There's nothing particularly complicated to tell you about video game press kits—they provide all of the information anyone needs to know about the game you're developing in one easily-accessible place.

Although simple by definition, video game press kits fulfill an absolutely vital function: they improve the odds of your game getting coverage.

More coverage = more players, and more players = happy gamedevs.

Why Press Kits Matter

Competition for attention is fiercer than ever, as video game journalists and influencers are busy people, and indie devs and studios don't have the luxury of big budgets for massive advertising campaigns to compete.

Press kits are your way of making life easier for the people who can expose you to a wider audience. They can earn your game press coverage and save you advertising spend along the way.

If you force publications and influencers to stitch together an article from a Frankenstein's monster of sources across the internet, chances are most will give up before it's time to electrify the article and give it life.

A good press kit will not only allow you to tell other people what's great about your game, what makes it special, and why it's worth playing—it will allow them to tell even more people those same things.

Standard game journalist reaction when digging up information without a press kit

Industry press and influencers are inundated with requests for coverage every day, so it's not just enough to have a press kit—you need to have a damn good one.

Luckily, that's exactly what we're here to teach you!

How to Create a Video Game Press Kit

Consider once again the purpose of the press kit, which is to make it easier for others to get a quick-and-dirty overview of your game.

Press kits should take into account anything that generally gets mentioned when a game is covered, as well as the information they need to further follow the game.

Think of it as a cheat sheet to help complete strangers quickly get to know your game, your studio, and even yourself.

So what should go into a press kit? It's always important to mind your Ps and Qs, but when it comes to making a press kit, remember your Ws, too:

  • What is the game's name, genre, imagery, lore?
  • Who is behind the game's creation?
  • Where can the game be found, followed, played, and purchased?
  • When is the game's release (or other events worthy of publicizing) happening?
  • Why is the game special, unique, and worth playing?

What

This should include all of the pertinent information concerning the game itself—the kind of stuff that should lead all coverage so people immediately know what your game is and what it's about.

The best way to do this is by beginning your video game press kit with branding visuals, like your logo set against game art or a screenshot.

A nice example of a header image by Yacht Club Games, for their Shovel Knight collection

Standard "what" content includes:

  • Header Image: An attractive header image, including art and logo. Let's be real, an ugly press kit is fighting against the odds.
  • Name: Game name (we hope this one's obvious).
  • Description: Short "elevator pitch" description providing an immediate sense of the game's premise, genre, and how it plays (e.g., "Realmrift is a strategic Fantasy RPG with a twist: a rift in time has brought humans from the year 2078 into your world. Faced with modern weaponry, old enemies become allies and preparation is the key to survival").
  • Platforms: Platforms the game will be playable on (e.g., Android, PS4, Steam).
  • Cost: Purchase price(s).
  • Logo: Separate logo files for download. It's a good idea to have both a light and a dark version and to include a 1x1 ratio icon, since some coverage uses that format. Throw these in a zip file for easy download.
  • Graphics: Assorted high-res visuals to be used in coverage. This can include anything from screenshots and character concept art to gameplay video and influencer-friendly GIFs (or even emotes based on your game).
  • Videos: Trailer or teaser video—these remain one of the best ways possible to grab the attention of an audience.
  • Press Release: A great time-saver for journalists to pull key info from (or useful future content to hold onto if you embargo some information).
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Who

The "who" includes information about the studio and developers behind the game. This can be a standard factual boilerplate, or you can take the opportunity to add a dash of personal flavor and tell your project's story in your own words.

Just a sprinkle of personality can go a long way in your press kit

Information to make sure you include here includes:

  • Studio name (and references to previous gamedev experience if applicable)
  • Publisher (if applicable)
  • Location of studio
  • Team size (e.g., "Realmrift Inc. is comprised of four developers and one happy cat")
  • Biographical snippets on project leads and their unique/relevant experience (optional, but lends an air of personality, credibility, and freshness)

Where

This info lets people know where they can follow your game, learn more about it, and ideally download/purchase it.

