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Cool Names for Games: How to Pick the Best Title

By Michael

With the large volume of games now being released on the App Store and Google Play, cool names for games are going to get harder and harder to come by. And it’s easy to see why you need a cool name for your game.

The name you choose will have a massive impact on how you market your game. It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make before release.

When naming your game, a few simple concepts can help you get it right. Along with these guidelines, there are also a number of tools and methods to help you pick the best game name.

Whatever method you choose, the end result is what matters most. The name you pick will form a large part of a player’s first impression of your game.

And in today’s market, that first impression needs to have a bigger impact than your competitor’s.  With so much at stake, can you afford to leave your game’s name to chance?

How to Make your own Games with V-Play

Before we dive deep into the matter, we wanted to show you how you can create your own game with V-Play. This small code example is a random game name generator that you can try right away!

import VPlay 2.0
import QtQuick 2.0

GameWindow {
  id: gameWindow

  Scene {
    id: scene

    Rectangle {
      anchors.fill: parent.gameWindowAnchorItem
      color: "white"
    }

    Column {
      anchors.centerIn: parent
      spacing: 10

      Text {
        id: gameName
        anchors.horizontalCenter: parent.horizontalCenter
        text: "Click Generate!"
        font.pixelSize: 20
      }

      StyledButton {
        anchors.horizontalCenter: parent.horizontalCenter
        text: "Generate"
        onClicked: {
          gameName.text = randomName() + " " + randomName()
        }
      }
    }
  }

  function randomName() {
    var names = ["Awesome", "Clash", "Flappy", "Brutal", "Candy", "War", "Crush", "Adventure"]
    var randomIndex = Math.floor(utils.generateRandomValueBetween(0, names.length))
    return names[randomIndex]
  }
}

 

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Why is it Important to Use Cool Names for Games?

In the words of Peter Main, a former Nintendo of America executive:

“The name of the game is the game.”

Peter Main had a background in the food industry before joining Nintendo of America. This lack of game industry knowledge didn’t stop him from spearheading Nintendo of America’s early success.

He understood that for Nintendo to thrive, they’d have to produce high quality games that excited players. Cool game names were one of the things that excited players.

cool_name_games_Peter Main2
In his mind, the names of the titles they produced were just as important as gameplay or storyline. Game names had to capture the imagination of the public, just like movie titles. Names also had to be memorable and unique so people could ask for them in stores. In essence, cool game names were a cornerstone of Nintendo’s user acquisition strategy.

It was this approach that won Peter Main a marketer of the year award in 1989.

User Acquisition

User acquisition is the main reason for picking a cool game name. A strong user acquisition strategy is the catalyst for success that mobile games need. A good strategy will focus on acquiring as many valuable users in the shortest time possible.

cool_name_games_mobile marketing funnel
Valuable users are the players that play the most and are willing to spend money. You’ll want to find these users soon after you launch as promoting and marketing your game can become expensive.

And even if you’re advertising your game on a shoestring budget, it’s a time-consuming activity. Your focus after launch will be split between different tasks, so having one activity take up most of your time isn’t ideal.

Get your name right and you’ll have more time for bug fixes, updates and improvements.

Word of Mouth

One aspect of user acquisition that’s hard to measure is how many users you can gain through word of mouth. If players enjoy your game, then they’re likely to tell their friends about it. At this point, the friend will consider if they should download your game as well.

cool_name_games_2-new-app-discovery-methods
This is where your game name comes into play. It’s the key piece of info that your player’s friends will need to download your game. And if you get it right, it can help to convince your player’s friends that your game is in fact worth downloading.

You also want to make sure that your game name is compelling enough for them not to get distracted by other titles. The worst case scenario would be for a potential user to enter an app store to get your game and then end up with something else.

Cool vs. Uncool

Here’s a simple example that shows this in action. Which game title seems more appealing: Metal Gear Solid or If It Moves, Shoot it?

cool_name_games_metal gear solid cool_name_games_If it moves

Although you can’t tell what kind of game Metal Gear Solid is just from the title, it’s a unique name that creates curiosity and intrigue. If It Moves, Shoot it sounds simplistic and more than anything, it describes gameplay that’s been seen thousands of times before. Based on the name alone, Metal Gear Solid has already come out on top.

An interesting name can bring players to your game all on its own. But it’s not always easy to know what will catch people’s attention.

On top of that, you need to factor in app store optimization guidelines when naming your title. While cool game names can bring in users through word of mouth, it’s also important that your game can be found the traditional way in app stores.

What to Consider When Choosing Cool Game Names?

Whether it’s cool or not, your mobile game’s name needs to be optimized. There is a range of ways to optimize your game’s app store page. These include having a great icon and taking full advantage of the allowances for descriptions and screenshots.

For a full rundown on how to master ASO, check out this post.

cool_name_games_ASO Guide
When it comes to the cool names for games, here are the key points for you to consider.

Prioritize the First 25 Characters

The first 25 characters of your game’s name are the most important. These are the characters that will be displayed as potential users browse games on app stores. In total, you’re allowed to have 255 characters in your game’s name on the App Store, while Google Play has no limit. Some people even suggest prioritizing the first 11 characters more than anything.

