Always sell direct online

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by cliffski, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

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    I've been looking at screenshots of the stardock game "political machine" which looks great (albeit worryingly good seeing as though im doing a politics game myself) and I was about to buy a copy.
    You cannot buy it online.
    Not unless I want to spend $85 on some bundle.
    Who is going to spend $85 on a bunch of games froma single small publisher?
    I can order the CD, which will be $29.95 plus shipping.
    i dont wanta CD shipped accross the atlantic. I want to downlaod and play it now. I'm prepared to pay for it....

    Why would a company like SD, big on online stuff, be so against selling direct online. They can cut out the middleman. Even Valve are planning on selling as many copies of HL2 as they can direct online.
    I do not nderstand the mentality of using a publisher to ship a physical product when the same customer would rpefer a digital only copy.
    bah!
     
  2. patrox

    Indie Author

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    another one, i wanted to buy a game from another indie yesterday, i couldn't because their form is designed to accept only american addresses.

    Since my address doesn't have a state, the form rejects me all the time...

    So if you have your own merchant account make sure foreigners can buy too...

    pat.
     
    #2 patrox, Aug 29, 2004
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2004
  3. simonh

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    I actually encountered something like this yesterday with Valve believe it or not. I loaded up Steam and wanted to buy Half Life. I figured with it being an old game it would be a reasonable price like $19.99.

    However, in order to buy Half Life over Steam, you need to buy it as part of a bundle pack that costs $34.99. I really don't want all the other games and extras - just Half Life! So they lost a sale there.
     
  4. GBGames

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    Valve lost me when they didn't respond to my inquiries about HL2. It took three emails from me and two different people responding over the course of a month or two before they said, "We'll get back to you" and never did. Half-life 2 looks like it will be an awesome game, but I won't be playing it. I also was hoping to get the original HL, but yeah, I want no part of Steam.
     
  5. Kai Backman

    Original Member Indie Author IGF Finalist

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    Oh, and remember that Zip (or Postal Codes) don't exist in all parts of the world. For example Ireland .. (I ran into the same issue while living there ..) :)
     
  6. MattInglot

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    Really? Is there any good site that maybe has a full list of problems like this?
     
  7. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

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    lol
    AFAIK the only place in the whole universe that has 'zip codes' is the USA...
    and while we are on the topic...

    We dont know what thanksgiving is
    We dont have a high school prom
    We dont know how you can have a world series for a sport only 2 countriez play ;)

    Cliffski the Brit.
     
  8. Mark Fassett

    Moderator Indie Author

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    As far as Stardock and The Political Machine are concerned, it probably has something to do with the contract they signed with Ubi. More than likely, it says they can distribute online through their pakage deal, but not as a seperate item, and perhaps it was the best deal they could get for it if they wanted to get the game into retail in a big way. They are not Valve, and probably worked hard to get the online availability that they managed to get.
     
  9. papillon

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    Well, if the form isn't stupidly javascript-checking the zip code for 'correct' formatting, the british postcode thingie can go there...

    - transplanted Southerner, who, yes, does have these issues with webforms. (Speaking of which, softwaredirect said they would deal with non-americans, but you have to write them directly, as THEIR developer webform will not allow you to sign up from an international address)
     
  10. kerchen

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    Hmm, that's pretty surprising. I read Brad Wardell's blog on occasion and in it he seemed to indicate that he'd have done better self-publishing Galactic Civilizations than going through Strategy First--even though he sold a lot more units, he got a much smaller slice of the pie. Strange that he would turn around and try it again with PM.
     
  11. Sillysoft

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    If I ever encounter a form that demands a US address I use the only ZIP code that I know: 90210 in CA. This does not work when you need something shipped to you though.
     
  12. dan

    dan
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    Your argument was put to Brad on another forum. Brad felt that Political Machine had a limited life span -- likely dropping off a cliff immediately after the election. So he wanted very broad distribution as quickly as possible.

    Left unsaid, but probably equally important, is that Political Machine is targeted towards casual gamers with its cartoony look, and Brad probably feels like it might do very well in stores.

    And I think he got hosed on the Strategy First thing even more than you imply... SF went into bankruptcy owing Brad a nice chunk of cash.
     
  13. Greg Squire

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    An easy way to handle non-US registration payments is to use a registration service that also caters to other countries. They have expertise in the matter, and can often do this better than we can. Some other countries have postal codes, but they are different that US postal (ZIP) codes. I think sometimes that we Americans (US Americans that is) forget that we are not the center of the universe, and we sometimes forget about some these details when marketing our products into other countries. There are cultural and language differences, and we’d be wise to not ignore them. Obviously there are times were we might purposely limit our market, due to the nature of the game, such as “Bush vs Kerryâ€￾ road rally game. But if we aren’t doing that, then it best not to ignore a potential market.

    If you have your own merchant account, then by all means, learn how to handle non-US payments. If not, you're really limiting your potential for growth by ingnoring these big markets.
     
  14. Nutter2000

    Original Member Indie Author

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    Only sometimes? :p
     
  15. fusionlab

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    cliffski, "Democracy" looks like an intriguing game. I used to play "1984" (by Incentive Software) on the Spectrum all these years ago, and I don't think there's ever been a realistic UK-centric game like it. Two thumbs up, sir - I love these kind of games. :D
     
  16. Mithril Studios

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    You mean we aren't? :eek:

    Since our primary means of payment is electronic, I think it's critically important that we are aware of the usability of the payment page. I know I have backed out of a transaction more than once due to it being a pain in the butt. The simpler and easier we make it, the more completions we'll have.

    @Cliffski
    How about the 4th of July? :D

    Anthony
     
  17. Nutter2000

    Original Member Indie Author

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    People who harp on about the 4th of July outside of the US of A should be hung, drawn and quartered in my humble opinion. ;)
     
  18. Sunshine

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    Don't listen to them :p if you sail off the coast of California, there's just a big waterfall that drops off into space, right at the edge of the world !
     
  19. cableshaft

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    And then you find out that the world rests on the back of a turtle that is carried by four giant elephants, right?

    The Turtle Moves!
     

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