What the market wants

Discussion in 'Development & Distribution' started by Phil Steinmeyer, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Phil Steinmeyer

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    Nah, because I think another thing that hurt it was being a word game, and a theme change wouldn't help that. I'm looking more to make a new game.
     
  2. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Id like to just note again (I did somewhere else recently) that if you look at the top selling games a lot of them are not cute and cartoony. I think we overdo the kid-like aspect of casual games. The top 10 games on real (from James Smith's site) are..

    rebound, super collapse, zuma, diamond mine, gutterball 3d
    bejeweled 2, bookworm, feeding frenzy , puzzle inlay, magic inlay

    Quite a few of these titles have non-kid like themes. The exceptions being feeding frezy and bookworm. But clearly a hard core sci fi or other theme is not an automatic disqualifier for success.
     
  3. arcadetown

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    We see very healthy signs here that there is life beyond the typical adult women casual game. Sure the typical top performing women games do well here but we also get many outside the typical circle punching our top chart that are adult men geared games.

    Very anxious to get Tower Defense in front of users and see how it does. Hoping users go nuts for it here and elsewhere providing life beyond "women" casual games.
     
  4. Rod Hyde

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    What about twisting that slightly? Instead of "make what you like", turn it into "make what someone you like likes". That opens it up to spouses, friends, 5 year old daughters, etc.

    --- Rod
     
  5. steve bisson

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    if there is one thing i noticed is that the most successfull games is the ones i saw advertised most often... take magic match... yes its successfull but was it widely advertised because its sucessfull or was it successfull because its widely advertised ? i felt like my whole webexperience was sponsored by magic match the week it came out.

    when i first started looking at business models popcap was of course one of interest. They make cool games but they also seem to spend more money on advertissements than they spent on making a game.

    it almost feels like some sort of payola

    so, in a way, you also have to tell the market what they want.

    edit " added this content "
    ------
    "Pay-for-play," in which airtime is bought but the payments are disclosed, is still around. In January 1998, Flip/Interscope Records paid a Portland, Oregon radio station $5,000 to play one Limp Bizkit song 50 times over a five-week period. The band was able to generate enough interest to play a successful concert there. Other stations showed interest in their music, and Limp Bizkit broke into the music biz in a big way--a great argument for free enterprise if you're a Limp Bizkit fan. However, the argument against pay-for-play, even if the parties are upfront about it, is that it allows big labels to buy their artists' way onto the charts.
    ------

    I am not saying paying for advertissement is wrong... not at all , im saying it seems to be one of the answers. Be original whitin boundaries and market yourself ?
     
    #45 steve bisson, Feb 24, 2006
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2006
  6. cliffski

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    There is definitely a market beyond the traditional gem-matching game aimed at 30 something american women.
    The market is HUGE. There are four billion people on earth. If only 250 million of them have PCs, and 100 Million are on the web and 40 million buy games and just one in a thousand of those like the particular game niche you like, there are 100,000 potential customers for your game. Thats $2,000,000. Thats retirement time.

    Yes those number are pulled out my ass, but the point is that the global market for games is so collosal compared to a single developer, that if your game is really good, you will get sufficient sales, regardless of niche. I wouldnt have thought there was millions of people who want to feed fish in a game, but it turns out there are more than enough of them. Unless you go out of your way to invent a really obscure niche, I think you should be able to get 5-10,000 sales over a few years.

    If you are giving up a year of your life, and betting your financial stability on making a video game, I really recommend making the kind of game you personally enjoy.
     
  7. Allen Varney

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    You mean a word game like... Bookworm? Or like, even, you know... Scrabble? Granted, Bookworm isn't as popular as Bejeweled, and Scrabble isn't as popular as the United Nations or Mahayana Buddhism, but both games seem to have found an audience sufficiently large to satisfy any indie developer.

    Bonnie's Bookstore hasn't been out long at all by indie standards. As I understand it you can often iterate and promote one game for years before it finds its audience. If you don't feel like looking at Bonnie's Bookstore for that long, that's one thing, but to say "It was a word game, so it didn't sell real well in the first three months of release" seems very short-term thinking.
     
  8. Phil Steinmeyer

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    Portal-oriented casual games have to climb the charts early to make an impression, as opposed to 'indie' games which may have a longer life. Bonnie's will likely sell for some time, but it will not be a big hit.

    Yes, Bookworm was a big hit, which is part of the reason I made Bonnie's. But 3 well-made, rather similar word games all released in Nov/Dec (Bonnie's Bookstore, Big Kahuna Words, Acropolis) all underperformed. Which indicates to me that the market is not, at the moment, enamored with word games.

    Re-theming Bonnie's would be at least 60% as much work as making a new game. I'd rather make a new game (for now anyways)
     
  9. Chris Evans

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    I imagine he's targeting the portal audience. If your primary source of sales is portals for a particular game then there's not much iteration you can do unless you remain in the top ten for an extended period of time. Your game either sinks or swims. If it sinks, then no amount of iterations will help you turn around sales significantly since portals just have a "What's New" section, not a "Recently Updated" section.

    I'm actually with Cliffski on this one. If you're going to bet the farm with one game, you might as well create a small/medium game that you personally enjoy and polish the heck out of it. Even if direct sales are slow initially with enough improvements/iterations you can build up sales over time. Your Match-3/Word games just don't have the same longevity if you fail to land in the portal top ten for more than a couple of weeks.

    I also think if you're going to do a game that appeals to the portal audience, then you need to go all the way or just not do it. If you only go half way you're going to get stuck in no-man's land. I don't want to pollute Nexic's feedback thread, so I'll say it here but I think that's why he's getting mixed reactions with his Mighty Rodent shooter. He wanted to make a more portal friendly shooter but the game still has some hardcore mechanics and themes. It's a melting pot of his hardcore tastes with some known casual conventions. From my own personal experience this often does not translate well at all on portals and core gamers may not touch it because it looks too casual. Makes it tough to market.

    As others have said, this really is a problem of young men trying to make games for middle-aged women with little understanding. If you don't have a family member or spouse within that target market, then you're going to struggle. I have a wife, but she's one of those other 98-99% downloaders who never buy anything. :) She's played Diamond Mine on Yahoo endlessly and other puzzle games yet she's never bought a game online. If I made a game based off her tastes (which I did, btw :p ), I could end up with a fun game but not something that's good enough to have a strong upsell incentive.

    Basically I'm saying be careful with using your spouse, family member, or significant other as an example of a typical casual gamer. Every few days I'm always hearing someone around here say, "My wife is totally addicted to my game!". But if they haven't actually purchased a game online before (or nagged you to do it), then they're not part of your casual target market. Remember your game shouldn't just appeal to casual gamers, but casual gamers who actually fork out their credit cards and buy games online. Big difference.
     
  10. Ricardo C

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