Why small youtubers do great things for your game

3 reasons why small youtubers are freshman dev's Aces in the sleeve

Any game dev's secret hope is to see their game played by a streamer who has over a bazillion subscribers, because, let's be honest, that's where you hope your fame and cash will come from.
Hidden into the abundance of channels, the small youtubers are like little precious diamonds, waiting for someone to discover them. Here are 3 of the multitude of reasons small youtubers did great for CompliKATed and why as a freshman game developer you should consider them instead.

  • they'll most certainly consider your game - they may not like it or choose it to stream, but your email will not be ignored. Not because they lack the offer, but their choice algorithm is different. They don't live under the pressure of already achieved notoriety, so they can guide by their curiosity and personal preferences. Many of them stream because they feel like it, so just like us, developers, they do it from a sense of passion.
When we send CompliKATed keys, we focused on small youtubers and sent all the keys after browsing through their channels, to make sure the genre has any meaning to them or simply to get the grasp of what are they like. We handpicked them, so to speak. We didn't keep a response rate track, but the quality delivered made it worth.
As an experiment, to prove our point, we also send keys to youtubers with a large number of subscribers and/or already notorious. This time we were able to quantify the response rate: 0. 
  • if there's anything wrong with your game, you still have time to fix it - none of us ever shipped the Ultimate, final build. There's always something that we'll leave for the patch or something we could've done better. Or game design choices that seemed right, but gamers proved us wrong. Even if we are professionals, we're freshmen. And we're indie, too so we might lack the some of means to compete with established devs. Exposing your first game to a narrow audience where you lack any kind of involvement/control offers the unique opportunity to tweak and fix some of the details, that later could shame you, no matter how good your game is.
We have learned a lot from seeing other people play CompliKATed, just by observing them. We added more tips, a help screen, corrected some misspelling. We re-made the tutorial level, so it would make much more sense. We learned the hard way that smart people also need to be told what they're supposed to, they can't get out of thin air. And that literate people don't necessarily read, so the  level design also should address "how do I do that?" question. All of these and more in a secure, contained environment.
  • they will help you keep your morale high up in the sky - you're barely done with gamedev, yet there's no time to catch your breath -  there's this new different thing: it's called publishing and classic advertising doesn't work at all. GamSers are a different species, a sneaky one. As much as we prepare ourselves for the upcoming reality, surviving dev limbo, parenthood, daily jobs takes it toll. Watching someone playing your game and enjoying it, can give you the strength to go further.
We've all gathered around to watch each let's play and each review, the same way we made the game, as a team. We acted like movie audience, with laughs, and sighs and gasps and now we're ready to to take the project further: go deeper into electronic/programming components, localisation, the release of the editor. Our small youtubers strengthened our faith in the game and helped us devise future plans.