Make sure you include:

  • Sales-related Info: Where your game can be downoaded, purchased, or wishlisted prior to purchase (e.g., Steam link, GOG, Epic Store, directly from your website, etc.).
  • Crowdfunding Info: If you're running a Kickstarter campaign or IAO, publicize it in your press kit.
  • Links: Direct people to your website and social channels. Building a community of dedicated followers is a crucial part of game marketing!
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When

Here is where you can hone in on specific information directly related to release schedules.

Also consider when to send your press kit out, as this may effect the content you can feature. For instance, if you're ready to release and angling for reviews, you could include a "request review copy" button for journalists to click. If you're sending the press kit out early to build a community, you may only have concept art to include.

Do you have a release date or timeframe in mind? It's essential to communicate this info, along with anything important on your release roadmap prior to launch.

Is there a public Alpha or Beta that you want testers for? A Kickstarter or crowdfunding campaign to drive people toward? The more people that know about it, the better.

Whatever stage you're at, make sure to keep your press kit updated throughout your development journey.

Why

Now's your chance to do deeper storytelling about your game, and what exactly makes it worth playing (and therefore worth covering).

Tell people why they should care about your game:

  • Unique Selling Points: What does your game have or do that separates it from the rest? Is it unique in art style, storyline, or technological innovation?
  • Gameplay Elements: What elements of gameplay or game design are you most proud of? For instance, "Realmrift is a story of battling against the odds. Your mind is your most powerful weapon as meticulous strategic planning is the key to turning the tide in your guerrilla war against invaders from the far future."
  • Awards, Recognition & Coverage: Do you have any awards or great soundbites from fans? If you've received recognition from some kind of decently-regarded authority, include it. Greater perceived legitimacy means a greater chance of coverage.

Getting Coverage

By providing information to answer any questions people might ask, you provide all that is needed to comfortably, concisely, and comprehensively cover your creation—along the lines that you choose to display it.

Usually, coverage occurs in a visual medium, so it's important for journalists or influencers to easily insert or refer to visual resources that build an image of your game for an unfamiliar audience.

That's why we recommend including carefully curated graphics packages resplendent with character design and animated GIFs.

The more (quality) visuals they have to use, the better coverage is going to look, but be selective with the content you include. Quality > Quantity.

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Packaging & Pitching Your Press Kit

There's a few options you have in terms of the exact formatting and ordering of the press kit contents, which pretty much come down to personal preference.

Structure

Here are a few structures to consider alongside our what-who-where-when-why outline:

The Themed Sheet Approach

  • Header image
  • Fact sheet (What, Where, When)
  • Team sheet (Who)
  • Trailer/video (What, Why)
  • Visuals sheet with downloadable graphics (What)
  • Coverage and awards (Why)
  • Press release (What, Why, Where, When, Who)

The Narrative Approach

  • Header image
  • Quick facts (What, Who, Where, When)
  • Trailer/video (What, Why)
  • FAQs about the game and studio (What, Who)
  • Coverage and awards (Why)
  • Press release (What, Why, Where, When, Who)
  • Visuals package featuring download file (What)

The Technical Approach

  • Header image (What)
  • Game description (What, Why)
  • Distribution facts (What, Where)
  • Press release (What, Why, Where, When, Who)
  • Game features (Why)
  • Team breakdown (Who)
  • Company boilerplate (Who)
  • Video/trailer (What, Why)
  • Visuals package featuring download file (What)

The main, non-variable aspect across formats is that you should lead with a striking header image and game description so journalists and influencers immediately know what exactly they're looking at.

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Pro Tips

When it comes to writing style, write as much of your press kit as possible in the third person—not because you want to emulate The Rock, but because it makes it easier for any writers to quote directly from your press kit. Another point of friction removed!

Include a permissions disclaimer on your press kit, assuring journalists that they're allowed to reproduce the contents for commercial use. After all, you send out press kits because you want the selected information to proliferate.

Feature your press kit prominently on your website, preferably with its own menu tab to make it easy to find.

