How long between download and purchase?

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by tentons, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. tentons

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    How long does it typically take (in your experience) from the time a player downloads your game to the time he/she pays for it?

    I've had a lot of downloads but not many sales, so I guess my game doesn't convert very well at all. It's way less than 1%. :( Then again, it's only been a few days since the deluge of downloads from the initial release (talking Mac release, here).

    Am I being impatient, or should I be seeing more sales?
     
  2. soniCron

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    Neither. In my opinion, your game severely lacks accessibility. It's unnecessarily difficult to learn, the interface is too busy, and the whole thing is a stone's throw from the realm of familiarity. I had no idea what was happening most of the time, let alone any fun.
     
  3. AlexN

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    Jason,

    Have you tried submitting the game to RealArcade? Or other major portal sites?
     
  4. tentons

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    So I should have made a straight-up clone is what you are saying? Probably right, too. Sad truth. Nobody likes innovation unless it looks just like everything else. (I'm not being sarcastic!)

    As for learning it, you probably played a beta or something, because it's got a full tutorial now. And some people "get it" and some don't.

    Edit: And how about some constructive ideas on improving it instead of your predictably condescending dismissal? Seriously, I'm not mad at you but it's pointless to give your opinion without some kind of advice because your opinion alone isn't changing anything. It's just wasting my time unless you offer some suggestions.

    @Alex: I'm talking to some interested parties, but for now I'm trying to get things going on my own since I know there are some specific things I need to make more portal friendly.

    Edit2: Sweet irony, as I composed this reply I got another sale.
     
    #4 tentons, Sep 1, 2005
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2005
  5. soniCron

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    You certainly should not have made a straight-up clone. However, there are several serious entry barriers during the normal course of a game.
    • Far too many menus before first playing the game. How about a "Quick Start" button?
    • Each menu has too many options, or is unclear. (And there's too much "help" text to be useful. Or attractive. It looks thrown together.)
    • I didn't bother reading the tutorial from the main menu, and if there's anything in there that explains what I'm doing in the matches, then that's a mistake. Especially since the very first button (besides the huge, presumptuous "BUY!" button in the middle of the screen) is the "Play" button. And that's the first I'd click.
    • If I can actually sit there for upwards of 30 seconds at some point in each match watching the computer opponent hit the ball, I'm bored. I'm bored for at least 30 seconds each match! That's not a good sign!
    • I played the newest version, and still don't know what's happening. Sure, it's a Pong game, but if that's all it is, it's the most boring Pong game I've seen. I assume all those extra bits that I don't understand are what make it fun. The "fun parts" are not made abundantly clear.
    • The user interface is one of the most unclear I've seen. There's no effort to make the important items clear. (Like the score. I don't even know what the score means, or where it is? Is it those big numbers at the top? Why don't they go up when I hit a brick?)
    I can give you more detailed information as per usual if you'd prefer.

    What tutorial? The one on the main menu? The one in which I have to read 20 pages? Or the too-much text on white rectangles "tutorial?" You're losing a large portion of your audience who only wants to have fun right now and doesn't give a crap about your game and won't be willing to make much more than the slightest effort in order to start playing. I suspect the people that don't "get" it are the ones downloading the game and subsequently not buying it!
     
    #5 soniCron, Sep 2, 2005
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2005
  6. tentons

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    • That's a great idea.

      I totally agree here, and it's something I'll be working on as I go. The reason is that the features grew and the interface was designed for less of them, so that's the fault of feature creep. Also the help was thrown together, but I wanted to get it out there and get a few sales and some PR sooner rather than later. So I plan to incrementally improve this.

      The ideal is that you can come to those help pages if you want more in depth info. They aren't intended as a pre-requisite. I agree that they need work, though, since--again--it was a rush to get the game out there because finishing is more important than perfection IMHO.

      Should I do something besides pause the game and display information at each action? I'm not sure how to convey all the information without it becoming a snooze-fest of reading. There's a lot of subtle things you can do, and it takes some explaining. I guess it's just the nature of multi-layered rules.

