Pressin’ It Forward: Developers Helping Each Other To Gain Exposure

Pressin' It Forward

Exposure. That’s what indie games need, isn’t it? The teams are being assembled, the games are being made, but how can they make sure people know they’re even alive? It’s a question that haunts many developers, and one that many have tried to answer, but there’s no sure way of getting press or players interested. That’s not to say there’s no point in trying; in fact, that’s actually more of a reason to try out new paths to exposure – what have you got to lose?

That’s the sentiment I picked up while talking to Hrvoje Horvatek from Ironward about his new initiative, Pressin’ It Forward, which he’s currently in the process of launching with Robert Dukes of Commotion Games, and which they hope will score them more press and general interest in their games, and they hope for it to spread to other developers too.

“I was talking with Robert about how most games that do get a lot of attention either contain pixel art (which is very popular these days) or are AAA games. And our games that are neither AAA and have standard graphics, but are different in gameplay, have a very hard time getting some press coverage, and most of the time end up being ignored by press. So we decided to contact developers and create a page where we can exchange our communities, and sign it with the badge “Pressin’ It Forward”. It’s similar to the Brian Fargo initiative, “Kicking It Forward”, so that gave me an idea to start something similar so that everyone can benefit from it.”

So Pressin’ It Forward works based on an honor system in which developers band together to help each other out in the marketing and public relations of their games. They’ll share press contacts, unique and exciting ideas for events, use each other’s communities to increase player exposure and just about anything they can think of. It’s developers giving each other a hand up where they can, rather than having to resort to going to a third party who will need paying to attempt to get further exposure for themselves and their games.

Hand Up, Not A Hand Out

The Red Solstice

You’ll notice in the top right of the image about that a Pressin’ It Forward badge is displayed prominently. This is how developers will be able to find others that will be willing to help them out, so if they feel the need, they can get in contact and ask for help with reaching out to the public about their game. Robert chimed in on this bit:

“It’s hard work getting out there promoting a game, while trying to make it, and organizing a team and other challenges that might arise. With Pressin’ It Forward, we are developers who are selling games currently, in Alpha stages, in Beta stages, are popular and not so popular. We have a lot advice and ideas to share with aspiring developers, and we are more than happy to do so.”

Pressin’ It Forward is open for anyone to join and start spreading their knowledge to help other developers. There is an emphasis on keeping the focus on games that are typically ignored by the press, though. And you will need to send an email with details of your game and have at least a trailer for it to get approved to be part of Pressin’ It Forward. Basically, the more organized you are and the more you’re struggling with getting word out about your game, the more likely you will be approved to be part of the Pressin’ It Forward campaign.

“In the beginning, Pressin’ it Forward will focus on games that have at least some community to boost the creation of the campaign. Then, once Pressin’ it Forward is a recognized brand, it can branch out to smaller and smaller developers.”

Having only just started off, the only members of Pressin’ It Forward so far are Ironward and Commotion Games, with Dejan of Underrail about to join too. The hope is that by the end of the month, six or seven developers will be part of the initiative and things will continue to expand from there. The question of how effective this will all be is one that won’t be answered for a while, and much of it will most likely depend on the ideas the group of developers can come up with. Considering that, I asked Hrvoje what they had planned at the moment:

“The first idea is to exchange our communities – let players know similar and good games exist. This is done by using our “Pressin’ It Foward” badge. Developers put it on their website and everybody can see it and click it. Secondly, we will use social media to support each other, like if a new game gets added or the state of game changes, we will all post it across our social media. This can be extremely useful if it concerns a game with a genre or style similar to our own, as we know our players will also enjoy it. Maybe later down the road we’ll even make groups of developers for Pressin’ It Forward that all have games that exist within a certain genre. Lots of ideas, but it’s still in the creation stage, so we just have to see how it goes and react accordingly for now.”

Pressin’ It Forward has been a long time coming. A lot of developers have mentioned how handy it would be for those in similar positions to help each other out, or for those who are able to to get press easily or have built up big communities, to share some of the wealth. This is the first effort that intends to actually do something about it, though, and has an organized structure with an approval process too, which may seem counter-productive, but Hrvoje and Robert have set out to ensure that good games that deserve the attention are being catered for here. Obviously, that method of quality of control is entirely subjective, but for this to work as the founders hope, it seems it requires some form of exclusivity – I think the quotation is: “If everyone is special, then no one is.”

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  • Jamal Sakeem

    This idea has a lot of Potential! I am excited to see how it evolves moving forward.

  • Sean Hogan

    Thanks for showing this, Chris – I’ve applied! Wonder how it’ll turn out.