How important is CD-ROM option these days?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by LilGames, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. LilGames

    LilGames New Member

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    With digital distribution taking the fore-front, I noticed still that some of the established publisher/portals offer a CD-ROM option on purchase of a game.

    For example GameHouse: +$7.95

    The disc is also packed with 50 game trials. Considering the costs of CD-ROM replication, and media mail postage, they are making a small PROFIT on this option AND exposing the customer to 50 more games from their library.

    How common is this option and how important do you see it? Lets say we don't have a library of demos to add to the CD. How does this affect your answer?

    Would you bother printing up 5-color art on the CDROMs or keep it at the lowest lowest expense possible?
     
  2. Hiro_Antagonist

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    I'd like to point out that many people criticized PopCap as 'greedy' when they set their price for this at $4.95. There's a long thread in the archives here about it if you're prepared to be amused.

    As for the CD distribution itself, I think PopCap, GameHouse, and others simply make deals with third-party on-demand CD printers/shippers, and clean their hands of the whole process. I don't think it would make too much sense for developers/publishers to sit on a stack of CDs themselves unless that was their primary distribution model.
     
  3. Fost

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    That's one thing that's always worried and surprised me in equal measure. Our CD-ROM is +$10 (and no we don't make any additional profit; we are UK based, so after printing and postage costs, we just break even), yet it's always been a popular option (we are even sold out right now due to unexpected demand.)
     
  4. LilGames

    LilGames New Member

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    How's it greedy though? GH's price includes shipping and handling. Most places you buy software from charge that much JUST for shipping and handling. I'll go search for that thread you speak of...
     
  5. Hiro_Antagonist

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    I don't think it's greedy at all, and as you can see, it's below what most others charge...

    I think some people were in a tizzy because they felt that it was somehow PopCap's (and presumably everyone else's) obligation to provide CDs at-or-below cost to all customers.

    They kept saying things like "a cd is 10 cents and postage is 50 cents" while ignoring all of the realities of the situation, including business overhead, the fact that the service was offered by an external 3rd-party vendor, the fact that it was a totally optional service, and of course the right of the companies to profit along the way...

    *shrug*

    -Hiro_Antagonist
     
  6. arcadetown

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    It's useful. Some users want it for backup, some for kids / home / 2nd computer that doesn't have internet, some demand must have it, etc.

    Most order processors provide a CD option. Some guys use customcd, Popcap and Gamehouse are listed on their customer page. Their product looks great being ink printed directly on CD and shipped on printed sleeve. Here BMT was good enough to customize our CDs, looks great and is ink label applied to CD. As for making profit customcd could provide that possibility whereas most order processors don't split CD revenue (although everything is of course negotiable).

    p.s. - I'm with you guys and was ready to strangle the complainers of charging for cds. Couldn't believe anyone had an issue charging for physical goods which cost real extra time and money to send versus a simple download. Grrrr.... the Shleprocks came out in full force that day... wowsy wowsy woo woo.
     
  7. Gilzu

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    which brings up that old copy-protection dillema... argh.
     
  8. JoKa

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    A CD version doesn't mean you can't use keys, too
     
  9. vjvj

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    Some arguments in favor of CD options:

    - I usually buy the CD whenever the option is available. I like having a physical copy with a box and artwork and all that stuff (assuming it's not one of those plain CDs).

    - Boxed CDs make nicer gifts. It's fun to hand someone a wrapped gift and watch them unwrap it. Handing them a flash drive and copying a file over or emailing them a download link doesn't quite have the same effect :p
     
  10. ErikH2000

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    For my two products that are offered downloadable or on CD, 12% of my sales were for the CD. During the first two months of selling the first one, 22% of my sales were for the CD. The people that bought the game in the first two months were more of the hardcore fans, and among them, you'd find more that didn't mind paying a little extra for a physical memento.

    I get my CDs printed in batches with the 4-color inserts and disc printing--no cheap-quality one-off publishing that payment processors offer. I guess I only make an extra $2/copy on the CD sales than if they were downloadable. This extra income is negligible, and when the extra time I spend is added in, maybe it's closer to a break-even effort. The benefits as I see it are really:

    * Many fans are happier to buy a nice-looking CD, which has lots of karmic effects that can help you indirectly.
    * I can mail CDs to reviewers or other people that I want to make a good impression on. It seems to help. Kind of like a cheap-ass payola, where if you send a reviewer this nice little gift, he is more likely to remember you later.
    * The team members and other contributors get a CD to put in their trophy case, and that's good for morale.
    * Some people have bad internet and the CD gets a larger game like mine to them reliably.

    So as long as I wasn't losing money on CDs, I would still make them. I am planning also for my next release to have a limited run of extra-deluxe collectible packages to sell at a higher price.

