SUNSfan and syndereN discussed Valve’s marketing for Dota 2 and suggested they utilize the custom games scene for advertisement.

Fans of Valve titles probably know that Valve has a distinct type of marketing if there is any at all. Dota 2’s promotions have so far been abysmal, especially when compared to other esports of the same level. So one thing is clear; Valve's marketing needs a switch up. In regards to Kaci Aitchison recently taking over Valve’s marketing and communication, caster duo, syndereN and SUNSfan talked about how Valve can market Dota 2 through the custom games scene.

"[The custom games] are like a gateway drug to Dota." - SUNSfan

In the latest We Say Things podcast, SUNSfan and syndereN discussed about Kaci assuming the Vice President of Marketing role for Valve. Touching on the topic of marketing, they talked about how Valve can advertise the decade-old video game.

SUNSfan, although doubtful that Valve will ever do this, suggested that they market Dota 2 through the custom games scene. 

SUNSfan, Dota 2 caster
SUNSfan, Dota 2 caster

“If they put a little bit more effort into the custom game scene.. I think advertising that instead of Dota.. that’s almost like a gateway drug to Dota,” said SUNSfan. 

syndereN, Dota 2 caster
syndereN, Dota 2 caster

syndereN agreed and mentioned that Dota 2’s plethora of custom games is something unique that can’t be found elsewhere. “I could see that being a selling point because that’s something Dota has over its competitors. League has Teamfight Tactics but it doesn’t have all the custom games that we have.”

The custom games or the arcade community is active with a robust player base but it is heavily underappreciated. There have been complaints from custom game developers about the difficulties of developing them. It also has a new implemented system where if a person abandons a game or declines a match, they will get a 1-hour penalty no matter the circumstances. Due to the strict penalty system, it can get frustrating. 

The custom games scene is definitely not in the best form but a solid amount of players continue to roam around the Arcade realm.

Why should Valve use custom games to market Dota 2?

Dota 2 is a boomer in the gaming world, and advertising it could be difficult. Most people know what Dota 2 is so just promoting the game is bland. What could attract them is something new and the custom games category is the perfect platform.

A variety of mini-games are attractive

As syndereN has pointed out, the custom games in Dota 2 are numerous. Once you click the Arcade tab, you stumble upon a gaming paradise, composed of various mini-games that bring you back to the Y8 days.

A 1v1 matchup? A 12 v 12 bloodbath? A fun, silly race among your friends? Only a one-click download and you are good to go. It’s safe to say that players won’t ever get bored as developers constantly create new games as well. 

Dota Auto Chess proved the validity of custom games

Custom games in Dota 2 have PROVEN that they can bring a large audience to log into the client. In January 2019, Dota Auto Chess was launched and it amassed a large audience, even attracting people outside of Dota 2. 

Dota Auto Chess 2022
Dota Auto Chess 2022

Three months after Dota Auto Chess stormed into the custom games scene, Dota 2 witnessed a dramatic spike in its player base. And at one point in time, the game had 500K concurrent players, meaning half of the Dota 2 population were logging into the game just to play this hit arcade.

The game genre was so popular that it even inspired the birth of many other games such as Teamfight Tactics.

Custom games are a viable solution to Dota 2's complex barrier

A custom game that lets you play a 1v1 Solo Mid online in Dota 2
A custom game that lets you play a 1v1 Solo Mid online in Dota 2

For a game known for its complexity, Dota 2 needs a platform or tool to introduce the game to newcomers. Arcade Games are perfect for this; it uses Dota 2 elements from heroes to items, abilities, and maps. Players who start from custom games could easily familiarize themselves with the main game, and jumping into normal matches won’t be a hellish experience.

And if those are not enough reasons let's just say that Dota 2 itself came into existence as a custom game and look where it stands now. The idea of Valve utilizing the custom games scene to advertise Dota 2 makes absolute sense and should definitely be taken into consideration.

There are signs, very subtle signs, that Valve might switch up its normal marketing regime. But we’ll have to wait and see. Until then, stay tuned to for more Dota 2 news!