Walking away from business...

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by BrainBlock, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Personally I've never made a single website, sales text, or similar change that has ever had any affect on sales whatsoever. I've come to the conclusion that a lot of what I've read about marketing etc... Has basically been untested bogus or is not relevant to my business. I suppose it could be that my sales volume is too low to notice a difference, but even if that's the case there's clearly better things I could be spending my time on, as I have found that things like changing the demo (timed vs untimed say) can have a big effect.
     
  2. princec

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    Ammo Boy is an excellent game (seem to remember writing something like it when I had a VIC20 :p) wrapped up in an awful deployment, rendering at about 10fps on a 2GHz computer. Now if you'd made me download Java instead of Shockwave you could have had it running at a glassy smoov 60Hz instead - and provided a one-click download to a standalone version of the same code (or the "deluxe" version) with Webstart. Just a technical perspective on the web-deployment issue. Perhaps Shockwave and Flash are rather odd choices for real arcade games.

    (And on that note: I am truly amazed by some of the uses to which Java gets put these days)

    Now before the old technical flamewar starts I would like to say that in the perspective of minimizing business risks and trying out this web-based game concept there are various technologies available and the very best results are easily achievable with the right tools.

    I say this because if Ammo Boy ran at 60fps and had a one-click link to the standalone version there's an exceedingly high chance that I'd buy it for a fiver.

    Cas :)
     
  3. Mike Boeh

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    Ammoboy runs at the refresh rate for me- but keep in mind that Simeon put that game up just recently, long after sales had died out. It was just an experiment, like the Mars Rover.

    The real games are Bloink, AMJ, Super Patterns, and Logication.

    I do not 100% agree with Steve about website changes- I think some can have an effect, just not huge. However, changes in your demo can really make a difference.
     
  4. princec

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    :p

    It's interesting how I just completely glossed over the whole site but I was drawn straight to the instant gratification of the web-based game and then went no further. It's like a complex interactive advert for everything you do and seeing as it's actually a game and we're there to surf for games it certainly grabs the attention. In fact I think it's probably the most powerful lure to convince me to download other things from the site that I have yet seen (shame it didn't quite meet my exacting standards but as you point out, it's just an experiment :p)

    I've even got an applet waiting in the wings to launch on the new Puppygames site as a lure.

    So when we're talking about tweaking content on websites it's an interesting new string to your bow to actually add this kind of content. Spend a week writing an applet or spend a week browsing logs and tweaking the odd word or phrase or colour or layout ad infinitum? I think I know where my efforts are headed but it'll be extraordinarily tricky to measure.

    Cas :)
     
  5. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Sorry I meant cosmetic changes, not things like upsell offers and special deals etc.. But I'm also assuming there's at least a basic level of functionality. Obviously it's possible to design a site that is compeltely broken in that it's unreadable or the buy buttons are well hidden. What I mean is things like using a red button instead of a blue button, or different sales text, etc...
     
  6. Anthony Flack

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    Playing AmmoBoy gave me a sad, nostalgic feeling of loss for the days when videogames were new and exciting. It reminded me of late 80's freeware.
     
  7. GBGames

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    I don't know. I went to the site, and yes, it is plain and simple, but it also looked more interesting to me. I went to see what Pocket Tanks was, and the screenshots were pretty big and allowed me to see how the game would play. Your screenshots are smaller and it is difficult to see what the game is like, especially for Bloink or Logication. The text links seemed to draw me in more. I think that the tables you have with the stats aren't very appetizing to look at either.

    While it can be argued that the sites are not that diffierent, I do think that blitwise.com has a better presentation. I'm no professional web designer, but neither are most of your customers.
     
  8. tentons

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    Just some alternate thoughts here...

    Are gaming portals hurting us indies? That seems to be a popular conceit, but there's nowhere near the consolidation online as in physical retail. There's still no financial barrier to entry by comparison. There's tons of room for growth (the Internet is a platform for marketing and distribution but not the only one), and you don't need someone to do your sales for you, anyway. Maybe you want it, but no third party is responsible for your success--you are!