      This is part of the problem, as well as things being prehaps unclear. There's an expectation that isn't being met since you don't get points from bricks. You get points from goals and catching certain items that spawn from bricks. I will try to make it more clear that goals are the primary activity for scoring. I'll also try to make it more visual when you do score to link the goal with the score on the scoreboard.

      I love this feedback. Give as much detail as you want because I really appreciate your time and the effort of trying to help me. It's not that I'm unwilling to change the game. On the contrary, I just wanted to get a version out and now I will refine it as quickly as possible from feedback like this.

      Yeah the ugly one. :/

      I didn't mean that as a form of arrogant defense of the game, just that I've had quite a few people that really enjoyed it and didn't need the tutorial at all (to my surprise). I know it needs more work, though.

      Thanks again for your time and thoughts. This was really helpful.
     
  7. soniCron

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    You're always welcome! :) And when I've got time, I'll post a full analysis for you.
     
  8. tentons

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    Actually this has pushed me to change some fundamental aspects of the game to make it inherently more friendly. So I'd still like to hear your analysis, but if you want to hold off that is fine too. I don't want you to spend the time if you feel it will be wasted since I'm going to change some very fundamental mechanics in the game.

    Quick review of my thoughts:
    * remove targeting - each power will automatically know its target(s)
    * simplify power selection to always show the current power you want as a prominent image in a space next to the scoreboard
    * show visual progress toward acquiring the power you have selected by having it grow in a bubble as your mana increases
    * when power is ready to be used, make it abundantly clear with visuals/audio (but still allow changing selection at any time)
    * send balls flying into the scoreboard to link goals with points more visually
    * revamp selection interface screens
    * hopefully reduce in-game tutorial to a few popups
    * complete totem sequence will give you the currently selected power's full mana value so you instantly can use it

    I hope this won't change the game too much for those that already own it, but I also think this will make it a better game. Big thanks for making me think enough to see that the interface isn't the problem but is instead a symptom of more fundamental complexities that can be done better another way. Really, man, I appreciate it!
     
  9. tentons

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    BTW, we're off topic here, for which I apologize. I didn't intend to go into game design issues!
     
  10. Omega

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    No comment ;x
     
  11. tunca

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    I suppose people play a game for 30 minutes upto a few hours before they buy it. This period is occasinally divided in days or weeks. Therefore buyers may return within a day or a month. I think 1-2 weeks may be a decent average.

    When did you release your game? It might be too early for any comment at the moment.

    Some little advice. Don't be impatient. Don't be too optimistic before you get really good feedback from many people. Don't become desperate. Try some more as much as you want. Leave it for some time if you cannot go on. Maybe with 1/10000 CR but you'll get a sale or sales. After your first sale review your game. First sale is very important. It is a difference like the ratio between one and null. One means a lot more than null. If you make it 100 times better (this is possible for games with little CR) you'll get 100 sales instead of 1. Sometimes a few days of additional work may bring your title a lot further.

    If you decide to leave the game for some time, start a very happy new page with a small game without making any stress. You'll see that your game will get a sale or sales and that will boost you develop new ideas to extend Little Gods.

    Little bug with your web site: My iexplorer text size settings is set to 'larger'. Check it yourself and see how some customers may view your web site. Also when I set text to 'medium' there was no buy now link. Maybe you lost a sale for those reasons.
     
  12. Didier

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    First sales will come in after 3 weeks


    Didier
     
  13. Tertsi

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    For me, usually between the same day - 5 days.
     
  14. tentons

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    Thanks for the comments, guys. Appreciate your insights.

    I've had 5 sales from about 1000 downloads (3 PC, 2 Mac) in about a week, so it's a low conversion rate. They happened quickly, just wasn't the 1% I was hoping for. Downloads are still happening about 300 per day, but slowing down as I drop out of the news.

