In the past two weeks I've sent many emails to YouTubers about Human Extinction Simulator. I'm still far from done and it's worth mentioning that for now I mostly focused on YouTubers with a small audience. Why not go straight to the "big ones"? Simply because that's what everyone else is doing.
While doing this I realized how difficult it must be to establish yourself as a YouTuber just like it is for an indie dev. There are tons of people doing videos of games out there so being able to shine just a little in this sea seems like an unsolvable puzzle. Both for indie devs and YouTubers, making sure that people actually know you exists is the #1 difficulty. You might be doing good things but if I don't even know you're doing them then what good is it really ...
Just like indie game development it'd be unfair to define success or failure as simply as "you do a good job" or "you do a bad job". Many things are at play here and you can't overlook anything. Here's how I think some might improve their chance a bit.
Ideas for YouTubers
Am I about to give advice to YouTubers? I guess I am. It's usually going the other way but I've heard so many advice as an indie dev that I must have become infected with "advice giving" or something.
Play something different
Yes. I know. People want to see Minecraft videos so you make Minecraft videos but thousands already post these. If I type "let's play minecraft" on YouTube I just won't find your video.
But if you play games that nobody is searching for then you won't get any more views? Well that's called building your own audience. Instead of trying to get your tiny share of the pie from some "gold rush" start working on something that sets you apart and this doesn't mean acting all weird when recording your video.
Have you ever told indie devs that they should do something else than just "yet another zombie game" or "yet another generic platformer"? Well this goes for you too. Don't show me "yet another Minecraft video" because if I want to see one I'll just find the most popular ones and watch those instead. It might take time but surely you're not in it for overnight success right?
"Indie games" doesn't just mean the top 10 sellers list on Steam
Some people complain that there are "too many games" or more precisely that it's just impossible to find the few games you might really enjoy when there are so many. Many players are watching videos to figure if they might enjoy some game but if I want to know if I might enjoy FTL I'll find and watch this video.
There are hundreds of lesser known indie games and you have an incredible opportunity to maybe be the only one to talk about a few specific titles. People don't want to hear about these games? Have you ever wondered if they knew about these games at all! Sure, you probably won't get a million of views right away but there's an opportunity here to create your niche and grow it.
Indie devs are your friends
If you only knew how excited I become when I see in my inbox someone interested in my game ... I will gladly send you a copy of it and take time to answer your questions. Of course if you try to contact someone busy doing an interview to PC Gamer you might not have much success but if you try to contact someone like me you're pretty much guaranteed an answer in the following 5 minutes.
Indie devs and YouTubers both struggle to build an audience and there's no good reason why we should work isolated from each others. There's an opportunity to work together.
If my game receives some nice exposure tomorrow there will be four YouTubers that might see a sudden increase of views on their videos and maybe even subscribers because these are currently the only four videos of the game. If one of these four YouTubers suddenly reach a wider audience then my game will also benefit from it.
Sure, it's probably better for me to hope that TotalBiscuit talks about my game instead of you and yes I will email him too but that's what everyone else is doing. The point is to try something else. Do something different. Take baby steps and maybe it might just result in something good.
What if this post goes viral?
Well it probably won't but what if it would? Well, thousands of people reading it would find at the end the video you made of some new and fun indie game few people have seen yet. A game dev promoting YouTubers? As I said there's no reason why we can't work together. We really are facing the same challenge.
AyotoGaming - First Look: Human Extinction Simulator
Play 2 Win - First Look Gameplay and Review - Human Extinction Simulator https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmeSKCKDkeY
Vortac Vids - Human Extinction Simulator - Gameplay Quick Look
TheGeorgeington - Human Extinction Simulator - First Look