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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.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

When NOT to make a demo

Based at a thread from Indie Gamer: http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?p=101067&posted=1#post101067

There are a number of factors which go into if you need a demo or not. In my book *shameless plug* I allude to the fact it may be in your best interest to NOT have a demo at times.

Here are the factors that go into the demo making decision. I'll repost this in my blog as well:

1) Hype- How much work has been done and how much are you relying on the demo to build hype. If you're about to release a game and haven't done anything to promote it then you need a demo to help build traffic.

2) Target Audience- Who is likely to purchase your product? The closer you get to the match-3 / diner dash casual audience the more you will need a demo. The reason is because your target audience with casual games don't consider themselves game players. They download games every day (yes, that's right) and their purchases are purely impulsive. This is slowly changing, but will still be true for a long time.

3) Difficulty of the Game- The reason most titles do NOT have a demo is because their complexity. For example: A wargame. The theory is that a demo user is less motivated to learn a game and will dislike it more because they don't understand what is going on. If they purchase the game they will take the time to read the manual and understand the dynamics, leading to greater enjoyment and more likely second purchases.

4) Quality of the Game- Looks vs. Quality is an important factor here. If the game looks fantastic and plays like ... well, crap. It is in your best interest not to have a demo. The worse the game the less likely you should be to release a demo- afterall, it is better to have your customers unsure of your quality than to know your game sucks. When in doubt, since you are unlikely to honestly say your own game sucks... ask someone objective... like me.

5) Quality of the Demo- If your developer in question has no clue how to make a good demo, a demo will actually hurt sales. A good demo design that cuts the user off at the right time is vital to higher conversion rates.

I tried to get these in 'importance' order, more or less. The key problem most indie developers face is simply their entire marketing plan hinges on a demo. The target audience is a factor that will simply force you to make a demo no matter what.

This is probably missing a few ideas, given I wrote this in about 5 minutes of the factors I have seen that either damaged a game's sales or factors I have seen that lead to the decision not to make a demo. Still, it is a good guideline to get you started.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Lingering PR Effect

A press release client of mine recieved an e-mail this morning from a paper magazine in Portugal. This isn't unusual, a good press release and a good game can often catch the attention of magazine editors.

What was unusual is that they contacted us 6 MONTHS after the press release. I see this a couple times a year actually. It always amazes me, but people can and do remember good press releases and sometimes you are still getting bites months after releasing them.

One more reason that press releases provide excellent 'bang for your buck' opportunity.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

When you assume things

In a recent discussion with a collegue of mine the point was brought up: In your book you don't explicitly say how important it is to have a legible, well written and well presented, press release.

I had made the assumption that ANY such release would be legible and well written. However, this collegue was on the recieving end of press releases rather than the sending one and I was assured that this is NOT the case.

I know my blog is not exactly the paradigm of grammar and spelling, but when you are contacting a member of the press; be it from a press release or solicitation for review... USE PROPER GRAMMAR and SPELLING. If you are contacting places in English and English is not your native language- have someone else write it for you. Most people out there would be happy to take the 60 seconds and put it together for you. Not speaking the language is not an excuse. You don't have to appologize for it (I get a lot of 'sorry, I speak not english well.' e-mails). Nobody I know holds the fact you weren't raised in the US or UK against you, but if we can't figure out what you are asking the odds are your e-mail ends up in the trash rather than having us take the time to sort it out.

So my point:
If you speak english and write poorly you have no excuse. Get someone else to do it.
If you don't speak english, get someone else to do it.

The importance is the person recieving the e-mail can quickly understand what you want, be it review or news posting and believe that your company is as professional as any other.