13 new casual games each week [actually 12]

Discussion in 'Development & Distribution' started by James C. Smith, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. Jack Norton

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    Also if your game isn't a match3/dinerdash/zuma/mcf clone, your chances to make money with portals are very low. I have some real direct experience about this, and thinking again now was really stupid to think that my kind of games could sell to portal audience :D
     
  2. James C. Smith

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    Don't forget sim, breakout, bingo, mahjong, slots, board game, licensed IP, word games, inlay, solitaire, trivia, path creation, jigsaw.


    Plus, occasionally shoot em up, platform, adventure, and light RPG games do well on portals.


    And I predict the up and coming type will be mini games. Several past games have done well and some recent ones are doing amazing.


    And occasions good or great portal selling games don't fit any of these such as Feeding Frenzy, Cosmic Bugs, Peggle Deluxe


    But you’re right, if your game doesn’t fit any of those categories than you can just forget about portals because they never switch to a new core mechanic like a fad. (unless you count the 2004 switch to chain poppers, the 2005 switch to click management, the 2006 switch to hidden object) Besides, you wouldn’t want to be the first to define the next new portal fad because then you would have to deal with everyone cloning your game. All the money you would receive wouldn’t make up for the injustice of the cloning.

    Of course I am being sarcastic here. And I do a agree that the portals audience is fairly constrained in the types of games they like. But I just think you are going to far when you say portals are a bad market because they only like 4 kinds of games. It is much more diverse than that and constantly evolving.


    Many people also have real direct experience with making match3/dinerdash/zuma/mcf clone games and having very low chances of making money. Most new products in most markets have lots of risk associated with them.
     
  3. cyrus_zuo

    cyrus_zuo New Member

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    I've mentioned this before, but thought it bore mentioning here.

    Portals are a great source of traffic. Reflexive built up its traffic initially by releasing its games on other portals. We used that traffic and grew, just the way that you are mentioning. I think it is a great plan, building up your own website and being large over the long term. It's possible that being on the portals might actually help you towards your goal.

    For a more recent case study, my brother released his game, Cursed Valley, about a month ago. The day it went into the Real beta he increased his traffic 300 people a day. The day it went live on BFG his traffic increased 2000 people a day. Now a month and a half later he is still getting more people to come to his site in one day than he used to get in a month. All of this traffic is from the portals and he is making a great side business of selling his game directly as well as selling the other games he has on his site. Previous to the game release he didn't sell much of anything from the site. What was perhaps even more interesting was that the game sales of the game he was selling on the portal were really strong on his site after releasing on the portal. I don't know if they were people who wanted to go direct to the developer or exactly how that happened, but it clearly was sales coming from people who first played on the portal. (notably, he did follow my advice about trying to put a hook in the game that would tell customers to go looking for his site W/O HAVING a direct link).

    Anyway, I feel like a broken record...but my basic feeling is that if you aren't turning the portal traffic into your own traffic you're doing it wrong.

    Another example? Aveyond has 100x more direct website traffic today b/c it was on the portals. Amanda stated that she intentionally put quests in the game that were obscure and hard so that people would go looking...and when they did, they found her site. For that game and then her future games, her traffic was growing.

    Honestly, it is great to grow your website on your own, but I think it makes even more sense to steal traffic away from the portals...they've already gone through the process of building it. If you don't want to call it stealing you can call it 'taking advantage of the buzz when the game is released on the portals.' I've seen it referred to that way, it's the same thing in business speak :).

    http://www.rampantgames.com/blog/2007/07/utah-indie-developer-night-summer-2007.html
     
  4. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    It's not a genre thing... It's a how the game is presented thing. IMO Games of just about any genre can be casualized....
     
  5. TunaBreeze

    TunaBreeze New Member

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    I suppose it could be depressing, but you could certainly use this information to your advantage. At least now you have more information about what your up against.
     
  6. arcadetown

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    See a few freebie games in that list like "A Walk in the Park". So good news! Maybe it's more like 11 - 12 casual games per week.
     
