It is obvious that games must have great gameplay to attract players. However, eye-catching capsule art is equally or sometimes even more important than other elements in terms of marketing. It is also one of the key things that streamers look at when they decide to cover a game.

Game marketing consultant Chris Zukowski wrote a piece about it on his How To Market A Game blog. He took MinMax Games’ colony sim Clanfolk as an example, analyzing the way its capsule art on Steam affected its YouTube coverage.

Key takeaways

  • Released on July 14, Clanfolk already has 270 reviews. Players seem to enjoy the game and its mechanics, but initially there were some problems with its presentation.
  • YouTuber SplatterCat (776k subscribers) played Clanfolk a few months prior to the launch, with the video getting 74k views.
  • The number might be good for a small indie title, but Zukowski pointed out that it was half the average number of views all other SplatterCat’s videos generated that month. Bad capsule art might be the main problem.
  • The streamer criticized the image, calling it the worst and almost impossible to work with. “I hate it when devs don’t put any effort into a presskit or logo transparencies. Help me help you lol,” SplatterCat wrote, despite really liking the game itself.
  • This story could have ended here, but developers eventually made a new capsule image for Clanfolk. It was much more colorful and really eye-catching this time. The capsule was created by artist Daniel Lieske, whom MinMax Games found on Artstation.
  • As a result, a new let’s play video by SplatterCat generated 176k views, which is up 230% from the first one.

Left: the first capsule art; Right: the improved version

  • So developers shouldn’t underestimate the marketing potential of great capsule art. “If you have a limited budget, I would spend money on a capsule before a trailer, ads, in-person conventions, or a PR company. It is that important,” Zukowski wrote.
  • He also noted that it is better to provide streamers with .psd files of the capsule, as well as transparent images, logos, and other visuals that can be useful for creating a good-looking YouTube thumbnail.
  • On top of that, the eye-catching capsule can increase a game’s CTR on Steam.

The full article, where Zukowski shares more details and great tips, can be found here.

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