What is the ‘pitch’ and what is it used for?

What is the ‘pitch’ and what is it used for?

The famous ‘pitch’ or more specifically ‘elevator pitch’ is nothing new. It exists since there’s a need to sell a product effectively. But now that developers are increasingly aware of the need to sell well what we do and the fact that nobody really has much time to waste, it seems the ‘pitch’ has been revalued in the indie sector.

In fact, we believe the ‘pitch’ has other important functions, beyond the obvious selling tool. For example, to know better the game you have in your hands. You may even find that there is something important in it to be overridden from the base.

So it forces you to self-define precisely your own game, an exercise that not everyone is subjected to. If it’s a good ‘pitch’, it should give objective information about the game, besides extolling peculiarities that make it interesting. It should be somehow noteworthy, but also honest.

If you are not able to define your game in a few sentences or if you are not able to fit into those two sentences something that really makes clear its differential values, albeit with no commercial language, something happens. If after defining your game, the result is something like this: “It is an adventure game where you kill enemies and gain experience for raising your level.” Well, it’s very clear what you can expect from it, but it doesn’t seem a good way to get anyone’s attention, right? Too many games would fit with that exact description.

On the other hand, if your approach is something like: “It is an abstract game on the moon and tides”. You might get the attention of many people, but surely you lack some specificity. You need to take it to a land where the average player can understand what you’re offering.

Some examples

As an example, we could use the definitions that Rami Ismail of Vlambeer used at his talk at Gamelab 2014 to define his/their own games:

“When people ask me about Ridiculous Fishing, I tell them it’s a game about fishing with machine guns. When people ask about Luftrausers, I tell them it’s a dogfighting game about flying and super weapons. If people ask me what Super Crate Box is, I say it’s a strange platformer about collecting crates and shooting random weapons”.

In the first one, the difference is clear. It is a striking enough concept and does not need more. The second one, makes it clear that it is a recreational project that revolves around the concept of flying and shooting planes. The absence of any other reference makes us feel they have explored both concepts in profound ways (in fact, that’s the case). And the third one, tells us that there are platforms and shooting, but adds a bit of randomness and that bizarre detail of collecting boxes. For those who know the three games, it is clear that they are three adequate ‘pitches’.

What we do

In our case, if we’re asked about Go Deeper, we say it’s an action & skill game where you fight sci-fi creatures using colours. We don’t know if that’s the best way to define the game, but at least it makes clear what the game is going to ask from the player –skill and the necessary attitude to face an action game–, it gives us information about the general context or setting –science fiction– and it also reveals one of the particularities that makes it different and defines it well –the use of colour to face the action.

What about you? Do you know how to define/sell your game clearly?

P.S.: We recommend again Rami’s Talk at Gamelab this year. You wont’t regret it!