by Korean developers. Sadly, many of them failed to win users' attention due to lack of promotional efforts," Kim told The Korea Times, Friday. "I feel like I am always short on time for promoting my game. Spending more time promoting products is as important as developing quality games."

As a solo developer, Kim chose to utilize social media. He especially spent more time building up his own network within online communities for indie game developers worldwide.

"There are two ways to promote your games. One is spending big money on advertising and marketing agencies and another is using social media. As a solo developer I chose the latter because using a marketing agency needs more time to see the effect of publicity unless you pay big money," Kim said.

With Kim's efforts, he could promote his games worldwide, as "Gleam of Fire" was introduced through blogs, podcasts and broadcasters in many countries.

"Within the community for indie developers, we promote each other's games. Thanks to my promotional efforts, I was able to let my game become known in European countries such as Germany, Romania and Turkey and even in Iraq," Kim said.

"Gleam of Fire" was well-received especially from game fans in Western countries who enjoyed Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. series and Capcom's Mega Man series.

"In terms of game genres, they are categorized as 2D action platformers, in which a player controls a character to jump and climb on a single screen while dodging obstacles," he said.

Kim also emphasized the importance of market analysis. To make a successful game, he chose to develop a 2D action platformer game because the genre is relatively easier for a solo developer and no one had been focused on this kind of genre when he decided to develop the game.

"The biggest reason why I developed Gleam of Fire is I am a fan of 2D platformer games. When I began developing Gleam of Fire, games where you breed or tame something were popular mobile games. So I focused on developing a game that other developers don't give attention to," Kim explained.

"Gleam of Fire" won first place for fan favorite of the week at the 2018 Game Development World Championship (GDWC), an annual competition for game developers.

"Gleam of Fire won first place for fan favorite of the week at the GDWC among 16 nominees. It was the most meaningful award to me as this award is given by fans," Kim said.

Kim's game was also recognized here, winning a "Game of the Month" award by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) in September 2018. The state-run agency said the game succeeded in appealing to users who were desperate to play the latest platformer games.


Baek Byung-yeul baekby@koreatimes.co.kr


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