  7. Jack Norton

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    I think maybe is more a presentation/interface thing. While I have many tooltip and in-game text, surely my games are more difficult to play for the "average joe" that plays portal games.
    Casual players probably prefer plot and art over game complexity and details.
    Also maybe my kind of art isn't really good for portals - once again cute anime character surely works better (aveyond and cute knight are the proof).
     
  8. princec

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    While I have considered that angle, I get a vast amount of traffic when I release a new game just from news sites, affiliates, a couple of download sites, and game reviews - I feel no need to play with the poisonous snakes. The last game we released, Titan, was selling 50 copies a day without a single penny spent on marketing. The portals do spent an inordinate amount of time - mine too - trying to prevent "traffic leakage" (I've heard Brian F talk about this phenomenon before). This is why we get all these tactics like removing company logos or clickable URLs or online hiscore tables etc etc.

    Cas :)
     
  9. Bmc

    Bmc New Member

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    agreed ... I'm still waiting for a tower defense type of game to come and do well. I know BFG released one last year, but I wouldn't say it was really targeted towards the casual audience.

    I'm sort of on the fence about doing one myself, set in a garden, but there have been so many garden themed Insaniquarium type games in the past 2 years I fear it might be brushed off as another "me too" by the players.
     
  10. papillon

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    Use fairies vs insects in a mystical grove so it's not quite gardens? :)
     
  11. spellcaster

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    I can only speak for myself, but I find the information given on the portals are too shallow. If a game looks interesting, I check the developer's site for more information.
     
  12. svero

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    Yup. I think we still haven't seen the pinnacle of casual stategy, role playing or many other genres really.. Some stuff arguably goes part of the way there, but still lots of room to fine tune etc...
     
  13. James C. Smith

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    I think Arcade Town release one free web game per week and I was counting them. I removed Arcade town from my query and the average went from 12.9048 down to 11.9524. In other words, it dropped by almost exactly 1 game per week.

    So good news. It is only 12 games per week not 13.

    Now have to change a few slides in my presentation. :-( Changing the 13 to a 12 is easy but I update my list of games is inconvenient
     
    #53 James C. Smith, Jul 15, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2007
  14. Qitsune

    Qitsune New Member

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    I sure hope you mean inconsistent. I'd be curious to see the number of free games released each week, since free games in some way compete with paying games. I don't mean you should look it up. Maybe I should in fact, but it would be harder to track down.
     
  15. James C. Smith

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    I corrected the typo

    I am also curious about the number of free web games and free download games but that is a whole different project. I am also curious about mobile games but again, I am not going to go there. Just tracking the downloadable try and buy games is enough work.
     
  16. Spore Man

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    May have been mentioned already but will repeat if so:

    Daily content updates is how to increase and maintain a loyal web visitor audience. So although quantity of games looks scary from a competitive stand-point, it's good in terms of the size of the audience your product gets exposed to. (Look at it as a necessary evil).

    Another thing to make this seem less scary: Not all players are into all game types. In fact I'd argue the casual audience is very much fractured into niche tastes (which is why clones do so well). I don't believe every portal visitor downloads and tries every new release. I believe they only download and try what interests them, especially a new release in their taste niche. (For example my dad only like break out clones, so it doesn't matter to him there are 13 new games released a week, what matters to him is one or two break out clones, if any).
     
  17. arcadetown

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    I'm cetainly holding hope. Trick is most everyone targets for a hit on RealArcade which mostly excludes strategy games. I'm hoping for an uber hit strategy game which will make devs wake up. Perhaps upcoming Dream Chronicles may do that.

    Master of Defense was an awesome game but there were complexities that could have been simplified for a more casual appeal. Unfortunately it didn't hit that well as an opening salvo for tower defense games in casual scene.
     
  18. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Well.. as this thread sort of points out there is this kinda of diminishing returns thing when targeting the biggest hit genres. You always risk being one of 10-20 similar games which can't be good for sales. So there will always be someone taking a chance and trying. I think we'll see one eventually... And if so.. many :)
     
  19. Dan MacDonald

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    The biggest risk is not taking a risk :)
     
  20. arcadetown

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    Speaking of risk, anyone notice Risk is hitting a few top 10s out there including Real, and it's a strategy game. This and hits like Virtual Villagers, Fish Tycoon, etc show casual players are totally ready IMO.
     

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