    Here are the things I'm going to do to improve this product:

    * Redo the interface screens from scratch. We had the art for the old/sparse layout, and instead of redoing that to fit the new features, I tried to force the new features to fit the existing art to save time. Don't do this!

    * Revamp the mechanics of the game to tremendously simplify how you get and use powers and all the feedback the game gives you for actions. This is the big one, really, because this is where people are getting confused and why I need a tutorial. The game was rushed and I didn't make good decisions or think enough about the gameplay design. So here's the lesson for everyone: don't rush and dive into your game without trying to distill the mechanics to their simplest form. It's the same gameplay and retains the strategic elements I enjoy, just presented in a way that requires far less effort.

    * At some point in the very near future, it will be playable with a mouse and the left mouse button (optionally right but it's not going to affect gameplay if you ignore it). This is part of the simplification, and taking lessons from the other thread about mouse control, I rethought the mechanics to fit the mouse control instead of forcing the mouse control into the mechanics. I'll probably quit using the keyboard myself once this is implemented. :) So maybe I'll get 1 thing right this time!

    So the business lesson here, I hope, is going to be that because I'm an indie, I'm not sinking the ship by getting some/most things wrong the first time. I still have a chance to garner good sales, and I wisely didn't try to get it onto any portals because I knew it wasn't ready (so I still have the option to take it there).

    Stay tuned......
     
  15. Pallav Nawani

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    Its not that low - 0.5%. This means that your game has potential (I haven't tried your game though). The main problem you are facing is of course the number of downloads. While you are working on improving the game, make sure that you take some time every day to promote your website somehow. Look for more download sites, good link partners, good affiliates etc. You should try to increase the traffic your website gets, which will bring in more sales.

    Another lesson I learnt is that it is not a good idea to just get the game out there.. It must be very well polished when you get it out. The reason is that well polished games have a good chance of generating buzz when they come out first. Had you polished the game and ironed out the problems when you first released it, you might be seeing 1000 downloads a day and probably increasing all the time! The first chance is your best chance.

    Pallav
     
  16. tentons

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    Believe me, lesson learned! :)
     
  17. lakibuk

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    1000 downloads/day is quite a chunk. That would be 10 sales/day, or 300 sales/month.
     
  18. Nexic

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    That's how I used to think, 1000 downloads = 10 sales. But it's completely wrong. 1000 downloads from a good source, yes, but 1000 downloads from tucows, probably not even 1 sale.

    My first sales always come in about 2 days. But then I make action games, which play for less time, so therefore would takes only a short time for them to buy.
     
  19. Emmanuel

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    Well, I asked the same question (when are people going to start buying my game in droves?) 6 months ago when I released Garden War, looking for a reassuring answer. Nexic was patient with me at the time :) but after rolling out three titles, the pattern I've experienced is that in terms of daily sales, I've never topped the 2nd/3rd day after a press release.

    Exposure helps, of course, but a game converts or doesn't. I threw more traffic at Garden War, I even released it on BigFish (they don't hold grudges! :)), and it didn't help much.

    Somebody once asked here "how does one break into the top 10 at RealArcade", James jokingly answered "make a good game", and well, it's not a joke. Atlantis is the first title that seems to sustain itself out of buzz (ie, sales haven't dropped like a rock after being out of the news sites). Garden Golf did a lot better than garden war, but the same pattern occured: not great conversion = came and went on portals as well. No amount of pavlinisation to the game (listening to feedback and fixing whatevers) doubled or tripled my CR :)

    Best regards,
    Emmanuel
     
  20. digriz

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    Just out of curiosity; Has anyone found that their sales figures spike at the end of the month?

    The reason i ask, is that in the past i've waited to purchase a game when i get my paycheck at the end of the month; so logically, a small percentage of other people must do that too.

    Would launching a title in the last 1/4-1/2 of the month help with CR, especially if the game has press releases?

    Wierd question i know, i just wondered if anyone had tried this.
     

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