Dirk Van Welden from gamestudio I-Illusions, known from Space Pirate Trainer, talks about the gaming sector in Belgium en about the platform Steam. He gives his advice on how to do your marketing and communication and why releasing a game is an international affair.
"Belgium has a lot more game companies than it did five years ago."
In Belgium, games are featured less prominently in the media, than in other countries like for example the USA or Canada. Perhaps tha's because the sector isn't huge, but compared to five years ago, we've got a lot more game companies. That's in large part due to VA, the Flanders Audiovisual Fund, to provide funding to new small businesses that make games, but also DAE, the great game training in Kortrijk.
“Steam is a helpful tool and can be a catalyst.”
Before Steam was a curated platform to release your game. Now it is open for everybody with over 20 new games per day. Every game generally gets a lot of visibility, but depending on how many times it is seen of sold, it will be shown more or less often. An important advice before your games comes out on Steam: put some efforts in promoting your games on other channels so that it is already known.
"Never send mass e-mails to the press."
Social media are very important. It happens that followers of followers pick up something which gets the press's attention and lands it in a magazine. We send out very concise, personalised e-mails, directly to the right people. We never write mass e-mails to the press, as they're ineffective. Participing in competitions and the winning of awards can also be a way to enlarge your network and to get interesting information when your present at the ceremony.
"Releasing a game is always an international affair."
The United States, the UK and Germany count for more than half of our turnover. In those countries you need to put in the most effort to get in the media. If you appear for example in the American or British press, that usually spreads to the media in other countries as well. For some countries it can be important to translate your game, for other it is best to work with a publisher.
"Ask why a game should be made."
If you want to make a game, than improve what's there. Another reason is making something new, so it's much easier to attract attention from the press and from the public. In addition to those two important reasons, passion is very important to successfully make a game. Every time a game is made, it is a bit of a miracle and hopefully it's successful as well.
This video has been made in collaboration with video production company Cnocspot.