This is why portals sell more that you do!

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Roman Budzowski, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Roman Budzowski

    Indie Author

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    Hi
    If you ever wondered why portals sell so much and you so low and it wasn't obvious then read my latest blog post. I know, I didn't discover America, but still, I was quite surprised when I all summed it up.

    This is why portals sell more than you do!

    Let me know your thoughts. Maybe I forgot to mention something.

    The next step will be finding how we (indies) can be competitive with portals (without hurting portal sales, because games that don't sell don't get promotion).

    cheers
    Roman
     
    #1 Roman Budzowski, Oct 11, 2010
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  2. Jack Norton

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    As you said, nothing new....
    I just want to add that most of the things you say very soon will be valid points also for niche games, just replace BFG with Steam :eek:
     
  3. Roman Budzowski

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    Steam? Maybe, maybe. Don't have experience with it myself though.
     
  4. Escapee

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    Very sad to say that Jack may be right, I'm a steam customer myself. They do offer plenty of niche games though I never find them interesting. (i'm a left 4 dead kind of hardcore players)

    Another way to boost the developers' direct sales is through affiliate offering using E-commerce providers such as Regnow, BMTMICRO and Plimus. Email the webmaster (ie DFG, me, etc) about your game and the affiliate offer once it's released because finding new games in some e-commerce system is really troublesome. I'm very sure they will be more than willing to add your games on their site since diversification is really a key step for survival at this time. I think if webmasters (ie : review, affiliate) and developers can band together and form a closer relationship then we can may be defer the "new world order" in gaming industry for a few more years (or months) before the big guys take over everything. :D
     
    #4 Escapee, Oct 11, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  5. zoombapup

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    Havent we been through this all before though? In the "portals vs selling direct" debate?

    The one thing portals do that you cant, is have a huge catalogue. You COULD do that if you were prepared to spend a lot of time building it, but most people wouldnt deal because you'd have no traffic. So chicken and egg. But imagine you have 100 million to invest. You CAN get content there. You can also buy traffic too.

    The question should really be: What can we learn from portals and apply to our own marketing. Sure, some of it wont work without the huge portfolio etc. But some stuff will. Like spending on ads (and making sure the numbers for that add up).

    Jack: Why do you say that about steam??
     
  6. joe

    joe
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    From your blog:
    It's easy. Dont waste time with thinking about how to compete with portals or how to beat them with your marketing. Instead: Make a great game. A game that is so hot that everyone wants to play it, a game that is so different that everyone tells his friends about it, a game thats fun, fun, fun - a game that entertains the players! Then you'll have a single USP that the portals probably can't compete with...
     
  7. Escapee

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    His reply to my comment on his blog..

     
  8. Jack Norton

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    Because most of the "hardcore" and "niche" players buy games on Steam. And Steam doesn't accept all games, and they do discounts 365 days a year, so obviously people will buy the game there.
    I myself don't buy games ANYWHERE else anymore, since I'm sure that sooner or later game XYZ will be on 90% discount on steam.

    Probably the only safe way to go if you want still to do everything on your own is a MMO/online game.
     
  9. Grey Alien

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    Here's the stuff I posted over on BlitzBasic.com

    Yep that's a big list of USPs to compete against. It's true that you can offer better support, and you could in theory offer a better price but then you are into price wars which is not healthy. You can offer bundles, portals don't do that very often if at all. You can offer merchandise (t-shirts, mugs etc) for your games. You could offer an alpha version for 50% off (like Minecraft). You can offer no DRM and no gamelaucher. You could program a recommendation engine like Amazon has, but it probably wouldn't be easy, besides if you've only made a few games you should just recommend them all :) You could offer user-ratings on the games. You could offer different demo lengths, or cut your demo at a cliffhanger and use an upsell screen, but going longer is probably dumb. You could offer an online version (maybe Facebook) and iPhone version etc all on the same page - portals won't offer a Facebook version as they don't want to loose players to free Facebook games. Ok think I've run out.

    The Steam comment made me think of these: Also you could add an achievements systems which the portals don't have but that's not exactly quick and easy. Same with global high scores, and in-game chat, and any other connectivity-related stuff that the portals won't let you do in case their customers freak out when your game tries to connect to the Internet.
     
  10. JGOware

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    "Maybe I forgot to mention something."

    Uh...yah, advertising. Portals (BFG) spend a crazy amount of money on advertising. Unfortunately in the indie world, most who make a buck, spend a buck, on food and bills.
     
  11. Roman Budzowski

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    Thanks for your comments.

    Creating niche games is great strategy, but requires skills that I don't have at the moment (like picking the genre and theme that will appeal to niche players). I'm more interested in mastering my "casual games" skills and thus I'm looking at the ways to maximize revenue from those games.
     
  12. EJSainz

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    First of all, thanks to Roman again for a very interesting point of view on the Casual Portal vs. Small Developers war.

    That said, I believe there is one USP that requires quite an ammount of work, but that may come really handy to get your own crowd of players. And that would be looking at your new game like a service instead of a product.

    There is one thing portals don't want to happily do, and that is updating your game. It takes time to have it tested for technical problems; even if it's just a simple new content (extra levels, gifts) they need to go through an expensive period of QA.

    Therefore, any effort that makes your game easily expandable will help you take the lead. That includes:
    1) New content - levels - gifts
    2) User generated content
    3) The possibility to participate in contests
    4) Etc.

    Unfortunatelly, that means a lot of technical and marketing work not so related to making games, which is what we love in the end. And thus, taking this direction will not be easy, and will require to change our mental concept of what a game is.

    It's always David vs Goliath :) .
     
  13. Spore Man

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    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but that error, repeated even in the blogpost, was annoying me. :->
     
  14. GolfHacker

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    Have you been reading my playbook? That's exactly what I did with my Fashion Cents dress-up game, and that's why it still sells, even after 8 years. First, the game is only available from my site. (Not exactly my choice, but no portals except Reflexive wanted it, and they're now dead.) I release several free add-ons each year, and I held contests to name the add-on pack. I also put out a Fashion Designer Kit a couple of years ago for customers to create their own clothes for the game, which they can share on my forum. (For awhile I had a lot of user-created content being uploaded, but this has tapered off in recent months.)

    So it can be done. But the game has to be designed that way from square one...
     
  15. Artinum

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    Urk, me too. And apparently, in the article itself, seven days are a "weak". Errors like this make my brane hert.
    Maybe I should start emailing websites like this with Indieproofing's details.
     
  16. Roman Budzowski

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    Artinum, you're free to proofread my blog posts for free (since this blog is free and used to share experience).
     
  17. Grey Alien

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    When I read a blog by a non-native English speaker I don't let spelling and grammar bother me, the content is what matters. However, it's probably wise for non-native English speakers to run a quick US English spellcheck to boost credibility with people who don't realise. I still use UK English on my blog, forum posts and emails because I'm English and proud of it goddammit (interestingly Firefox hasn't highlighted that last word :))
     
  18. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    Yep guys, that isn't really fair :)

    We know that most native English speaker (English or American) can't speak a second language. Be gentle with the non-native speaker like us... Can you imagine yourself blogging or posting in a different language than English? That's what we have to do... That's hard enough without having the literate ones picking you on mistake :)
    Are we here to learn/share game dev experiences or are we trying to get a degree in English? :)

    JC
     
  19. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I agree. This is a global community and nit-picking with spelling is tantamount to ignorance.
     
  20. ecruz

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    [​IMG]

    ... is everywhere.
     

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