Use URL Friendly Characters

It’s essential that you only use standard characters when naming your game. Special characters such as copyright or trademark symbols are to be avoided at all costs. They significantly damage your chances of turning up in app store searches. Your game name should also be easy to type on a mobile device. Using URL friendly characters will help you to achieve this.

Use Keywords to Improve Search Results

While you can use the first 25 characters of your title to give your game a cool name, the rest of your character limit should include some keywords to improve your chances of being found in user searches.

cool_name_games_Keyword ranking
This would look something like this, “Game Title: keywords describing the game such as genre, themes, feature, etc.”

The Game Title is how the game will be known to players. The keywords are there to help out the app store search engines and make sure that your game appears for the right search terms.

Pick Something Unique

This one might seem obvious but picking a unique name for the app stores might be harder than you think. The sheer volume of titles means that there’s bound to be something similar to whatever you have in mind.

The best way to figure this out is to search for the title you have in mind and see what results turn up. These are the games that you’ll have to compete against.

cool_name_games_pinball
When you get a whole bunch of names similar to what you had in mind then you’ll need to go straight back to the drawing board and come up with something completely new.

If there’s a similar game name to yours, then you’ll have to compete with it for rankings. And if it’s already well-established, this could prove to be a waste of time. You might be able to overtake the established title, but it could require a lot of effort. Picking another name might prove to be a lot easier in the long run.

If you’re satisfied that the titles that turn up for your game name are different enough, then you’re in the clear!

Naming for App Store Optimization

It’s important to consider app store optimization when picking a name, even if it means making changes to a name that you’ve become attached to. You have to remember that the ultimate goal is to get players for your game.

If a slight name change can increase the amount of players you get, then go for it. You’ll be happier with the results in the end.

Rules of Choosing a Name

The following guidelines will help you to pick a great name for your game. It might be hard to pick a name that meets all these criteria but they’re worth keeping in mind. Of course, rules are also there to be broken!

Avoid Filler Words

The most important rule of naming your game is to avoid including words that don’t need to be there. This rule applies to the first 25 characters of your game name, which you need to prioritize for ASO. These 25 characters will form the title of your game.

Any keywords that you want to include should be included after this 25 character mark

Be Concise

This might seem obvious if you’ve already prioritized the first 25 characters of your game title. What might not be so obvious is the word count. It’s best to keep your game name concise, meaning you should use less than 3 words to name your game.

Any more than 3 words and you’re bordering on a full length sentence. Keep your game name short and snappy.

Be Authentic

Authenticity is important to gamers. One way to seem completely inauthentic is to try and piggy back on the success of another game title. Try to avoid using “Flappy”, “Angry” or “Clash” in your game title. These will all come off as attempts to capitalize on the popularity of other games.

cool_name_games_clash games
The most important thing to remember is that players should be able to relate your game title to your game in some way.

Pick Something Players Can Say and Spell!

Breaking this rule is not recommended. When you pick your game name, it should be clear how it should sound. And it should also be easy for players to spell once they’ve heard it aloud. If you pick a game name with ambiguous pronunciation, you might be damaging your word of mouth acquisitions.

Confusion as to how your game is called and subsequently how it’s spelled will make it harder for players to look it up in app stores. It can also damage your marketing and promotion efforts if potential players don’t realize what game is being discussed.

Name Generation

If you’ve followed all these guidelines and concepts, and you’re still not happy with the names you’ve come up with, you have another option. There are a couple of tools that can help you to generate names for your games.

Of course, they might need some tweaking to become app store ready. Here are a couple of tools and methods to help you with name generation.

The Video Game Name Generator

The video game name generator is a free online tool that creates game titles at the click of a mouse. While the suggested titles mightn’t be ready for the app store or seem like the title of a specific game, it can provide you with some good jumping off points. You can check out the Video Game name Generator here!

cool_name_games_Name Generator

Business Name Generator

There are a number of online tools like the Video Game Name Generator that you can use to get title ideas. Another one to check out is the Shopify Business Name Generator. Just like the Video Game Name Generator, it gives a tonne of suggestions at the click of a button.

Product Name Generator

The Product Name Generator gives you name ideas but it also lets you know if there is a domain available for that given name. This can be useful for setting up landing pages for your game. A landing page can be another piece of your user acquisition strategy so this tool can be a great time saver.

Worksheets

Although it’s not the most high tech solution, sometimes getting out a pen and paper can still be an effective tool for naming your game. There are two great worksheets that can help you with this process.

cool_name_games_
The first one is a naming worksheet that helps you to assign different names to your game according to some pre-defined categories.

The second worksheet asks you to apply a set of criteria to your name in order to make sure you create a strong brand. You should apply these criteria to any name you’re planning to use. It asks a number of useful questions to ensure you have a name that works.

Ready to Name Your Game?

Now that you know what you’re doing, you can name your game with confidence. You can let us know your game’s name in the comments and make sure to share this post with your friends. You can use the buttons on the left to Tweet or Like this article!

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