    -Erik
     
  11. arcadetown

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    Perfect for customcd IMHO. Their product looks excellent, printed on demand, ink directly on CD, printed sleeves, and they handle everything including shipping. You keep profit above what they charge you, $3.99 stated publicly. Hassle free and dirt cheap if ask me. Not that I'm their sales guy, BMT gave us enough reason to stay all BMT. Retro64 uses BMT in combo with customcd for example, so think they can integrate with most any order processor.

    btw - By suggestion we auto-checked CD option on and saw more CD sales but a good # of users did it w/o noticing so resulted in complaints & returns, so ultimately turned that off. Some guys will suggest you do that so just be aware of the possible pitfalls.
     
  12. ErikH2000

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    Yeah, that price is really good. It looks like they don't do jewel cases though--just a naked disc inside of a paper mailer. Hmm.

    -Erik
     
  13. vjvj

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    Disc Makers is the other service I was looking at. I don't think they handle shipping (EDIT: They do handle shipping, see below), but they are also pretty cheap and they DO do cases (slim, regular, flexible, dvd-style, and paper):

    http://www.discmakers.com/cdrom/
     
    #13 vjvj, Jul 18, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2006
  14. Hamumu

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    I use Discmakers, shipped to the plimus warehouse, where Plimus does the warehousing and shipping (not the same thing as the usual integrated burn-on-demand stuff at all). I use the flexi plastic cases, because they're cool!
     
  15. Fost

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    Anyone know of an on demand service that will make you a screen (or lacquered inkjet) printed CD, in a DVD snap case (preferably Amaray) with nicely printed DVD cover and postage? Preferably in a way where I take the order, and then send them the details and pay for it.

    I've never managed to find somewhere that does anyhting remotely close to that, hence, to get something like this:
    http://www.moonpod.com/graphic/Starscape_Main.jpg (minus the space ship of course) out of the UK to a US address ends up costing about $10 depending on exchange rate fluctuations.

    If I paid anything for a CD-ROM and a received it in a cardboard sleeve I'd be pretty annoyed. Surely the reason to get a CD is not because of the hard copy backup, but because of the kleptomania aspect of having a nicely printed DVD snap case.

    If you are going to make something that looks throwaway I wouldn't even bother with the service.
     
  16. ErikH2000

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    Yeah, that's exactly what I do too (except the flexi plastic cases).

    I agree with Nick that (at least for myself) it's not an option to send discs without proper jewel cases. This undermines the perceived value of the disc as a collectible when the container it arrives in appears to be disposable.

    -Erik
     
  17. LilGames

    LilGames New Member

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    I hear ya, but even retail boxed games are going this route. I was shocked to find that my $60 (cdn) Oblivion DVD came in a lousy white paper sleeve!

    Thanks for all the feedback folks.
     
  18. vjvj

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    Actually, I've been meaning to ask about that. How does the warehouse thing work? You ship a box of product to them and they say "okay!" and manage your product and ship them out with cd orders and everything? If so, that's a pretty cool service.
     
  19. ErikH2000

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    Yeah, it works like that. You send Plimus a box of CDs or plushies or axes or whatever. The box has a label on it with a Plimus-issued ID (contract ID) to identify which product you sell from your store will be fulfilled by items in this box. You can only put one kind of thing in the box. I.e. if you want to sell 2 types of things, then ship 2 boxes separately. Then you set a minimum quantity for warnings about your inventory being too low. Your order page for any product (or "contract" in Plimus lingo) that is fulfilled with physical product will be modified to including shipping address and shipping method fields.

    The part I've never really quite understood is the billing for warehousing your inventory. They say that if you sell through your inventory in a certain amount of time, you don't have to pay the extra fee for storing your stuff there. That might work if you want to sell a limited quantity of something in a short time and not refill the inventory, but mostly I think you'd just want to keep your item well-stocked. And if there was some weird way you could avoid the warehousing fee by sending small shipments of CDs to Plimus on a regular basis, it would end up being more costly anyhow due to shipping costs.

    A big negative I've found is that PayPal will stop being offered as a payment method for any product that has physical fulfillment. And more nonsensically, if you have a product with multiple contracts under it and just one of them is physically fulfilled, all contracts will stop having PayPal. It makes me angry that Plimus sets up a Product/Contract hierarchy in their control panel that suggests useful ways to group software, (i.e. use different contracts to sell Windows/Mac/Linux or CD/Downloadable for one game), but in practice, it's a big stupid red herring that leads to loss of functionality. This and other problems mean that anyone setting up on Plimus should always use one product for each separate thing being sold and ignore the false usefulness of contract grouping. Probably only Plimus wonks like me understand this paragraph. I apologize.

    -Erik
     
  20. vjvj

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    Not at all, everything you said made sense. When I get a chance I'll shoot them an email asking when this paypal restriction will be fixed...

    Thanks for the info! Very useful stuff.
     

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