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Thread: How to Sell Your Game - Boot Camp

  1. #1

    Default How to Sell Your Game - Boot Camp

    Hi everyone, I made this tutorial for the RPG maker crowd, but I thought this could be helpful for anyone who has made a game and does not know what to do next.

    How-To-Sell-Your-Game.pdf

    This is a very targeted tutorial. There are lots of options I've not listed in it, but hopefully it will be helpful anyways.

    June 17, 2013:
    Updated to Version 3

    Notes:
    -Replaced Plimus with BMT Micro
    -Replaced Astrum Install Wizard with CreateInstall
    -Section for people using Demo/Full-Version and section for people using DRM
    Last edited by amaranth; 06-17-2013 at 09:07 AM.
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Amanda Fitch | Game Designer | Facebook | Amaranth Games, LLC
    Our Games: Aveyond, A Gypsy's Tale, Grimm's Hatchery, Yummy Drink Factory

  2. #2

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    Should be a sticky. Very nice of you to do this. I'm sure alot of noobs to the indie scene will be all over this.

  3. #3

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    I made it sticky

    Best regards,
    Emmanuel
    Emmanuel Marty
    Programmer/designer, Azada: Ancient Magic, Azada, Atlantis Sky Patrol, Mystic Inn, Fairies and Atlantis. iPhone: Atlantis Sky Patrol, Azada
    Creator, Kanji game engine, powering Serpent of Isis 2, Dark parables, Relics of fate and many topselling games

  4. #4

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    I found the "Get an order Processor" chapter very handy. I haven't gotten to this point in my project yet and was a bit anxious about it all.

  5. #5

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    I hope it helps. I need to edit it a bit this weekend, but my eyes are tired. If I've left out anything important, let me know.
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Amanda Fitch | Game Designer | Facebook | Amaranth Games, LLC
    Our Games: Aveyond, A Gypsy's Tale, Grimm's Hatchery, Yummy Drink Factory

  6. #6

    Default

    It looks really good. There's a few spelling mistakes in the current version (must be your poor tired eyes) the biggest one being you've incorrectly spelled your link right at the bottom. Otherwise though it looks really useful and very information.

  7. #7

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    DO NOT EVER ATTEMP
    TO SELL A GAME BEFORE YOUíVE BETA TESTED IT.
    Sorry but that made me laugh

    Other than that line (and possibly the DRM bit) it's a good guide, nice work

  8. #8

    Default

    A technical point that I'm unsure of:
    In the DRM bit, point 20, shouldn't it be ShortV3 instead of V3?

    @David:
    There are still many RM users who do skip or reduce the beta-testing phase.

  9. #9

    Thumbs up

    Very good, thanks!
    Best Regards,
    Arto Ruotsalainen
    My Website - My Game

  10. #10

    Default

    Nice guide. Clearly aimed a total newbies, but very well done and with some info also for veterans.

    I have only a few comments:
    - DRM: with the fast connections nowadays I think is much better to opt for the demo/fullversion download. Advantages: no risk of google blacklisting your site because you have a outdated version of armadillo (happened to my friend patrice, to berserker, and others). The demo can be much shorter than the amount needed (bionic heart demo is "only" 45mb while fullversion is almost 200mb). Is much harder to crack/copy (they need to upload the actual file vs a simple license text). Easier for users to download a file rather than copy/paste codes.

    -hosting: I recommend hostgator/liquidweb (never tried godaddy, can be good as well)

    -order processor: I think BMT is the best available today (no silly giant font size=128 "ASK FOR REFUND" in customer receipt), or even fastspring is nice even if they STILL LACK a decent affiliate system

  11. #11

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    Thanks for putting the effort on this Amanda.

    It would have been cool if I had this document at end when I started...

    JC

  12. #12

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    @David:
    There are still many RM users who do skip or reduce the beta-testing phase.
    Nah, the reason I found it amusing is due to the missing 'T' on attempt (So it was a sentence about always testing with a bug in it!)

  13. #13

    Default

    Interesting guide. There's a couple things I'd like to add to the conversation:

    1. Hosting

    I use GoDaddy for web hosting. I used to use them for email and just cannot say enough bad things about their email hosting. 90% of the people I know with gmail or yahoo accounts that tried emailing me got messages rejected. Even plain text without attachments. The problem is that the GoDaddy servers are on the SORBS blacklist. GoDaddy kept telling me I had to work it out with SORBS; SORBS refused to talk to me because I wasn't from GoDaddy. I finally just gave up and switched companies. Their site hosting is good - good download speeds and super easy application installation - but their email hosting is about as bad as their customer support.


