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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Indie Game Joe

Winner in Launch Campaign


The marketing strategy for "DON'T SCREAM" was conceived alongside the game's development, aiming to leverage its unique microphone mechanic and Halloween release timing for maximum impact. Recognizing the potential for organic growth, my goal was to engage directly with streamers and the gaming community, fostering a viral spread of interest without traditional advertising expenses.

My specific objectives were:

With just a two-week pre-launch marketing window and Halloween around the corner, I focused on creating maximum buzz with a gameplay reveal trailer and a strategic announcement on October 13th, enhancing the game's thematic connection to Halloween. This timing was crucial in positioning 'DON'T SCREAM' as the go-to choice for streamers and players during the Halloween season.

This strategy led to 140,000 wishlist additions before launch, 100,000 copies sold in the first week, and a strong viral online presence—all without any marketing expenditure. By leveraging timing, social engagement, and the game's distinctive mechanic, "DON'T SCREAM" was effectively its own best promoter.

Ultimately, my marketing for "DON'T SCREAM" was designed to make the game its own best promoter, capitalizing on timing, social engagement, and its distinctive gameplay mechanic.

Strategy and Execution

Bringing My Project to Life
The journey to bring my game to life started from a unique intersection of my game design expertise and marketing savvy, driven by a vision to design a game that essentially markets itself. My inspiration drew from a diverse range of sources, each highlighting the power of interactive challenges and unexpected reactions:

These elements inspired me to create a horror game explicitly tailored for streamers, introducing a novel twist: if you scream, you restart. This concept led to the game's name, "DON'T SCREAM." I believed that the challenge of remaining silent would intrigue streamers, confident in its potential to capture their interest. This unique feature naturally incentivizes streamers to share and play the game, further promoting it by tapping into their inherent desire to engage and entertain their audience. Launched during the Halloween season on October 27, 2023, "DON'T SCREAM" was designed to captivate horror enthusiasts and leverage the communal aspect of fear, making it an ideal choice for horror streamers and their viewers.

Strategic Planning and Execution
My action plan was twofold: develop a game that inherently markets itself through its unique concept and execute a targeted outreach to horror game enthusiasts and influencers. I embarked on meticulous research to curate a list of content creators and journalists with a pronounced interest in horror. This groundwork was crucial for personalizing pitches and leveraging the snowball effect of social virality. For instance, securing a feature by a major player like IGN provided leverage in subsequent outreach, showcasing the game's appeal and encouraging more coverage.

Key Features and Unique Selling Proposition
The unique selling proposition of my game lies in its innovative integration of gameplay with natural human reactions, offering a refreshing take on the horror genre. This integration not only elevates the gaming experience but also promotes social interaction among players and viewers, sharing the excitement of the challenge. By targeting streamers as the primary marketing channel, I leveraged community engagement, utilizing the streamers' reach to attract a broader audience.

Challenges and Overcoming Them
One of the most daunting challenges was announcing the game without a marketing budget or initial media buzz. Starting from zero, without financial backing or a pre-existing fan base, seemed like insurmountable obstacles. However, by weaving the game's marketing strategy into its design from the beginning, I ensured that its concept would naturally resonate with the intended audience. This strategic fusion meant that each aspect of the game was crafted with marketability in mind, transforming potential setbacks into opportunities. Focusing on creating a game that not only entertains but also fosters community engagement, I overcame these challenges, showcasing that innovation and strategic insight can overcome financial limitations.


My efforts are deemed a success because the results directly aligned with and exceeded my initial objectives. My goal was to design a game that not only captivated players but also stood out in a crowded market. Successfully executing a flawless marketing strategy, everything unfolded as planned. This strategic alignment led to the game selling over 160,000 copies and gaining over 260,000 wishlist additions, a testament to its market appeal and the effectiveness of the marketing approach.

The visibility of the game, evidenced by millions of viewers and extensive coverage by dozens of notable media outlets, was not by chance but the result of a meticulously planned and executed marketing strategy. This widespread recognition contributed to the game's ongoing success, with thousands of copies still being sold monthly.

The significant sales figures and continued monthly sales serve as concrete indicators of success. These achievements not only reflect the game's market viability but also validate the effectiveness of the marketing strategy I designed and implemented. This success is not solely measured by sales but also by the game's ability to penetrate the market, create buzz, and maintain momentum, aspects that were central to my objectives. Therefore, I consider my efforts a success because they resulted in tangible outcomes that surpassed my initial goals, demonstrating the game's appeal and the strategic marketing's impact. All of the above was achieved by myself, without any marketing budget, and I am immensely proud of my work and the results.


Video for Indie Game Joe

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Indie Game Joe