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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.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Spam mail, Marketing, and Politics

My grandparents (yes, still alive thankfully) forwarded me a set of e-mails today. I don't normally write about politics, but sometimes the ignorance of the massess sets me off.

There's a marketing tie-in too. Always take what you learn about marketing and apply it to politics. It doesn't matter what government or country, it's always the same- Marketing politics is the biggest business in business. There's a variety of studies show that it's how a politics bill or even a political person is marketed that is a primary motivator of outcome rather than the actual poltiics and beliefs that should govern the process. Further there's a direct correlation between money spent and success.

Believe it? You shouldn't. I just made up most of the above paragraph. Parts of it are true, parts of it are false. It is an ancient marketing trick of mixing fact and fiction to tell a tale people WANT to hear. If I slapped this kind of a message into a "tell your friends" spam e-mail it would circulate the globe in a matter of hours. Why? Because this is the message people want to hear and they will believe it to be written by an authority as long as it is stated as facts and is relatively believable. You can even use this style of marketing to make logical jumps that aren't even connected.

In the e-mail that set me off on this tirade the conclusion was: Middle Eastern countries vote against the United States (with a list of %s on how often, yet no source on where these %s came from) because they hate us. Yet we give them foreign aid, therefore we should remove them from our foreign aid and exit the United Nations.

What the hell? My grandparents sent this to me because they believed it! A list of e-mails was included in it of other poor souls who recieved it. They missed a logical gap the size of the grand canyon SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO HEAR THIS and were willing to GLOSS OVER THE DETAILS.

Here's the gap. Is this e-mail suggesting that because the United States gives someone foreign aid that they should vote for what we believe in? Are they suggesting the 2 billion dollars we give Egypt to (in theory) help feed their hungry should somehow equate out to international bribery? And what the hell does any of this have to do with the United States withdrawing from the UN? Is it suggesting that because people vote against us we should just quit the UN? What kind of backwards narrow ass minded shit is that!? Yet my grandparents bought it enough they felt it important to forward to me and everyone else on their address book, simply because it told them what they wanted to hear, that the arab nations hate the United States.

Me, personally, I am not sure I support some of the foreign aid programs, nor am I sure I support the curren state of the UN, but it scares me that people can be duped by an amature marketing attempt like this: Imagine how they and many others are affected when a real professional does it while you're trying to vote for something like ... oh... President / Prime Minister.

Always understand the adjenda and motive of the speaker, always question anything stated as fact without supporting evidence... and STOP FORWARDING ME SHLOCK MARKETING.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Intro and Exit

I was reviewing a client of mine when I brought up a point that I kinda of brush on in my book. In hindsight I should have emphasized this more in the book- its there, but it is a little obscure. In my book I talk about, in a demo, where you have chances to 'sell' your game. Two of those listed are when the game starts and when the person exits.

And now I change tracks for a moment. My speech and debate teacher, in highschool, was a jerk... but he was good at speech and debate. One of the lessons he taught was the way to effectively get an idea across is to first, tell them what you are going to say, then tell them what you came to tell them, and finally tell them what you just said.

A demo is kinda the same way. When it comes to a product with two nag screens, one on entry and one on exit, you want the two nag screens to be DIFFERENT.

The first nag screen should tell them what they are about to play and experience. The game will let them experienced, and the final nag screen should tell them A) what a good time they just had and B) What they were missing out on.

The final nag screen is a closer, but your FIRST nag screen shouldn't be the same message. Otherwise you have the equivolent of walking into a store and having the sales clerk say "So, this is the one you want" before you even tell him what you're looking for. Your opening nag screen should pitch them all the glory of the demo. The closing nag screen should pitch them all the glory of the final version.

This is just a rule of thumb for most products- it may not be true for every product. Nag screen contents should vary based on audience and complexity of your game.

And since my mother has informed me she is reading my blog as a second religion now- You could always just take her voice and record it as your intro or exit, there's no greater nag in the world than my ma.

I'll just stand here and wait for the phone to ring. A count to 10 should be enough ....

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Marketing is the Soap of the Unwashed Masses

I'm back from E3! Sad to say all I saw was a small area of Kentia Hall as 99% of my time was spent staring at the inner walls of Meeting Room 7529. The bright side is my legs don't hurt much, as I was sitting down.

I did get to pop over to South Hall for about 5 minutes (really, 5 minutes exactly). The title of this entry popped immediately into my head. Marketing is the soap of the unwashed masses.

Why? Because its a title that sounds great and means nothing, just like the multi-hundred thousand dollar booths I saw in my 5 minute jaunt. Sell the glitz, sell the names, sell sell sell. It is absolutely impossible that these companies featuring their many products in south hall can all make back what they are spending. Most of them will be entirely forgotten by the sixty thousand visitors, despite their HD plasma televisions, fog machines, light shows, and live stage performers.

My five minutes in South Hall told me that big business is all about marketing and none of the big business marketeers want to do anything more creative than get into a money war of ads and glitz, and so those uncreative companies will be the first to go in the upcoming round of thinning and consolitation.

PS: I saw a poster for Fallout 3. Please let it be good!

Monday, May 01, 2006

INDIE GAME GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE

Hooha! Yipee! And other elated remarks.

Yes, it is done. I hereby declare it a ... book! You can pick it up from the links at www.indiegameguide.com

I did a press release today through my own press release service. Keeping in mind that my press release list is GAMES only, I would like to say I it was a success :)

So far it snagged a smattering of posts and interest around the web and will likely result in a review on Slashdot (www.slashdot.com) and Gamasutra. I consider those two sources alone as "worth it."

Also I would like to formally appologize to Laughing Dragon GAMES for A) messing up their company name and B) not linking to their www.laughingdragon.com website.
Same goes for Caravel Games (www.caravelgames.com) which I also forgot to link.

Now leave me alone Mark! Some people with their persistent IMing...
-Joe

PS: www.indiegameguide.com -> you know you want it!