Remember: the role of the press kit is to take as much effort as possible out of looking for info. Anyone who arrives at your homepage shouldn't have to hunt to find it, so don't hide it away.

You can include your press kit on Google Docs or Dropbox as a downloadable PDF with graphics in a ZIP file, but having it readily accessible online is essential, so this should be a backup rather than primary access mechanism.

Press Kit Formatting Cheat Sheet

  1. Always lead with a header image featuring the logo against some good game visuals.
  2. Include both light and dark copies of your logo, so that it will stand out against any website.
  3. Write in the 3rd person. This makes it easier to directly copy-paste content into coverage.
  4. If at all possible, host your press kit on your game's website and make it easy to find.
  5. Include press permissions on the press kit itself to save anyone the effort of chasing you down for permission.
  6. Quality > Quantity. Include content because it makes your game look good, not just for the sake of filling space.

We humans are a superficial bunch, and typos don't reflect well on a project—especially when you're sending them to professional writers, so be sure to proofread.

Proofread more than once—more than twice, even.

Then, get a second set of eyes from a friend, just to make sure.

How to Pitch Your Press Kit

You've done all the hard work of creating your very own video game press kit. Now it's time to sit back, relax, and watch coverage magically materialize!

....well, not exactly.

Video game press coverage doesn't come from thin air. In order for a press kit to work, you need to actually approach the press with it.

Some few things to keep in mind when approaching journalists or influencers:

  • Personalize: Make it personal; include names and a greeting. Nobody likes being a nameless drone BCC'ed into a generic message sent to hundreds.
  • Summarize: Include a short, snappy summary in your message, e.g., "Realmrift is a strategic RPG that answers the age-old question of 'What would happen if a classical High Fantasy world were invaded by a modern army?'"
  • Attach: Remember to include a link to your press kit! We've all made the mistake of forgetting to add an attachment, but you only have one chance to make a first impression, so don't mess up the basics.

Resources

To see what press kits can look like out in the wild, take a look at the efforts (and platforms) of these indie successes: Shovel Knight, Opus Magnum, Hollow Knight, Celeste, and Furi.

If you looked at the fine print, you'll see that some of these press kits were created (or auto-generated) using presskit() aka "do presskit" by indie developer Rami Ismail of Vlambeer.

It's a good (and free!) tool for getting all the required info in, and allows for integration with Promoter or Google Analytics to track performance—but it does have a bit of a learning curve for non-web designers. You'll need to know all about FTP clients, XML syntax highlighting, and basic image editing in order for presskit() to function properly.

Additional tools that can be used for creating and publishing press kits include

  • Presskit.html: HTML-based reimagining of the PHP-based presskit(), to create static html pages. Replicates the look and format of the popular presskit(), but with some minor upgrades, like multiple release dates and "request copy" button.
  • Presskite: Primarily focused on developing press kits for startups, but formats can be applied to video game press kits. You can use it for free if you upload 8 images or fewer, or pay $9 a month if you want a deeper suite of features.
  • Adobe Spark: The masters of digital imagery provide an array of press kit templates to choose from, as well as the ability to build your own in a variety of formats, including social posts. However, if you want to unlock a deeper level of personalization, you'll need to pay a monthly subscription.
  • Medium: The popular blogging platform is free and includes a decent array of image and video embedding options. Design flexibility is limited, though, compared to your homepage and the other options above.
  • IGDB: Purchased by Twitch in 2019, IGDB serves as a reliable one-stop shop for gamedevs to upload their press kits and players to learn more about certain games. IGDB is focused on providing quality, honest information, so be sure your submission follows their contribution guidelines!

Getting Press Is Not Depressing

Taking time to craft an appealing video game press kit can really pay off in the long run.

Not only does it make it easier for journalists and influencers to find out everything they need to know quickly, it acts as a recruitment tool for future coverage, and helps publicize your game socially through people you've never even approached.

Get your press kit right, and any hours you put into it will be repaid many times over with all the new attention the resulting media coverage can bring.

Download a Free Press Release Template

Use this template as a base for creating a press release worthy of inclusion in any press kit.