edited in Questions and Answers
The release date for my game is coming up soon. In the time I'm not spending making new bugs, I've been emailing medium sized streamers that play stuff like my game. About zero of them have even replied to my emails.
Unrelated to those, via email I've received probably 100 "gimme key and our super cool site will review it" mails. Sort of like this one:
Hello everyone,

My name is xxx. I represent the homepage Our team is in charge for writing game reviews, announcing news and everything about games.
We are offering you mutually advantageous cooperation. Our audience would be glad to see a game review for Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse and we would be happy to write it for our audience.
The advertisement for your game is ensured. We need only the information we can use for writing our review.
I kindly ask you to provide us with a few key for our team. It allows us not only to play the game, learn all the best sides of it, but also to write a qualitative, objective view about your game which will be read by our audience.
We really hope that it will attract more new player into your game.

xxx and xxx Team.
Is it ever worth replying to any of these?

Does anyone have any lists (or some better strategy than "email writers on twitter") for contacts at bigger game review sites?



  • This thread touched a bit on the topic.

    I have one game on Steam since a few years ago and still receive these types of emails on a weekly basis, best thing to do is ignore them, they just want the keys to resell on the gray market. If you want to peruse some of them that look legit, get in contact with them directly on YouTube using the YouTube messenger system or go to the site and use the emails provided there. That's my approach currently.
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • This was covered by a bunch of smart people in some mailing list I'm in. Here are a couple of their thoughts (mainly on content creators, but same logic applies):

    From the Polybridge people:

    From the Adult Swim marketing/events person:

    I think these are pretty good guidelines when your keys are infinite like on Steam.
    Does anyone have any lists (or some better strategy than "email writers on twitter") for contacts at bigger game review sites?
    Even if you have the contacts, getting the attention of these sites is unlikely to impossible these days. They just have so much content. The usual advice is: personalise the email; avoid sending emails around big events; have a Gif + key in the email.

    But even with this advice, it's hard to get attention. I use 'Streak' to do emails, and even when people open the email, it's like 1% that writes about you or replies. The only reliable method I have seen for press is going to shows like PAX East and hustling press to play your game - they are way more likely to do it than over email. That's of course, really hard/expensive to do.

    It's much easier once you have a personal relationship with the press, but you have to get there first. I'm working on a talk about this very subject at the moment, so hopefully it'll be useful!
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  • This is funny because I come from the other side of this - being a legitimate journalist with a large body of work going back nearly 20 years that's largely offline (magazines) - so on the odd occasion when I request access to games I always feel like they're going to think I'm a scammer and it makes me very hesitant to make contact (internationally - I know the locals know me, at least).

    I have a few thoughts here:

    • A personal connection is always best but I realise that's incredibly hard when you're in South Africa and the journalists you want to target are all overseas. If you do manage to develop a relationship/someone legitimate shows interest, keep at it. We are inundated with requests and content and often the best intentions go unrealised. For me specifically games can only become a focus when I am being paid; the rest of the time, because I'm doing it for free for my own web site, it becomes an "as and when". Consequently I have things on the pile that I've desperately wanted to do but have had no time to devote to it. (In fact, more than one @Bensonance related item, as an example -- I'm sorry!) However keep at it - that relationship is very important and at some point when something relevant comes up you/your game will pop into those people's heads. (ie they may not have time to review it but at some point they might need to do an emergency "Things You Should Check Out On Steam/Xbox" listicle or something equally silly and they're going to go with what's on their radar. This is one thing I've never been able to get local PR people to understand - you need to keep me informed at all times (YOU don't get to decide what's relevant for me; I decide that) - because in an emergency I always go with what I have on hand. I can't tell you the opportunities some PR people representing big brands have missed (in magazines with massive readership, too) because they deem me "unworthy" because I haven't done something when they want it... but I digress - the point is: keep the relationship alive.)

    • I recall Team Laserbeam being very excited about a couple of great YouTubers who had featured their games. Target those people, even if they're small. The small content creators really need all the help they can get now since YouTube has decided to destroy all the little people. Having someone small put your name in the title of the video (ie picked up by search engines including Google and DuckDuckGo) is better than having no one do anything. You already have a problem because no one knows how to spell "vicious" so you have to get "llama apocalypse" out there and ranking any way you can. Actually I'm not sure people know how to spell "llama" or "apocalypse" either... :)

    • If you cannot get the attention of the big players you're going to have to start with small people and hope it percolates upwards. The advice above is really good. Check out the people - if they seem like legit journalists/reviewers/web sites/YouTubers, give them a key. If you want to dive deeper see when the site URL was registered and look at its ranking on Alexa (although that doesn't work well for my site because we are, sadly, low traffic; I've seen the same with other good sites as well because, like you, we can't get eyeballs either); with YouTube, look at the intention and effort put into what has already been posted on the channel (pick decent human beings who are trying hard, in other words). Most journalists (bar the "biggest") don't think for a moment that their work carries any weight any more and in many cases if they're requesting access you're actually doing them a favour by giving it to them - you'll probably be able to sense that in the tone of the message; those are legit people. The example you posted above seems dodgy to me - certainly the request for more than one key and the mention of "mutually advantageous cooperation" - but it depends on what you want: as much wide exposure as possible or quality exposure. Each has pros and cons.

  • edited
    @roguecode: I would stay clear of those guys, I suspect it is because I gave keys to a couple of those guys that Riders of Asgard was hacked so quickly after release.

    Instead what I do it direct those guys to this site:

    In my email, I tell them to sign up there and then send create a key request for the game and send me the username that they signed up with. Keymailer is primarily directed at streamers and video reviewers ... so you still need to decide if you want to give keys for other websites ... but I have found that Keymailer tends to weed out the serious people from the not so serious (i.e. key re-sellers or game stealers).

    A lot of these guys who want keys, will take those keys and re-sell them on some or other site, so I prefer not to give them keys if I can help.

    p.s. This has been my experience and not necessarily what other people might experience.
    Thanked by 2critic roguecode
  • @critic @Bensonance @watman @quintond Thank you so much for the advice, it was/is super helpful. And nice to get a bunch of different perspectives on it. <3
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