How to Choose a Name for Your Video Game: Simple Tips To Help You Stand Out From The Crowd
05/08/2021 Written by The Game Marketer
Choosing a name for your indie game can seem like an impossible task. You want it to be unique, memorable and something that will help players understand what the game is about. The good news is there are lots of strategies you can use to make this process easier and more effective! Read on for some simple tips that will help you choose a name for your indie game!
Make It Short and Memorable
The first tip is to make sure your indie game name is short and memorable. You don't want players spending time trying to spell words or struggling with the pronunciation of a lengthy title. The best indie video game names are short, catchy, easy to pronounce and still descriptive enough so that players know what they're getting into!
Make It Easy To Spell/Google
The second tip is to make sure your indie game name is easy to Google! This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you're in the process of creating and releasing an indie video game, it's important not to overlook the search engine optimization (SEO) potential. Just because your game is easy to say doesn’t mean it’s easy to type. Check for common misspellings of words and how this could affect you. Try to stay away from using hyphens and non-standard characters. Not only are they harder to remember but the search on some sites cannot process them correctly.
Reflect Your Game's Unique Flavour
One important thing about choosing an indie game name is making sure you enjoy it too! If someone playing your indie video games doesn't like the sound of one word in particular for some reason, then chances are others will feel the same way. Choose a name that captures both who you are as well as reflects the unique flavour of your indie game.
Research Your Target Audiences and Their Preferences
Who are you targeting with your indie video game? It is important to consider what they like and don't like when it comes to games. If the majority of people that play your games' genre enjoy them as an escape from reality, then a name with a more mystical or fantasy feel might be better than something serious, for example. Do your players care more about lore or action etc.
Do Competitor Research
What indie video game names are your target audience already used to? You want the name of your indie video games to stand out, but you also don't want it to be too far off from what players expect.
When was the last time they played a similar indie game and how long ago? What do they recall about that title, or does it trigger any associations for them at all - positive, negative, neutral etc.?
Is there anything else in related (pop culture) that comes up when thinking of this type of game's genre which is memorable enough for players to remember your indie video game by its name in particular?
Keep an eye on trends over time as well because one year might find more people associating these types.
Most importantly check if your name is already in use! You do not want to get all the way through development only to find your name is being used by someone else or even worse find yourself in a legal dispute over copyright infringement.
Make A List of Game Features and Hooks
What are the main things players will be doing in your game? What are the hooks, and can you develop these into a name? There are plenty of games with descriptive style names, Tomb Raider, Castle Wreck, Journey etc.
Maybe your game has some specific lore or setting that you can use, Siberia, Monkey Island, Baldur's Gate etc.
Its likely there are lots of names already in your game just waiting to be tried out or maybe you can just distil your game down to a single feeling e.g., Doom.
Are Your Social Media Handles Available?
It is important to make sure your social media handles are available before you start working on a game name. Players often use these handles when they talk about games, and it can be frustrating if someone else has already reserved them for their own indie game company or indie gaming blog.
Get Feedback From Friends and Family
Do not be afraid to ask for feedback from friends and family. Often, we find indie game developers are too close to their games to be objective about the name or they have already grown attached to a particular choice for some reason. Remember you are not your target audience and just because you like something or don't have a problem with its pronunciation or spelling doesn't mean other will too.
If In Doubt, Wait
If you are just starting out with indie game development or even if you’re an experienced video game marketing expert, don't rush into choosing a name. You need to allow your initial work and ideas time. Concentrate on making a great game and come back to the name when you have had chance to bounce off your creative work and speak to others. Many games start off with an internal code name and use that while still in early development. This also helps with secrecy if you are keeping your project under wraps for now.
Coming up with a name for your game is an important part of video game marketing, and the right name can immediately give players context or spark interest. Equally choosing a weak game name or one very similar to others can cause confusion, lack of interest or even legal issues.
Make sure you take your time and research the various aspects covered here and have fun with it!
If you need any further help or advice on indie game marketing feel free to drop us a message.