Distribution free Windows games

Discussion in 'Development & Distribution' started by charliedog, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. charliedog

    charliedog New Member

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    I've been making games for the PC for a few years now and I have four games on my site, all of which have had great reviews in sites such as "Jay is Games" "Game Tunnel" and other casual/indie game related blogs. Yet the number of downloads I am seeing have dwindled to the point where it's not worth doing anymore. These are free games. No charge at all. They play well, look good, are technically polished, yet I can't even give them a way for free anymore:(

    [​IMG]

    It really makes me sad that I've put a lot of effort into games and not only am I not making money out of them but also very few people will see them.

    So can anyone offer me some practical advice on how to get my games out to a broader audience? At this stage of the game I'm not even interested in generating web traffic through my site, I'm happy for other sites to hot link to the games download links just so the games get more exposure.

    http://dc167.4shared.com/download/143266374/dbb547c4/Balloon_Brothers_v132.exe


    Is it just me or is the PC games download scene turning to shit? I used to get thousands of downloads a month for my new games now I'm lucky to make a few hundred a month and that's when the games are fresh. Seems that the only interest in PC games these days is Flash.

    [​IMG]

    Unless something changes radically in the next few months I won't be doing anymore downloadable PC games. Just seems very sad :(

    http://www.charliedoggames.com

    regards,

    Tony Oakden
     
  2. jrjellybeans

    jrjellybeans New Member

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    Hey Tony, it does seem that currently people are buying LESS games than before, but you're giving them away so I don't know if that applies to you.

    With that said, there could be a ton of reasons why your games aren't doing well. I can't think of anything concrete, but just to give you some ideas...

    1. How quickly are you producing games? I've heard that one of the best ways to keep a lot of interest in your games is to constantly be making new games. The faster the better.

    2. In fact, how are you even promoting your games? It doesn't even seem like you're collecting e-mail addresses. How do you even get the word out about your games?

    3. Maybe your games just aren't that good. I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but take a look at what SELLS.
    I would think that those are the types of games that people would like for FREE.

    Look, if you feel like the games are solid and are up to snuff, I'd definitely work on marketing more.
    If the games aren't up to snuff, maybe you should try designing different games.

    (I would also agree that if you're going to make FREE games nowadays, Flash is better. It's easier for people to use, there's nothing to download, and people are getting used to it.)
     
  3. kevintrepanier

    Original Member Indie Author

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    Due to a higher and higher level of sheer volume in games of all sorts, just going through the process of downloading a game is too much of an ordeal for most players nowadays. I must say that even for myself, I've been turned down many times from trying a game I've heard about because it was not an instantaneous experience I could play right in my browser.

    That said, my Flash game Finding my Heart, which is not a big succees (more like a kind of medium success in terms of Flash games), still receives from 5k to 9k views a day almost three months after it's release. Pretty good I think considering the speed at which flash games die.
     
  4. jrjellybeans

    jrjellybeans New Member

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    That's amazing! Do you know how many sites are carrying your game?

    Any information on revenue with that game? I'm curious about all Flash games nowadays as I'd like to work with that platform more.
     
  5. JGOware

    Indie Author

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    I see only 2 problems....but they are HUGE problems.

    a) Not enough games being produced.
    b) Giving away your work for free.

    I promise you this, create more games, and sell them for anything other than free, and you will get more traffic to your site and you will also make more money. ;)
     
  6. kevintrepanier

    Original Member Indie Author

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    Here is some stats from the mochiBot installed in the game: The game has been played 1.4M times in 3 months and 3 weeks, the views were very high in the first times but have quickly plummeted after a few weeks. They have stabilized at around 4.5k to 9k a day for a while but will continue to go down as time passes.

    Still from the mochiBot, it is hosted on 714 sites but the traffic (today) has been generated by 183 sites. So you see that the game has actually "died" on many sites. The distribution was almost essentialy done virally after the game received some success on newgrounds.com (user rating of 4.16 / 5, received a 3rd daily place and a main page visibility for a week or two).

    So it's far from being a big success, but it's a good game. Regarding revenues, the game has generated an overall 1700$ from sponsorship and advertisement, which is far from paying the expenses (in time) but is ok considering it's one of my first game. It's mostly a product of love that I'm proud of and that looks nice in my portfolio but the genre was not a very marketable one in the actual Flash game market (though it could have done a bit better if I had done an interactive walkthrough, sponsors love that as it almost doubles the potential traffic. But I didnt knew that at the time).

    I have a third game almost finished that is much more oriented on the current market trends and that will no doubt generate much more money (though that is yet to be confirmed).
     
  7. Spore Man

    Indie Author

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    If it's free and looks like a Flash game, then make it a Flash game. Otherwise you're wasting people's time having to download and install. It's all about "gimme now!". Instant gratification. If its free, its even worse.
     
  8. Dhondon

    Dhondon New Member

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    Maybe it would help to replace that placeholder art (with an glow effect) with some real game art that does not look like an flash game:)
     
  9. jrjellybeans

    jrjellybeans New Member

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    I'd like to counter that and say that I thought the art in the games weren't a huge problem.

    They all looked fine to me. Maybe not Big Fish Games fine, but I had no complaints.
     
  10. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    PC games AREN'T making a ton of money right now. There are some exceptions, like Torchlight and stuff being carried on Steam, but by and large piracy has doomed the platform to be MMO central for the rest of eternity.

    These look nice - have you considered updating them a bit, putting a few in a pack and trying to get listed on Steam?
     
  11. hddnobjcttmmngmntmtch3rlz

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    If you're talking downloads, you should take a look at what is selling well in the genre you want to do. Not to copy them, but to give you an idea of your competition.
     
  12. charliedog

    charliedog New Member

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    Thanks guys,

    I've had a spate of downloads of Balloon brothers so that's cheered me up a bit.

    As far as charging for the games and getting more traffic to the site is concerned that seems counter intuitive but I suspected it might be true. People generally seem to place more value in things they pay for regardless of the quality of the thing. I have charged for games in the past but got very little revenue from it although I did get more traffic. Maybe it's worth the effort of charging for the full version of a game to generate the extra traffic.

    With regards to the quality of the art I agree the art in Atomic Worm is minimalist, that was the intention, but have a look at the art in Balloon Brothers and Go Ollie before judging everything I do. Interestingly Atomic Worm is one of my best downloading games and still generates the most positive feedback in terms of gameplay and general interest which rather goes against the idea that art is the most important thing.

    Anyway I'm not doing anymore downloadable games. My next game, if I do one, will probably be a Unity based project running in a browser or maybe on the Iphone.

    regards,

    Tony Oakden
     
  13. Uhfgood

    Original Member

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    I do still have more of your games in the review queue :)
     
  14. charliedog

    charliedog New Member

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    Thanks Keith,

    It will be great to see some more reviews. On that note can anyone recommend sites I should be sending my games to? Balloon Brothers got a great mention on Jay is games and mentions on a couple of European blogs, which generated a heap of downloads, but not a lot of interest elsewhere. I'm happy for webmasters to hotlink to my content on the site in return for my games can get more exposure.

    www.charliedoggames.com

    regards,

    Tony
     

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