Take user to website on demo exit?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Pallav Nawani, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. Pallav Nawani

    Indie Author

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    Hi All,

    I have seen that some games demos pop an IE window and take users to the homepage after they exit. Example: BreakBall 2. Is this a good idea? I personally find this annoying.

    Another related question:
    What is better: Put the game manual with the demo itself (as a help link in the game folder) or take the user to the homepage when they click help?

    What do you think?

    Regards,
    Pallav
     
  2. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

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    i do the homepage thing if the user plays after the first day. I think this is fair enough. Its easy enough for the user to shut that page, and its really no different to a 'splash' screen saying 'why not buy this product'. it just saves having to include all the graphics for a splash screen in the install, and gives you the ability to update the upsell message post release.
    I never resent an app or game taking me to their homepage. Often Im interested to see what other games hey have anyway.
    Given some of the tricks that spyware crap like RealPlayer pull, this is small potatoes ;)
     
  3. Night Elf

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    I don't like a game sending me to their homepage on exit. It's like it's been trying to sell itself with "Buy me now" buttons and nag screens and after I quit it insists again from outside the game... annoying. Whether I liked the game or not, it's not going to convince me to buy by opening a web page without my consent.

    If you're interested in players visiting your web site, I would do one of these:
    - Have the default shortcut to your game be a "game laucher" that has options like 'Play now,' 'Buy now' and 'Visit our web site.'
    - Invite the player to your site upon exit. So, together with the usual 'Buy now' and 'Maybe later' buttons, you could have 'Visit our web site to see other games.'

    I see how taking the player to your website would be convinient for us developers, as cliffski said. But I don't think many players would be fond of it. At least, I'm not.

    As for the online manual, it's another thing that annoys me. A manual takes up very little space, so it won't make your download much bigger if you include it. Why should I be connected to the Net when I'm playing a single-player offline game? (This goes for the first question, too.)
     
  4. oNyx

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    That's one of my pet hates. Doing so can cost the user money. Not everyone has broadband. Dialin + dial on demand = 1cent to 1€ for that nag screen (there are tariffs like that... you pay one euro for 10 hours).

    The user downloaded your game, because he wants to play it offline.
     
  5. Andy

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    Just my two cents cliffski.
    - First of all you will never get me on your homepage by this way - because I will shut down the window before it will connect somewhere;
    - You will never show your webbased splash to me - because of the same reason;
    - And I would remove your software immediately because I'd consider it as a spyware after that...

    So, you obviously need to collect the opinions of another guys about your way - suppose you can loose amount of your prospects here...

    Thanks,
     
  6. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I very much dislike being sent anywhere. It's like a dodgy car salesman saying to you, "Can I just show you this...?" when you know he's not showing it to you to improve your day. If someone sends me to their page, I will not buy their game. Period. If the developer is going to be underhanded about it once, there's a risk they'll be underhanded about it twice.

    Instead, I enjoy it when developers are secure enough in the excellence of their own game, they're happy to let me take steps to buy if I want to at the time. No one likes being treated like a two-year old who can't find their way to the toilet, so naturally, I don't need someone hinting to me, "Oh, you can't find the buy page? HERE IT IS!"

    Also, nothing is more annoying than,

    Buy now. or Buy Later.


    Developers take note- I have a third option, and it's called,

    Buy never, CTRL-ALT-DEL, end task, uninstall.
     
  7. papillon

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    Annoying? A teensy bit, especially if it does it every time. However, plenty of programs like to try and show me their webpages, so it doesn't outrage me... However, I'm quite unlikely to actually *look* at a webpage that was sent to me without my asking for it. I'll just back-button or close.

    Might make more sense to do:

    Buy Now - order page
    More Games - website
    Exit - obvious
     
  8. GBGames

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    I don't have a product to sell yet, but I find this interesting. Nag screens I get. If someone clicks on Buy Now, and it opens a web browser, that makes sense. But I do think that opening the web page on exit no matter what is annoying at best to broadband users and expensive to dialup users.

    Instead of making simple buttons that just say Buy Now, See More Games, Exit, etc, would it be good to have a small description next to each one? Not all games are made alike, and for some See More Games might mean "go to game company's site" whereas another might show screenshots of other games within the game demo itself. Exit for some is "exit program" whereas others see "Exit nag screen and go to main page". I would think that some users might get frustrated and confused. Giving them a small description of their options would be good.

