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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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Monday, April 03, 2006

The 80 / 20 Rule

You often hear people talk about a mystical marketing rule called the 80 / 20 rule. It basically states that 80% of the result can be had for 20% of the work. It applies to almost every single activity you'll ever do.

Unfortunately, it is a rule and not a law. Laws, like gravity, always exist. This rule doesn't... and it is because it does NOT apply to casual games that I make this post.

Let me rephrase that. It does not apply to casual games in the way most of you would first think.

Once upon a time someone asked me "Why should I take an extra X number of months polishing my game when the 80 / 20 rule says the last 20% of the game takes 80% of the time for only 20% of the result."

This is a common way to mistake that rule.

Here's the reality as it applies to games:

A game can be completed to 80% with 20% of the effort.

However, the final 20% represents 95% of the sellability of the game.

The end result is you spend 20% of the time producing an 80% game and get 5% of the sales it could have.

Yeah, that's a lot of confusing numbers, and really they are guestimates anyway.

Here's the truth. There are a lot of games out there. There's some really bad games... but most of all there are THOUSANDS of "pretty good" and even "good" games. In fact, I would say 80% of all games fall into the pretty good catagory. Those 80% of the games represent LESS than 20% of the sales. To have your game do REALLY well (note how often I am using caps here) you've gotta make it exceptional. The only way to do that is to take it that last 20% of the way.

Those final steps are worth more than all the work you put into creating the actual gameplay, idea, and implimentation... its the wrapping on the present that makes it special...

In fact, it is a lot like the lingerie for your game. Girls are hottest when they are wearing appealing clothing, not when they are naked. I'll leave any further comparisons about a "naked" game and how undressing takes more time to your imagination.

Book editing is on page 70!

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