If you’re a small developer hoping to make your game a success, you almost certainly want to speak to the press. If you speak to the press, they might write about your game, which means the people who read their outlets might find out about your game, and the people who decide what to promote on the various app stores might find out about it too.
But if, for some peculiar reason, you DON’T want the press to write about your game – perhaps because you’ve got a Bob Dylan-like aversion to publicity – here are some tips.
1. Don’t post in forums.
Journalists love combing forums for information about new games, because that’s where the most dedicated and engaged gamers go to play betas, give feedback, and share information with fellow gamers. If, for some reason, you don’t want the press to learn about your game, steer clear of these invaluable resources.
2. Don’t include high quality assets or relevant information in your press releases
Let’s face it – you’ll probably have to make a press release. The pressure from your partners, financial backers, or your own underlying common sense to seek vital publicity will almost certainly become overwhelming. But there are still things you can do discourage journalists from writing about your game, and one of these things is to include poor screenshots, or no screenshots at all, neglect to record any in-game video, and provide a minimal amount of information.
3. Don’t get your text proofread and localised.
The text you use in your game and in your press releases plays a central role in determining whether or not you get press coverage. If you’re writing text in English when English isn’t your first language, the best way to avoid getting any coverage is to avoid getting your text localised. If you’re a native English speaker, you can achieve similar results by not getting your text professionally sub-edited.
4. Don’t go to conferences.
Going to conference can be a disaster if you want to avoid press coverage. If a journalist has met you and played your game at a conference, they will almost certainly remember it when they are trying to think of games to cover. And even if you manage to evade their attention right up to the point that you release your game, when the journalist sees it on the App Store they are likely to spring into action and write about your game whether you like it or not.
5. Don’t make a good game.
This advice is difficult to follow, because every instinct you have is telling you to make a good game. But if you want to avoid press attention, there’s no better way than to make a bad or boring game. You can achieve this by avoiding feedback throughout the development process. Never invite forum members to play the beta, never take it to conferences for feedback, and never engage the services of an experienced professional game consultant. These simple steps won’t guarantee that your game will be bad, but they will dramatically increase your chances of making a game that isn’t worth covering.