    Unless people find that no one reads them anyway? I figure they can't hurt to include for those people who do read them, right?
     
  9. cliffski

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    Well this is interesting. I may have to re-evaluate my strategy on the next update. Generally I've been persuaded that the homepage link does work, in that it generates more sales than it loses. Its like any advertising, generally it annoys the users, but it also works. I hate those flash ads that appear over the top of a webpage like many game sites have. They drive me mad, but if they didnt lead to increased sales, nobody would use them.
    Like I say, you won't get my homepage link unless you have been playing the game more than a day (maybe its seven days... cant remember), but maybe I'll change it so it doesn't happen at all.
    Its a difficult chocie to make, so many top selling indie games are totally plastered in BUY NOW buttons. This annoys me, but I have to accept as a businessman that it must work. (though not in all cases).

    I also really hate the 'buy now/buy later' thing...
     
  10. Andy

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    The same is here cliffski and Reactor. But we are trying to sell our games aren't we?
    If you think that it is possible to sell by another way - think twice and remember how many promos you've seen on upcoming Doom 3 in the last year. And with specific changes these are the same buy now/buy later "buttons" - buy immidiately after release/wait few days - to have it more specific. :)

    Again. There shouldn't be any discussion for your case cliffski - I hate this way - somebody could like - you just need to collect the available statistics and make tests if necessary. My personal explanaition shouldn't work here - just my personal opinion (as one vote).

    Suppose so, :)
     
  11. Pallav Nawani

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    It would be good if anybody has any data on this. No point in just annoying users, but no point in missing out on sales either :)
     
  12. Teq

    Teq
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    Its nice to give a 'buy now' or see more games type button on the main menu, but nag screens are a bit annoying, but I would consider them if they definately increased sales, though I'll think about that later on ;)
     
  13. Ricardo C

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    If a developer (of a game or other software) forces me to visit their website, they automatically lose my dollars. Nag screens? Fine. Reminders during gameplay? Fine. Hijacking my computer and forcing me to visit a site I have not expressed interest in visiting? Lost sale, pal.
     
  14. BigZaphod

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    I would tend to agree. It evokes some kind of strong emotional reaction in me when an app takes me to a web page when I didn't request it. :) Perhaps I've had too many encounters with junk/spyware software that suddenly opens 400 porn websites or something. I don't know. Avoid taking them to a web page automatically. Provide a button on a nag screen. Nag screens are fine and, from what I've gathered, shockingly effective. (I have not sold any software commercially on my own yet.)
     
  15. Sunshine

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    Amen, bro. That is one of the quickest ways to piss me off. Since my internet connection is not on all the time, the last thing I want to see is the program im using minimize only to be replaced with a big error message, and a dialog asking me if I want to go on-line.


    I don't mind the 'buy it now' button jumping to a site, because I expect that.

    I wish people would just save a the HTML file in the game directory that showed all the cool stuff from thier web-site, then have a button at the bottom that say's "visit our site online" or "Buy it now".
     
  16. stan

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    My uninformed opinion is that YES it's VERY annoying when a game opens a web page at exit without asking (even though I'm online all the time), but it might be effective to do that anyway after the user has played more than 7/15/30 days. After all, this is supposed to be a demo. If the user is still playing after 30 days but not buying, you're probably not loosing any sale in trying a bit harder to make him/her buy :).

    However... If you need to open a web page, maybe that's because the exit nag screen of your demo is not efficient enough? I think this needs some thoughts... or experiments.
     
  17. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I think the games we're making should be so good, you don't need nag screens, 'buy now' buttons or automated visits to the online store. AAA and AA titles don't have them and sell fine... so fine, that people will go out of their way to a store to buy. Just a thought.
     
  18. cliffski

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    Ive seen big retail games do this with their demos quite often.
     
  19. Teq

    Teq
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    Yea, I've seen quite a few nag screens in triple-A game demo's, though I've not actually played a demo for a while (other than indie games).
     
  20. Emmanuel

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    It isn't just pushy to launch a browser, if the player is off-line it is indeed annoying and can remove sympathy for your product.

    A solution is to display a dialog when the player leaves the demo, showing all the benefits of getting the full version, and offering to go get it (going online) or get it later (just quit).

    If your game does not play online, and you're not planning critical revisions to your manual, you should install it together with the game.
     
    #20 Emmanuel, Nov 25, 2004
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2004

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