How to ask a developer for a game key

Ever since we started with self-publishing at Zoink Games we get a LOT of requests for keys to our games. This is great, because it means someone is interesting in playing or reviewing one of our games. Pretty sweet, right? Well, that’s not always the case unfortunately. There are a lot of people out there trying to scam keys from developers like us, which have made us come up with a certain procedure we need to have every time we get a code request.

Since most of the requests we get are legit but they differ a lot in how they are structured and a lot of them are missing important information I thought I’d write a post about how you should approach a developer requesting a key if you’re a honest person running a site or a channel. If you follow these steps obtaining a key shouldn’t be a problem. I’m realizing a scammer can read this as well but a lot of these things are hard to reproduce. So let’s dig into this!

1. Write a good email (with a good subject line)

Write a good email explaining who you are, what site or channel you’re producing content for and what game you’re interested in. Don’t send me an email that starts with “Dear Sir or madam” because then I know I just got a generic mail that’s been sent out to everyone. I’m all for writing one email and copy-pasting it because I know these things take a lot of time but try to be personal and just adding someone’s name helps a lot. If I see someone has taken their time to send me a more personalized email I’m more likely to respond faster than If I just got a random bulk email.

2. Have a good looking channel or website

I normally only spend a few seconds checking a site or a channel out and first impression is important. I just check it’s a real site and that there are actual articles there and not just headlines (these sites exist!). Make it easy to see what kind of games you play or review so I can easily see if the request is valid.

Your channel doesn’t have to be big or anything, I’ve given out keys to channels that only has 10 subscribers. I even had people that started small WordPress blogs solely with the intention to review a game we made (and they did!)

Make sure all your social media channels are listed and easy to find. Makes it easy for me to quickly get an estimate on how big of reach your channel or site has.

3. Provide a valid email and make sure it’s easy visible on your site or channel

I get so many requests from emails like name_lastname32@gmail.com and if they state they are working for “Site X” I need to be able to verify that easily. So providing a About Us section where authors and their emails are listed is essential for me so I know it’s a valid request. I understand not everyone wants to put their email on a website but then I won’t be able to send a key. If you’re a freelancer writing for numerous publications I would recommend putting your email in your description.

4. Be precise on what you’re requesting

Recently I got a review request from a YouTuber and we’ve been emailing back for almost three days now. All together there are 8 emails and he still hasn’t said which game he wants to play (and for what format). If he had read this article before emailing me (which would have been impossible since it wasn’t written yet but anyways) and right off the bat stated what game and for what platform he wanted he would have gotten the key three days ago. Now I had to email him back with more questions getting him to provide all the info I need.

5. Get back to me when you have played the game

This is not necessary but I think it’s a sign of courtesy. It’s all about relationships and if I see a familiar name in the inbox I’ll always follow up. You’re also more likely to be on top of my list when we have new games to send out codes to. So maintaining your relationships with the developers is really important. Also if you email me and ask me to share your video or article I will do that which helps your channel or site to grow. It’s just good for everyone 🙂

So, to sum this up…

  • Write a good email
  • Have a good looking site or channel
  • Have a valid email and list it on your site or channel
  • Be precise in what you’re requesting (platform and region)
  • Get back to me after you’ve played the game

I’ve given out keys to people who haven’t met all these criteria. These aren’t rules, just a few tips to make the progress go more smoothly. If you’re interested in one of our games just drop me an email and we’ll figure everything out together. But following these steps will help 🙂

If you want to request a key to one of our games please visit our Press section.

Thank you so much for reading this and I hope it helps. If you have any comments or if you disagree feel free to comment or drop me a tweet.

@MikaelForslind
PR & Marketing Manager
Zoink Games

  • Matthew Schultz

    There is some very useful information here, thanks so much!

  • That Cowbell Guy

    Created an account just to comment here. This is a great article that helps those new to the scene/haven’t requested keys before. Thank you so much for writing this!