Active forum member - is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by kglarsen, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. kglarsen

    kglarsen New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    So I'm working on a music business simulation game, where you are in the role of CEO of a record label. The game is going to be freeware which means my marketing budget will be at $0.

    So here are the ways I've been thinking about:

    - A website for the game studio - promote like hell
    - A website for the game itself - promote like hell
    - Send press releases on game announcement, when the release date has been set and when the game is released - sending them to as many gaming related medias, but also music related medias as possible.
    - Make several (GOOD) game trailers and upload them on a regular basis on YouTube.com and promote them like hell.
    - Make a Twitter Blog and Facebook Pages
    - Create a newsletter
    - "Tell a friend" section on game website
    - Participate in forums (Both gaming releated and music related)
    - Make comments on other people's blog, mainly related to the music industry
    - Spread the word to music industry professionals through colleges/universities educating in the music business, music industry trade magazines/medias (Eg. Billboard)

    I've thought about rolling out this marketing campaign when I announce the game. I imagine that being around 6-9 months before the game is going to be released. Then I can announce the final release date 3 months in advance.

    Does this look like a decent marketing campaign? Remeber I have a $0 budget for this.
    Is it worth the time to participate in forums and comment on blogs? I've begun making a list of music related forums from all over the world (in english of course) - China, Japan, USA, UK, Italy, Spain, Denmark, South Africa, Canada, Australia etc. - I think I can manage being active on around 30 music related forums. On these forums I will underline that the game will include several festivals, bands, labels, medias etc. from eg. China, and thereby appealing more to their specific market which should give a higher impact.
    Then also spending time on gaming related forums.

    My idea is that by spreading out my forum activity to all over the world instead of only focusing on english speaking countries, then the game will spread faster though word-of-mouth. So in the english speaking countries I will rely more on reaching industry professionals and gaming/music medias. But my thoughts are, will it be worth the time to participate on eg. on a forum on Central African Music (from Central Africa) or a South East Asian forum?

    The reason why I want to focus on music related medias I that I think this game more or less only appeals to music lovers and music industry proffessionals, since it will be very detail oriented and focusing on making it as realistic as possible.

    Does this sound fair to you, or will I just leave out a huge amount of potential downloaders?
     
    #1 kglarsen, Feb 11, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  2. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    0
  3. mrkwang

    mrkwang New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    0
    First of all, your basic plan seems to be good. However it could be TOO MUCH work for you. You can do blog often, but can't post friendly threads to be friends with other members in 30 different forums. You might be only 1 person, and time & physical power is limited. (Personally, I check only 2 different game forums. That's all I can do. Maybe you can do more, anyway.)

    I think you'd better pick up some of them & tighten your promotional target.

    And maybe you can't use Real festival & artist names, due to some copyright problem. Some or few could agree with you to use, but maybe not all of them.
     
  4. spoiltvictorian

    spoiltvictorian New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the part where you say "promote like hell" needs more thought. It is more than a full-time job to do what you are proposing.

    My suggestion: start the blog/site, code like crazy, and get fans to do all that other stuff for you.
     
  5. amaranth

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    7
    Make sure to hit up all of the freeware sites too. There are loads of them out there. When I was making freeware games, they drove most of the visitors to my site.

    I used to use a tool called PromoSoft to quickly submit to lots of sites.
     
  6. Over00

    Over00 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trying to be everywhere at once is just not possible. Either you end up burning yourself or you end up doing pretty much anything that won't give results.

    Focus on some aspects, do it right and then evaluate how you can expand your activities.

    I also agree that "promote like hell" doesn't mean anything at all. Might be worth asking yourself what you will do to "promote like hell".
     
  7. JGOware

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    0
    If a game requires that much promotion, that should send you a reality message. However, good games sell themselves, average games need alot more promotion.
     
  8. kglarsen

    kglarsen New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the feedback! :)
    I've read several articles on how to promote both website, facebook, twitter and the game itself, so I have a pretty good idea of how I'm going to "promote like hell" ;)

    About the forums - yes you might be right that it won't be worth the efford to be "active" on as many as 30 forums... My initial thought was to plan my forum activities so that each day of the week will be used on specific forums, so that I'll be on 5 forums monday, then other 5 tuesday etc. But maybe that'll give a negative impression or little result that I'm only active on each forum one time each week.

    Thinking about it, I think I'll be better off reaching industry professionals and people interested in the business side of music, and not "just" music as entertainment. This way I can limit it to maybe 5-6 forums... I'll still try and spread it out geographically.

    I just fear that I'll leave out a huge audience for this game... But when the industry people are picking up, then maybe I can turn my attention to music lovers in general. Another way could be to create some kind of street team, that can spread the word on music related forums.
    But somehow I think that's better than spamming forums with random posts like some dumb people do...
     
  9. PoV

    PoV
    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    TIP: Professionals don't buy games about their profession. Professionals may provide insight about their profession, but why would they want to play something they do for real?

    If you're hoping for a recommendation, that's fine, but a recommendation is only useful from somebody that talks to a market. The music industry rarely talks to the fans.

