I need your advice...[why do you think players are hesitant to download Aveyond]

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by amaranth, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. amaranth

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    Hi everyone, I need your help and your opinions.

    I recently released a game called Aveyond. The conversion rate is very high, but the download rate is average. One gamer said she didn't think the game looked that exciting from a birds-eye view, but once she downloaded it, she loved it.

    My last game, Ahriman's Prophecy, was extremely popular on the download sites. It was free. I have another game, Gaea Fallen, which was also free, and it had a very low download count from the very beginning. So, it seems that the problem is not whether a game is free or not.

    My question is, why do you think players are hesitant to download Aveyond?

    Do you think any of the following problems apply?

    1. Game name, Aveyond, is not compelling.
    2. Game name is too similar to Avernum, an older, popular shareware RPG.
    3. Screenshots are not compelling.
    4. Description is not compelling.
    5. Download size is too large.

    With that said, here are some statistics for my games. Note the difference between the downloads for Gaea Fallen and Ahriman's Prophecy. Both are free games, and both are only about 10 MB in size. This leads me to belive there is more to this equasion than a game just being free or small in size.

    Gaea Fallen

    Ahriman's Prophecy

    Aveyond

    I will take your advice very seriously and keep you updated on the impact of the changes I make as it could be a learning experience for others.
     
    #1 amaranth, Apr 12, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2006
  2. lakibuk

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    100.000 downloads per month - that's amazing!
    Maybe you could put some kind of upsell windows in your free games with a button that links to Aveyond on your site?
     
  3. barrygamer

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    Hi,

    take my ideas with a pinch of salt, but I am now downloading your game because 1) i didnt know it existed till I saw your message, 2) you said it got 100,000 downloads a month! So, based on this (dodgy) logic, perhaps you could look at getting more traffic / word of mouth / reviews. Also, perhaps say on your site "Over 1 million downloads this year!" :D Its a great stat.
    I realise this is not quite your question...

    Congrats on the high conversion rate, gotta feel good seeing that.

    barry
     
  4. amaranth

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    I could do that, but that doesn't address the root of the problem. I need to figure out how to get people to want to download the game when they visit a download site :)

    Guys, I am noting your ideas. I hadn't thought about upselling Aveyond in my free games. I'll have to do this. I'll also work on more reviews etc. For the moment though, I want to focus on what makes someone impulsively download a game from a download site.
     
    #4 amaranth, Apr 12, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2006
  5. ErikH2000

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    I couldn't give you very good advice. My game has the same low downloads-to-viewers problem. (But then again, there is a quick explanation for that: my graphics aren't that good.) I'll be watching this topic for insights.

    I do think the screenshot on your front page for Aveyond (the big tree city) is more interesting than the three on your product info page. The top shot has very little on it, and no character to suggest things happening in the game. The middle shot is okay, but not much going on with just the one player-controlled character onscreen. The bottom shot is aesthetically nice, but again no action on it. I would have more characters on the screen doing things. Not necessarily fighting, since combat isn't such a big deal in Aveyond.

    A small caption underneath the shots could suggest what is going on, i.e. "Rhen is enslaved!" I think your game is about telling a story and not impressing the player with the game engine. So it seems like captions are your big chance to quickly pitch "STORY" to someone with a short attention span who won't necessarily read the text to the left before giving up on the game. I think everybody goes to screenshots first to judge a game. I know I do.

    Being able to click on the thumbs to get full-size shots might help too. I think it's a small letdown not to have them easily available.

    -Erik
     
  6. Mark Sheeky

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    I too like the tree shot better. Try zooming in some screenshots to show the nice detail instead of the whole screen. To me your single "free download" button doesn't make it clear that it IS the download button. Perhaps add a separate "download now" link, a second button or perhaps as text. Also I prefer to know how big a download is before I click the button. Ah, the small print reveals 47Mb.

    Mark
     
  7. Sakura Games

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    For me was download size. 47mb is definitely too much for me only to check it. having isdn connection, takes me 3-4 hours...
     
  8. Pyabo

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    I'm guessing download size is a big issue. Is there any way to trim it down to a demo-only that clocks in at 5-10Mb?
     
  9. amaranth

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    You will be happy to know that I am releasing another version of Aveyond in July that will drop the download size to 20 MB. :)
     
    #9 amaranth, Apr 12, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2006
  10. spellcaster

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    Your yellow buttons do look like headlines - consider to increase the size slightly. Also, try to label them with the action, so it is more clear what will happen once you click a button.
    So, instead of "free download" try "start free download" or "get free trial version", etc.
    Also, add a text link into your text-menu-line:
    Downloads | Player's Guide | Hints, Support | Goodies | Patches | Press Release

    You might also consider to add yet another download link at the bottom of your description page. The user will scroll down to read your description / look at the screenshots. So, make sure there is a download link at the bottom as well. "Get it now" or "Try for yourself" or even the plain "Download Aveyond now" might help.

    I also agree that the screenshot selection might be sub-optimal. The topmost screenshot looks almost empty. Use a different shot and / or zoom into the screens.
     
  11. amaranth

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    spellcaster, thank you for the layout tips. :)

    This is my issue though: I'm worried about how a game looks on download sites like download.com, brothersoft.com, etc. Most people never come directly to my site for a download.

