Pitching Your Game off a Cliff


Imagine you’re that cartoon coyote that runs himself off a cliff and gets left treading air.

You have about 8 seconds to sort things out out before you’re a distant plume of dust on the canyon floor below.

Photo by Dmitry Kornienko from FreeImages

Your average viewer spends about the same amount of time (6-10 seconds) looking at a trailer or video ad. If you’re talking about a blog or press release, that’s 30 to 50 words at an average reading speed. Modern marketing tells us that visual content is way more effective than the written word, so we’ll concentrate there.

So let’s meet in the middle at 8 seconds. Now, the coyote is your game pitch. Step off the cliff and give it a try. Seriously stop reading this and give it a try.

How’d it go?

Success or a Plume of Dust?

If you’re clocking in at 10-15 seconds, don’t worry about it! You clearly have a good handle on what your game is, and what you want players to take a way from your media. Here are a few more examples:

An atmospheric action brawler in a hip-hop purgatory.

Daybringer – Dark Lab Games

A frantic mobile arcade game about rescuing cats in space with laser lassos.

Intergalactic Cat Rescue –

Cantankerous Games Inc.

Capture and build your animal team in an ever-changing tactical battle for dominance.

Battle Barn Tactics – Skullbox Games

On the other hand, if you find yourself at 30 seconds or more, and using phrases like, “Well, it’s kind of like this game, but…” then you need to look at refining your pitch.

In addition to not resonating with customers or media, a confused or long pitch can mean:

  • You haven’t defined your core gameplay loop, that’s the key repeatable element in your game that keeps players engaged and having fun.
  • You’re trying to be too many things to too many people. Understand who your audience is and why your game will appeal to them. Talk to those people.
  • You can’t articulate what makes your game distinct – the hook that draws people in. Whether it’s a game mechanic, art style, or a unique take on a classic, your pitch should encapsulate that.

Problems in your pitch can be a clear sign that your game isn’t where you want it to be. Getting that pitch down to a tight 6-10 seconds will not only help your marketing, but also give you a lens to evaluate your game’s development and explore where you need to make changes to bring a better product to market.

Need help refining your pitch?

Sign up for a 90-minute marketing consultation on Patreon, or get in touch.

Happy Game Dev, Talk soon!

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