Do you know whats one of the most important steps in creating a great game for indie developer? Heck, not only for independent devs, but also for any gamedev company? It’s the game name. Unfitting or plain bad game name will lower your chances of acquiring players, letting the world know, and making sales.
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To Sell A Game, You Need A Name
It doesn’t just apply to games. To sell any product in the world, you need a proper name for it. Whether it’s a game, a website, or a shaving machine, they all need a good name so the marketing efforts will bring more results.
Let’s take popular company Razor for example. It’s perfect name for shaving machines and here’s why:
- It’s short.
- It’s related.
- It’s easy to remember.
We’re not going to sell razors, but you get what I mean. Now let’s consider two popular games League of Legends and World of Warcraft:
- Easy to remember.
- Well though acronyms.
- Acronyms easy to type and pronounciate.
One of popular mistakes in game naming is not thinking about the acronyms, so Hidden In Village could have a nice scent to it but when players start to use its acronym instead, you may change your opinion about that name.
However words LoL and WoW are pretty easy to pronounciate, remember, and type. When you drive by bus and hear people speaking “Lets play LoL after school.” you immedietely know what’s going on, and if you don’t, you will probably google it later.
Important Factors For Choosing Great Name
Now that I gave you some examples why good name of product is essential for its success, lets list all the important factors in choosing a great name for your game, and explain why.
The shorter the name the better. You dillute the importance of your game name with each word you add to it, because if something is rare then we value it more. That’s why name “Game About Killing Dragons In Northern Mountains” is much worse than “Mountain Dragon Slayer”.
Not only that, but choosing a long name for your game will make it harder to write, market, speak about it, and so on. Long game name is just wrong. And imagine creating a website for your game, the domain would be “game-about-killing-dragons-in-northern-mountains.com”. That’s so bad.
We prefer names that are related to the product we use. Would you rather buy a shaving machine from company Razor or from company called Singing Woman? I hope the former.
But the name shouldn’t be only related to the product. It also should be heavily related to the buyer. Lets take name of popular game Pirates of the Burning Sea. Its not directly related, because its players aren’t sailors, and especially not pirates, but this name is still a great choice. Its players wouldn’t mind or maybe would love to see themselves as pirates, even if its just game. So here you’re not creating a name related to the player as person, but related to what the player thinks is cool.
It Has Power Word
Most of you probably didn’t hear about the phrase power word just yet, however it’s important part of choosing a product name. Such words are powerful as in they increase the importance of the title. Let’s take a website called SmartBlogger as example. If you are blogging, then you just wouldn’t be able to see this name and not click it. Because what blogger wouldn’t desire to be a smart blogger?
Same can be said about developers. Developer sounds dull, but if you name it Independent Developer, then that actually has a nice ring to it, because not only he’s a developer (so something we relate to), but he’s also independent, which means he makes a living by creating and selling his games. He’s not only writing the code, but hes doing everything there’s to do to sell the game. That’s actually something.
It’s Easy To Remember
The easier to remember, the more likely it will be that one of people interested in our games won’t forget about it. Even if he won’t download or buy our game, he may still discuss it with friends, and consider together whether its worth playing or not.
It’s Easy To Pronounce
Name has to be easy to both write and pronounce. That’s why choosing this super rare, long and old word that only grandma of our friend knows (she happened to be a teacher) may not be the best idea.
It’s Acronyms Are Good Enough
There’s not much to say about acronyms, just make sure they don’t give wrong vibes, and that they’re not HIV or something. Acronyms also should more or less score well on all the criteria mentioned in this article.
It’s Not Yet Taken
If the name of your game is taken by a movie, a company, or other game, or its too similar to it then you would better choose different name. Creating a game called “World of Craftwar” Or “World War Craft” may not be the best idea.
There’s this great tool called Namecheckr that will let you check if your name is taken by in big social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and if popular domain names like com and org are taken. The tool is free to use. You can and should also do a quick google search.
It Doesn’t Have Hyphens
Making a game name with hyphens, dots, apostrophes or whatever is bad idea. That’s because you can’t register domain name dragon’slair.com and you also can’t create page on facebook with url facebook.com/dragon’s-lair. However name Lair Dragon could be used everywhere, with the small difference of not using space at all, so facebook.com/lairdragon and lairdragon.com.
Company Name Is Important Too
If you are creating a company, then you should follow the same rules when making a name for it. However you don’t need to think about that just now.
How Will You Name Your Indie Game?
You should choose name before writing first line of code. And it should be related to the product. Don’t just call the game Lair Dragon if it has no dragons and lairs in it. If you think of game name first, then it will be easier for you to not cross boundaries during development.
You won’t accidentaly add a feature that’s conflicting with the game idea because you already have a name. For example I wanted to name this article “Examples Of Good Game Names” but that would be wrong, because even if the title is still related to game names, the article is not a list of examples, but a tutorial to choosing a good name. Make a list of great names and pick one before you start development.