    I also don't think that it's much harder now than any time before to be a success. The business hurdles are the same as ever. If you make the effort and have a quality product, you can get the exposure without anyone's help (google "buzz marketing"). But you will have to work really hard (and smart) for the exposure, and your product will have to shine. But that's basic competition, and it's a Good Thingâ„¢.

    Doing something better than average should be expected when you're asking someone to pay for it, right?

    So, good luck with the new job, Simeon, and best wishes! We'll be here plugging away if you want to come back. :)
     
  9. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    > Are gaming portals hurting us indies?

    It's not easy to answer. I think it's arguable that portals have drawn the eyes for games away from download sites to a closed distributor system where you need to pay a large percentage to reach the same customers you were reaching 4-5 years ago for free. On the other hand I think it's also true that the portals have introduced a lot of new customers to games and matured in the indusrty in some respects that are helpful to developers.

    >I also don't think that it's much harder now than any time before to be a
    >success.

    Why not? When you put a game on download.com 4-5 years ago you could make 10's of thousands of dollars in a few months time. Now you're lucky if you see 100 sales from that, and for that you need to pay 80$.

    I'd say that's harder than before.

    Not every title made lots of money off regular download sites of course, but I don't think most titles can now. I don't think it's still a possiblity. At least until the structure changes again. There are exceptions of course, but my guess is that less titles can succeed doing this than before simply because the download sites don't have the game buying/playing traffic they use to. Also you have to factor in increased competition. There are many more companies producing far higher quality titles than were available a few years back. For a new business it's hard because that avenue of advertising is closed off and they can't just expect to set up a site and have a lot of traffic immediately without tons of money for promotion.

    I expect it will change. The business is constantly evolving. But I do believe that business go through certain golden periods where certain things are easier when they're new. There was a time for instance where you could start an ISP and make a lot of money, just as access to the internet was novel and most people still weren't connected. I know someone personally who did just that and made tons. However, Starting and ISP today is a completely different story. So I think it's wrong to say that business is business and that all the same opportunities exist no matter when or how you join the fray.

    Businesses have to evolve with the market and there may be new opportunities to explore today that weren't there 4 yrs ago, but the particular business of selling games as shareware on the internet is, IMHO, harder today than it use to be for a newcomer with no established audience.

    - Steve
     
  10. KNau

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    The act of programming generates $0 for your business and is therefore the least important act in running a successful software company.

    Before you throw in the towel ask yourself honestly how have you been focusing your time? Indie game publishing is more than a full-time programming job. In an 8 hour day if you are spending more than 3 hours coding you are in trouble.

    Imagine if you actually spent 5 hours per day focusing strictly on the business aspect of running your company without looking at or even thinking about a line of code! That's an awful lot of time to make contacts, engage in marketing, come up with unique ideas and forge new partnerships and those are the tasks that lead to revenue generation. Just my 2 cents.
     
  11. Jack Norton

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    Well I think that no one can disagree with that phrase. I realized very soon that some articles I read on dexterity site were a bit outdated. Nowadays thinking to earn more than 1-2k$ in one year making a game similar to dweep starting from scratch (with no established audience) is practically impossible.
    My game USM that will be 1 year old in september probably will make that amount, about 2k$. And it even was a niche game, with not much competition on the shareware market (but probably I did some mistakes since was my first title :D )
     
  12. Curiosoft

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    Yeah, that's true. But your second title seems to be doing much better.

    Here's what I've noticed....there are people who justify/rationalize their failings and there are folks that make it happen.

    Yes, the Indie market has changed since a few years back...but that means someone needs to try new markets/techniques/tactics to get even greater/better results.

    A few years back, people were saying...."One needs a huge studio to make a mega hit and earn millions" and "the days of Doom/Wolfenstein...the days of making huge money off shareware are over"....and then Snood gets released. Then people start changing their mantra to saying..."The days of making millions on shareware with a 3-color puzzler are over....the shareware market is so much harder". Things change, deal with it.

    People may get better results in their business after getting rid of excuse-itis.

    Later,
    Curiosoft
     
    #32 Curiosoft, Aug 7, 2004
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2004
  13. Sunshine

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    Ammoboy Rocks. :cool:

    But dam! level 9 is REALLY hard!
     

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