Scott Cawthon just pulled a brilliant trick to advertise his game by trolling the press. Two days ago he posted an announcement saying that his latest game would be delayed because he let himself get too dark with it. The press is of course very fond of this type of stories so some took the bait…

http://www.pcgamer.com/five-nights-at-freddys-sister-location-may-be-delayed-because-its-not-kid-friendly/

http://kotaku.com/five-nights-at-freddys-creator-gives-worst-reason-for-p-1787410638

http://www.gamenguide.com/articles/52439/20161006/five-nights-at-freddys-sister-location-latest-news-updates-games-delay-a-prank.htm

Even a newspaper here posted about it: http://www.journaldequebec.com/2016/10/06/five-nights-at-freddys-sister-location-trop-terrifiant-pour-sortir-demain

Now that the prank is revealed I bet that those who didn’t post about the initial announcement will post about how the whole thing wasn’t true… Talk about advertising your game for cheap…

fivenightstroll

Can all indie devs use this strategy?

Well, if you’re an unknown indie dev and you post as a joke that your game will be delayed for a strange reason, nobody will care. Scott Cawthon is a very successful indie dev so he already has a spotlight on him. If he sneezes, it’s possible the press will talk about it.

With that said, guerrilla marketing isn’t just about pranks made by famous devs. It might be difficult to figure what could work for a lesser known dev but unusual marketing strategies can be cheap so you’re probably not risking much by at least trying.

Backlash?

Of course! But even if Scott Cawthon wouldn’t have pulled this prank, some people would still find another reason to hate him. The moment you release a game, some people will find all kind of reasons to flame you so you might as well get something positive out of it (exposure).

The biggest challenge indie game devs are facing is to fight indifference. When nobody know you even exists you’re going nowhere. I didn’t even know there was a new Five Nights at Freddy’s game coming until I read about this prank so you can’t really say it’s a bad thing.

It’s not just about ads, conferences and press release

I guess it’s the lesson here. Marketing can start by simply keeping a blog (hello there!), being active on Twitter (but don’t just use it for self-promotion) or meeting people. It doesn’t mean it’s easy to get results but it can be easy and cheap to do.

It’s true that the best marketing is to make a game that almost sell by itself but until you get there, there are ways to promote your work that might eventually pay and won’t empty your wallet.

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