    2. Beta Testing

    I've been programming for quite a few years, and probably the most important thing that experience has taught me is that if you programmed it, you are the worst person to test it. You'll subconsciously ignore things that other people will notice immediately. Alpha and Beta testing are extremely important. As soon as you have a (mostly) stable build of any program, you should have at least one other person start looking at it.

    That being said, I'd like to see you address that point more. You mention getting 10 - 20 people to test your game. But how? How do you get that many motivated people to help test when you are just starting out? I have a small group of friends who help out with testing, but I'm talking about 3 - 5 people depending on who happens to have the time that week / month. It just seems like a catch-22 -- have to be popular to get a following, have to have the following to get popular.

  14. #14

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by How-to-sell-your-game.pdf
    Most newbs start out by having a demo and a full version of their game. If you do this expect to loose 70% of your sales. I donít know why sales are so bad, but I can only tell you that it happens over and over again.
    Really? I've never heard any such thing before. What's your source?

    I do separate full and demo versions, and if it's causing any problems then I don't know about them (which is possible, of course). I know a lot of other people around here do so as well. If there's an easy way we can all increase our sales by >100%, I'm sure we'd like to hear about it!
    Inventive Dingo
    Mayhem Intergalactic - streamlined space strategy game

  15. #15

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    Beta-testing MUST be done, but I have always had the same (and only) beta-tester since the beginning.
    My experience is that one experienced (and trustworthy) beta-tester values 10.

  16. #16

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    An excellent beginners guide :-)

    Some of your points would require a bit of scaling depending on the nature of the game, I think. Specifically, it's difficult to quantify beta testing in terms of just time. It would depend on how complex your game was, and the dedication of the testers.

    As far as an installer goes, I'd suggest the free (and excellent) Nullsoft Scriptable Installation System (NSIS) as an alternative for those who are a little more tech savvy and want to have more detailed control over their installer.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisP View Post
    Really? I've never heard any such thing before. What's your source?
    My website. I've helped a lot of indies, and one thing is certain, devs who switch to the 1 hour model make loads more sales on my site. Obviously, my test poll is small, but when I watch a dev go from selling 6 games per month on my site to 400, it's difficult not to notice.
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Amanda Fitch | Game Designer | Facebook | Amaranth Games, LLC
    Our Games: Aveyond, A Gypsy's Tale, Grimm's Hatchery, Yummy Drink Factory

  18. #18

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    I've always wondered about that 1-hour trial system: Would it be viable to, instead of putting it as a strict 1 hour limit, manually place a cut-off point for the demo? Intuition says that it would benefit RPGs and games with stories, that way you can end it at a cliff hanger; but the fact that it's not being used by RPGs seem to imply that in reality that doesn't help much. Or is it just to conform to the general trial system of BFG and the like?

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by amaranth View Post
    but when I watch a dev go from selling 6 games per month on my site to 400, it's difficult not to notice.
    lol quite a change!!!
    But I suppose you refer only to RPG maker or generic casual games? I had good results with spirited heart in your site and in practice the trial is unlimited, you can play for how long you want but never reach the advanced jobs or marry anyone.

  20. #20

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    First of all, thanks Amanda for the effort and your openness.

    What I find most interesting is the sale boost coming from the DRM locked demo compared to two separate downloads (demo and full).

    I would really appreciate if you could specify: what was the change that caused this sales boost in the cases you observed on your site? Let's say the example from 6 sales / month to 400. Did the customer's game experience with the demo change too? Or was is just the fact he didn't get a link after purchase but an activation code instead?

    Once again, thank you for your time.

  21. #21

    Default

    That's a very interesting guide, thanks!

    I find the part about the demo interesting too though - I know that as a consumer I often prefer to try out seperate download demos, since downloading them takes less time/space in case I don't like it. (The large downloads are usually for things that I'm mostly sure that I'll get)

    But others could think differently about this (and it seems they do).