    For example, when you go to download.com, some games get downloaded like crazy and others don't. I'm wondering what I need to do to get people to see my listing and say "Wow! I've got to have that game!"

    On the download sites I don't have control over the buttons etc. I do have control over four things: Name of the game, Game size, 1 screenshot, and a small description. I'm trying to figure out which of these is failing.

    It sounds like dropping the MB will help, but many of the best sellers on places like download.com are large in size. I think updating the screencaps is a must. Does anyone think the name of the game is too vanilla?

    For example, compare Aveyond & Ahriman's Prophecy... To me, Aveyond sounds sweet, while Ahriman's Prophecy sounds intruiging.

    :)
     
  12. Davaris

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    Try replacing your thumbnail screen shots with animated gifs of gameplay. Someone on this forum did something similar and it convinced me that this is the only way to go.

    P.S.
    What strategy did you employ to achieve 1 million downloads in a single year? I await your answer with baited breath, oh great and holy mistress. ;)
     
  13. Davaris

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    I think the problem with the name is its meaningless and doesn't tell me anything about the game. If you had named Ahriman's Prophecy ->Ahriman, it would be as equally meaningless as Aveyond. Try adding a second word to Aveyond's name. How about Aveyond's Curse? :) Though don't use curse or that will curse your game. How about Wizards of Aveyond? :)
     
    #13 Davaris, Apr 13, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  14. amaranth

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    Davaris, it was a complete surprise. And it convinced me to try and sell my next game. AP just took off from the beginning. I didn't do much. Something about the game listing triggered people to download it like crazy from game download sites. You could say that I accidentally stumbled upon a technique that worked. Now I'm trying to figure out what that technique was and apply it to my new games. I don't believe in luck. There's a pattern somewhere... I want to use Aveyond as a sales guinea pig, make a little money, and report back on my findings :)

    Those are great names! I've written them down.
     
    #14 amaranth, Apr 13, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  15. electronicStar

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    I think what you should do is advertize, advertize and advertize more.
    IMO any other changes would be pointless .Except maybe reducing the size but you shouldn't do it if it means removing content (maybe if you can use better compression).
    Maybe the price is a bit high too.
    As for your high number of downloads I think it might be related to your products being in an underserved niche. It's true that there are tons of 2d RPGs available but most of them are freeware and/or unfinished. Your games' graphics are also very polished.
    Also the fact that you have a line of several products helps your notoriety too.And you had a positive review from CNet on on of your games too.
    You probably just tapped into the right source.
     
    #15 electronicStar, Apr 13, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  16. Christian

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    Well, i seen the screenshots, the ones from Aveyond look flat compared to arimans prohecy, also too empty, less detailed and less interesting in comparison.
    Also, in arimans prophecy, there is just 1 intro text, and another block of text to catch my attention, and thats everything i need to know if the game is interesting or not, with aveyond you use 4 blocks of text to tell a story that in my opinion isnt really telling me about what to expect of the game, arimans prophecy description is a better one.
    I hope this helps, good luck.
     
  17. electronicStar

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    I just went to download.com and I noticed that Ahriman's prophecy was under the "console-style RPG" category (7 titles) while Aveyond was under the "General RPG" category (192 titles).
    That might be one big part of the problem.
     
  18. whisperstorm

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    If you can get some banner ads on the game portals that might help. It seems like the key is raising awareness of the game. Try to find a way to say "this isnt just another rpg maker game". Try to get it reviewed by high profile sites...
     
  19. amaranth

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    Thank you so much everyone! I'm taking notes!
     
  20. terin

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    Geezum

    And I am baffled why Amanda didn't e-mail me to ask this- What do you pay me for :p

    1) Most of Amanda's downloads (that is, of Prophecy) are coming from external sites, like Download.com.

    -this means your great critique of the site and the screenshots and the text (most of which is accurate) is avoiding the actual problem.

    2) AP was released 2-3 years ago. Download.com may have been 'larger' then (the category you were in at least).
    -Not going to account for THAT big a difference, but hey, timing is everything.

    3) Shareware vs. Freeware. Your correlation between GF and AP is innaccurate. There is definately a difference between shareware and freeware downloadability. Again, it won't account for 100% of the difference, probably not even 25% of it, but its a factor of many.

    4) 45 megs vs. 10. Another factor. Minor, in my opinion, but a 20 meg demo may solve this tremendously.

    5) Cross-selling is the KEY TO ALL LIFE. Can you get a newsletter signup in AP? If you can, you'll be rich before I am!

    6) Avalanch Downloads- A game that is popular gets downloads. If you break into a certain threshold on download.com or other places you will continue to stay on top and get tons of downloads. "Top" games are based on how many times they are downloaded and top games are downloaded the most because they are on top. You got on top, how? I don't know :) Don't question the will of the gods! (but do cross sell) Electric got it right, the biggest factor is you got your games into two different categories. Try to get Aveyond into the same one AP is, I bet your downloads will increase.

    7) Never trust anyone who can't spell advertise. (Kidding) Advertising may be a solution to gain

    and HEY- I got her on IGN :p http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/699/699027p1.html

    Anyway- If the problem is external then there are only so many items that can account for the lack of downloads

    1) Name
    2) Description
    3) Placement
    4) Images (on some places)

    If the problem is a low % of visitors to YOUR site are downloading- that's a seperate problem.

    -Joe
     

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