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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, February 04, 2006

A good comment is hard to find

In our last post, someone who didn't give their name wrote:

"i'm sorry but i dont think i'll read your book. What one would need are serious statistics on indy businesses (which are terribly hard to provide), not theories, opinions and anecdotes."

Comments like these are like cockroaches (no, seriously, hear me out!)- If you see ONE it probably means there are thousands more lurking silently.

So I wanted to supply reasoning for why the book is not a book of statistic tests.

The funny thing about numbers in business settings is that they don't follow the normal laws of numbers. See, when you read an analysis of a business decision what you are reading LOOKS like hard numbers and statistics, but is actually an interpretation of data: In short- it is the author's opinions, theories, and personal anecdotes cleverly disguised as fact.

Let's take a math example. Let’s say there are three sales for a product with three key features. We all know 1 + 1 + 1 is 3. So we can write that these three features contribute to 33.3% of sales (yes this is a stupid example, just bear with me)- But what if there is a fourth item? What if it is 1 + 0 + 1 + 1? What if it is 2+0+1?

Now statistics is the ART of predicting these kinds of things, and I understand that. If I had a controlled test and a few million dollars in research money I could test each theory stated in the book and determine if the instances and practices are actually true. Unfortunately, that will never come to pass. Even if I had the power to collect all the data from every game released in the last three years it wouldn't provide me the information to accurately predict business decisions.
What that leaves me with are the principals behind consumer behavior, business, and sales along with limited knowledge of sales facts (those "hard" numbers, most of which I am not allowed to state outright).

The point of the book isn't to give you some ultimate formula to make your game, because by the time that went to print the formula would be wrong (unlike math, business formulas never stay the same). It is to provide the background and underlying principals to make smart decisions and to provide the tools and suggestions to follow through on the principal ideas.

In the end it is a book of advice, something people pay millions of dollars for under the umbrella of consulting. To say that the advice is not worthwhile merely because it is not backed by mathematics would be the equivalent of saying you do not believe the person to be competent.

Now- I can't say I am competent... can't say it and have someone believe it at least, but I leave my reputation amongst the community to speak for me. In the end, I believe my book will be invaluable to someone new to independent game development. I further believe the veterans out there will also enjoy reading it to compare their opinions to mine, find new ideas, and maybe pick up a few new tricks.

So to my anonymous poster I say thank you for providing a GOOD comment; even though it was negative! I hope I have swayed your opinion or at least removed some doubt from anyone else out there who had thought the same thing.


Anonymous Greg Squire said...

Well put Joe, and as I've heard, 98.7% of all statistics lie. ;) Looking forward to your book. Take Care!

11:47 AM  
Blogger tetricus said...

As a professional pollster I object to the first comment.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Juuso - Game Producer said...


But NOT all.



4:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was me that made that comment.

Yes, probably this book will be helpful for those that are new to the business and interested in getting into it to have the basic knowledge (where to submit your game, what payment process provider chose...) and some common sense advice.

I just doubt about it's usefullness for those of us that are already there. After all experience is the best teacher.

Anyway, good luck with it!

Matteo Guarnieri


4:58 AM  
Blogger /d said...

Hi Joe,

You know me from Game Overdrive.

I look forward to reading the book when it comes out--keep me informed.

6:25 PM  
Blogger VGsmart said...

Agreed and good to have you around Matteo!

And Tetricus is an evil pollster :)

4:09 PM  

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