  22. #22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by amaranth View Post
    My website. I've helped a lot of indies, and one thing is certain, devs who switch to the 1 hour model make loads more sales on my site. Obviously, my test poll is small, but when I watch a dev go from selling 6 games per month on my site to 400, it's difficult not to notice.
    I wonder if anyone else has data to support this. I have a gut feeling that this may work more with Standard Casual Games, RPGs, Adventure Games, and other story driven games (which is what Amanda sells). I have my doubts whether the "one hour" demo approach may be the best in other genres, like 2D shooter games for example. Anyone have thoughts on that?

    Oh, and a great beginners guide BTW. Nice work Amanda!

  23. #23

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    Great guide, and thanks so much for writing and sharing it, along with your inside knowledge on this business.

    Regarding GoDaddy, though - beware. It appears to me to be a somewhat shady company, which shouldn't be a surprise given the general grossness of the guy that runs it, his Vegas affiliations, and his porn style advertising.

    I read stories of people searching for domains through GoDaddy only to end up with GoDaddy autoregistering them in their name halfway through the process...? And no shortage of other stories where GoDaddy ends up with ownership of people's domain names.

    And I'll contrast that with Domain Discover who I recommend - they actually give me a courtesy phone call to let me know when a domain is expiring rather than just assuming automatic ownership and trying to sell it back to me for thousands.
    Junkyard Sam, Game Industry Artist & UI/UX Designer. Portfolio

  24. #24


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    Just use http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.html and never complain. Free mail, calendar, wiki, blogger and who knows what's coming Or register the domain through a similar blogger.com offer and get a free blogger premium plus some extended picasa web or something like that.

    Or use small biz from microsoft, they were giving away domains for free for the first year, but I can't stand their overbloated slow javascript.
    NO MORE SARCASM, JUST STRAIGHT CAPS FACTS.
    this is sparta!!!!

  25. #25

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    I just wanted to chime in and say thanks for this thread. I found it very informative. It's posts like this that made me sign up here. Most other game dev sites are only about programming (or noobs asking how to make MMO's every other post) and rarely cover the business end of things. Finaly a forum with info I can actually use!

  26. #26

    Angry

    Quote Originally Posted by Junkyard Sam View Post
    Great guide, and thanks so much for writing and sharing it, along with your inside knowledge on this business.

    Regarding GoDaddy, though - beware. It appears to me to be a somewhat shady company, which shouldn't be a surprise given the general grossness of the guy that runs it, his Vegas affiliations, and his porn style advertising.

    I read stories of people searching for domains through GoDaddy only to end up with GoDaddy autoregistering them in their name halfway through the process...? And no shortage of other stories where GoDaddy ends up with ownership of people's domain names.

    And I'll contrast that with Domain Discover who I recommend - they actually give me a courtesy phone call to let me know when a domain is expiring rather than just assuming automatic ownership and trying to sell it back to me for thousands.
    I've experienced this myself. If they don't buy it and register it at the same time that you checked to see if the domain name was available, they'll buy it a short while after if you decide not to purchase it right away. This scheme is well known and is all over the internet and my friend didn't believe me when I told him about it, only to find that godaddy had registered the domains he searched for the following day.
    Lex - President and Founder of Red Panda Games
    Commercial Games - Bipo: Mystery of the Red Panda
    http://www.redpandagames.com

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Squire View Post
    I wonder if anyone else has data to support this. I have a gut feeling that this may work more with Standard Casual Games, RPGs, Adventure Games, and other story driven games (which is what Amanda sells). I have my doubts whether the "one hour" demo approach may be the best in other genres, like 2D shooter games for example. Anyone have thoughts on that?
    I think that the great change is in the "nag" screen that the DRM system add to the game...

    @Amanda: Do the demo version (the one without the DRM) have a "nag" or a link to the "buy page" after the user exit the game?

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by amaranth View Post
    My website. I've helped a lot of indies, and one thing is certain, devs who switch to the 1 hour model make loads more sales on my site. Obviously, my test poll is small, but when I watch a dev go from selling 6 games per month on my site to 400, it's difficult not to notice.
    i've sent you my game link but you did'nt even reply me or advise your opinion

  29. #29

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    I have my domain names with go-daddy, so could anyone suggest an alternative domain-name-hoster-place-thingy (whatever you call those, providers?) to transfer, and do you think i could transfer my domain names from go-daddy to someplace else without too much hassle?

  30. #30

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    I use Site5 for my site, and NameCheap for my domain registration. I've been very happy with them.
    PiddlePup Games, LLC
    www.piddlepup.com
    Games for the whole family!
    Come try out our latest games: Majestic Forest Pirate Poker

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