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Video Game Marketing

Indie Game Marketing from the author of the Game Marketing book, The Indie Developer's Guide to Selling Games. Video Game Marketing made simple... or at least as simple as I can make it.

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Location: Philomath, Oregon, United States

As you can see on the left: I am a professional juggler. The rest you can learn from this Blog.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Horizontal vs. Vertical Niches

Section 2, Chapter 1 of the unedited Indie Marketing Survival Guide (ok, that's just a test name... I think it needs to be shorter) is about Horizontal and Vertical Niches. What are they and most importantly, how they will affect the marketing of your product.

The unedited introduction currently says this on the subject:
"In the gaming world you will have the opportunity to create any game you can imagine. However, the best difference between a business and a hobby game designer is how they select the products they make. It doesn’t necessitate that the businessman does either horizontal or vertical development, just that they make a conscious choice on which one to go after."

Ok so that didn't tell you squat about either one. Unfortunately I can't cut and paste this whole section into my blog, so I will summerize it:

Horizontal is a mass market approach where you are targetting gamers or even genres. You are more likely to rely on large traffic sources and third parties, which will cost you a percent of profits, but have the opportunity to capture a very large population and with it a large amount of cold hard cash.

Vertical is a narrow market, you are targetting a type of person very specifically. You are most likely to really get your hands dirty in marketing a vertical game, going out there and seeking this tight knit target market (remember that from the earlier post?). Vertical games don't even need to target gamers- they just need to target people interested in something. Because you are doing a lot of the legwork here yourself, your margins should be higher. Often your risk will also be lower as well, though that depends mostly on competition and quality.

So, keep this tip in mind: If you are planning on making a product that you feel isn't going to be a smash hit with the mass market approach, try to alter it to better suit some vertical market. For instance my recurring example is Soap Box Racers, targeting gravity racing fans. A vertical product like that doesn't even need to be sold to racing gamers, you can sell it directly to gravity racing enthusiasts REGARDLESS of if they like video games! It all depends on your design, of course... and obviously people who DISLIKE video games won't be interested (they just don't have to identify themselves with gamers).

Aim vertical unless you have a plan to succeed in the mass market.

But maybe I just reccomend that because I am short... :)

More tips to come next weekend. And stay tuned during the week for general discussion on the process of printing your own book. Currently below this post you'll find the post on "what the heck size should this be." Currently 6x9 is in the lead.

Current Mood: Waiting for Civ4 to arrive...


Anonymous free game video said...

Great posts about Horizontal vs. Vertical Niches. Your blog is full of interesting thoughts. Keep up the good work, VGsmart.

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7:56 AM  
Anonymous Tom Cain said...

Good tips, Joe!

In my marketing experience with vertical clients, an unnoticed benefit is that marketing to a vertical niche is easier.

The more vertical the market, the more likely one publication reaches everyone in it. Such pubs can be starved for content, thrilled to review a new product in their niche, and more inclined to give a positive review.

In pubs like this, following a positive review with a bi-monthly, 1/4-page ad buy is a simple and often-successful 12-month marketing strategy.

5:40 PM  

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