    If you ask me, the game doesn't sound like it has viral appeal. It sounds very niche, like a constant uphill battle. It almost sounds like a waste of effort to promote heavily something you wont see $1 from. Practice sure, but any success will be costing you bandwidth, domain fees, etc. If it was something you could cement a fanbase with by offering a free version, then release a paid deluxe version, then maybe. But I dunno. Not a lot of people dream of being an accountant.

    $0 marketing is great, but it's better for something actually making money.
     
    #9 PoV, Feb 11, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  10. kglarsen

    kglarsen New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    You're probably right about that one. Then maybe my main audience will be students in the music business. I'm planning on contacting colleges that have these programmes, so I can get in touch with the students...

    You're missing the point. This is going to be a freeware game, I'm not going to make any money on it - that's not the goal!

    Again, this is a freeware game, so that won't be an issue at all! If people were to pay for the game, yes - I couldn't use stuff from the real world.
     
  11. Scurvy Lobster

    Scurvy Lobster New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    0
    kglarsen: using brand names in your games is an issue whether you give your game away for free or not. There's a reason why many fan made games get letters from copyright holders with a cease and desist order.

    No offence meant but I would suggest you to re-read some of the advice given here. An example is that you write PoV is missing the point. In my opinion he actually gets it right and you are missing his point - that you need a clear purpose for giving your game away for free (practice, building a fan base etc.) when you will end up spending a lot of time and at least some money on the project. His idea on offering a premium version was merely a suggestion to offset some of that total cost.

    And maybe it's just me but I think you are totally misjudging your main audience. Forget about people with musical background in any form (students included). If you followed that logic 99% of Guitar Hero and Rock Band players would never even have touched those games. You need to broaden your perspective and focus a more mainstream core-gamer that likes music and strategy/management. Lots of games take this approach (a good deal of soccer manager games comes to mind).
     
    #11 Scurvy Lobster, Feb 12, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  12. Qitsune

    Qitsune New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2007
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is nothing like knowing an industry for killing every romantic/glamourous notions one might have at one point have about this industry. (Which explains why people in the game industry think that reality show where you win the chance to be a tester is hilarious. It's like having to compete for the chance to clean puke in a bar.)

    You want people who dream of being in the music industry, not the cynics who already do it. SO the less they know the better.
     
  13. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    0
  14. PoV

    PoV
    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh I get the point just fine. I'm saying this marketing agenda of yours is a lot of work for not much gain.

    It's true gain isn't always money, but hey, this was a question posted to a somewhat business centric forum (Indie Game Development/Indie Business). So our reaction is "Will it make money", and "How will it/How can it make money". Be it a strategic precursor to some other product or such. You asked us, so we answered what we know.
     
  15. kglarsen

    kglarsen New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why is that? As far as I know you're free to use someone elses brand name as long as you don't make any money on it. Furthermore I'm not going to portrait anyone or anything in this game in a bad way, so it really can't hurt anyone. It's actually just free promotion. But please tell me who and why they get letters from copyright holders.
    I'll check up on the rules around this...

    We are actually two (Three) working on this game. I don't really count on making any more games besides this one. For me it's all about spreading a good game idea to as many people as possible. For the other guy it's about getting some more experience + building a name for himself - he's going to make more games after this one.

    Maybe you're right, we just need to balance my promotional efforts then. Though one of our goals is still to gain recognition for creating an educational game for music business students. If we make it realistic enough, I think it can be achieved.
     
  16. Scurvy Lobster

    Scurvy Lobster New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    0
    Several of your arguments are listed in the top of this article: http://www.out-law.com/page-334

    You cannot freely use someone else's copyrighted or trade marked rights even if you give your product away for free. If you are still in doubt pay a lawyer and get the same answer with more technical terms added.

    Some game companies actually pay large sums of money to use well known band names, car names etc. in their games. It never happens in any case, payment or not, without a signed contract.

    Have you looked at Rock Legend: http://www.positech.co.uk/rocklegend/index.html
    To my knowledge it uses generic names for most bands. A few indie bands however gave permission to use their names in the game.
     
  17. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    3,897
    Likes Received:
    0

    This is totally and utterly WRONG.
    Whoever told you that is an idiot,.
    You WILL get sued if you ignore the advice on this topic here.
     
  18. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,296
    Likes Received:
    12
    So? You are using other people's products as a means of making your own product look better. Most companies pay a lot to register their trademarks and they fiercely protect them (and rightly so). Companies do not want to be portrayed as endorsing other people's products unless they have given explicit consent to do so. And that usually involves large bags of money changing hands and watertight legal agreements detailing specifically what you can and cannot do.

    Whoever told you that you can do this, is a fool.
     
  19. jlv

    jlv New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    0
  20. kglarsen

    kglarsen New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah yes.... Copyright and Trademark two very different things!
    This is a text based game... We won't use any music, video, pictures or any other audio or visual things in the game which is owned by the Copyright holders. However we are going to use Trademarks such as Madonna, Sony Music, Madison Square Garden, Glastonbury Festival, Rolling Stone Magazine, GRAMMY Awards etc.
    As long as you don't violate the rules of copyright, the use of trademark is perfectally fine...

    http://www.publaw.com/fairusetrade.html
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer