Which scenario makes the most money?

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by 2dnoob, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. 2dnoob

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    In a span of 1 year, which scenario makes the most money.

    A) Creating 5 "ok" titles with limited marketing.

    B) Creating 1 "high quality" title with heavy marketing.
     
  2. Makaze

    Makaze New Member

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    1 good title could potentially make more money then again it could flop and you get nothing.

    But also making 5 games in a year is no easy feat. That's just over 2 months of dev time and a proper game takes time to cook and mature from a tech demo to a fun product.
     
  3. tolworthy

    tolworthy New Member

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    With my vast wisdom and years of experience (OK, this is my first game, but I did marketing at university) I would say 1 game, definitely. As Makaze said, neither option is guaranteed, but it's the Pareto effect, also known as the 80:20 rule.

    20 percent of products bring in 80 percent of the money. In a market like indie gaming, which is so sentitive to publicity, I am sure the figures are even more extreme. I expect that 10 percent of games bring in 90 percent of the money. If quality matters at all, then the only sensible solution is to make one killer game rather than five also-rans.

    Having said that, your "one killer game" may be a killer game engine or approach. If you have a brilliant game engine, and you an make a hundred variants quite easily, it may be worth making those 100 variants as a way to test the market and see which one sells best, then focus on that.
     
  4. Matthew

    Indie Author

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    One game will make more money.

    But judging by your nickname, you're going to need those first four games as learning experience to make that hit game. So do both? ;)
     
  5. princec

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    My 2p of advice: it would appear that statistically only about 1 in 5 games might make any reasonable money at all, marketing or not, so I'd try and write as many as possible to get a few that stick rather than put all my eggs in one basket.

    As you get more experienced I'm sure you'll figure out what works best and produce less lemons.

    Well, this had better be the case, because that's what I'm doing.

    Cas :)
     
  6. Andy

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    Correct initial points some times come to wrong conclusions. :)
    Said all that above - what do you think is probability for that single game to get that 10%? ;)

    Well. I haven't ever learned any marketing but I heard they all study success of companies like Coca Cola or Ford. So this hardly has any connection to awerage indie business. That's why I can easily state that this is not our only conclusion but probably more correct behavior for starter: make that 5 games and you will get much more intial financial success.

    Keep in mind that 5 games let you make mistakes and learn on your own mistakes. One game - never...
     
  7. Emmanuel

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    Great games sell exponentially better than good games, which sell exponentially better than ok games and so on until you're below the treshold that sells nothing. However, for aligning all the factors to make even a good game on first try, statistics aren't in your favor (it's happened before -- Prof. Fizwizzle for instance, but it's very rare). Start with a reasonable game (but make it look and sound expensive if you can, and make it as good as you can). Learn to complete, distribute and market your game, and that programming probably will have the least influence on your success. Our first game was a bomb, our second game better but not my much, and we were lucky that our third game did great. After our first game, our very own Andy told me to move on, like a lot of others, instead of trying to pavlinize it. It was very good advice indeed :)

    Best regards,
    Emmanuel
     
  8. Sakura Games

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    Well luckily you weren't so blind as some other people who still think that those articles (good for the year 1999) still contains good advice for shareware games in A.D. 2007... :D
     
  9. tolworthy

    tolworthy New Member

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    Good point. Though it depends on your definition of "one game." My game is made of sub-games, each based on a classic novel. Every six months I release a new subgame, and improve the existing sub-games. I don't expect the first release to make much money, but hopefully by the fifth release I will have got it right. Of course, I am lucky that each new story is completely different, so each release should appeal to an entirely new group of users.

    PS I didn't mean to imply that my marketing degree means I know anything. I currently work part time in the Post Office, so judge for youself! :)
     
    #9 tolworthy, Feb 24, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2007
  10. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    Hard to tell which is the definite best option, depends a lot on the developer in question. These days I'm pretty confidant I could make something in two months and have it sell just as well as one of my previous 4-6 month projects. But I'm not confidant that if I spent 2 years on a game that it would sell 4-6 times better than my 4-6 month games.

    My plan was always to try smaller dev length games wait for something that seems to do well then spend a decent amount of time to make it much better. So far haven't found anything that seems especially hot.
     
  11. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    I think that 5 games a year is too many (except for very very experienced game developers), and 1 game a year is too few (I would get sick of working on the same game for 365 days in a row). I suggest 3 games a year -- four months each. Think of it as the Aristotelian mean?
     
  12. Andy

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    Terrible off-topic!!! :)
    The question was 1 or 5. ;)
     
  13. princec

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    I seem to recall the venerable Patty of these parts did about 20 in one year.

    Cas :)
     
  14. Escapee

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    Based on my experience, one top quality games could easily beat 5 match 3 cloned games by a very large ratio. Maybe hundred to 1 on our site but the ratio could be much larger at big portals.
     
  15. Nexic

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    Sure 1 can easily earn 100x that of another. But just because you spent 2 years on it doesn't mean it will manage that. Often the games that do hit that pinnacle were only 6 months or so. Remember Atlantis? Two months I think that was.
     
  16. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    It could, but it could also fail entirely -- there are also games that people spent 2-3 years on which had almost no sales. Especially possible when someone is learning how to make games and doesn't have an established record. So *on average*, I think making 3 games a year is a safer bet than making 1 game a year, when a person doesn't yet have any games.
     
  17. KNau

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    That's why I've started advocating releasing your games in a very early, unfinished stage to start getting feedback early. If the audience goes crazy then you know you have a potential hit on your hands and you should dive in and quickly finish it. If the reaction is "meh" then you either need to listen to the audience on how the fix it or drop the project completely. It seems to me that engaging your audience in the selection of projects reduces the likelihood of having a total flop. That's my hope anyways.

    Now if only I could find the time to get some prototypes done :(
     
  18. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Not to take this off topic, but there are problems with releasing beta versions publicly too early -- they may cause crashes, they might put people off from playing it if doesn't look or play anything like what it will in a more complete state and give a bad impression of the game, etc.

    I think a better idea is to have a closed (but largish, about a dozen) set of playtesters for very early versions, and open it for public playtesting after it's at half or two-thirds done.
     
  19. 2dnoob

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    No one has mentioned the marketing factor, you guys do market your games too right?

    No doubt a superior A title would sell regardless, but I'm talking about the time spent to market the title as well.

    So, in a year I could spend 5-6 months writing the best game I can and then spend the rest of the year marketing that 1 game. OR..

    I can spend 5-6 months writing smaller, not quite as polished, etc, games, and spend the rest of the year marketing those sub par games.
     
  20. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    I don't think it's necessarily true that more time spent on a game makes it a better game. There are many great games that were made in a short burst of time. There's something to be said for intensity of production. Some of the best novels were written in a few weeks for example.

    The most popular game on my site (see signature) is Missing, which was created in a single month. The other games vary, some six months, some six years (yes, six years, for Sword of Jade). But it's the game that was made in one month that did the best of them all.
     

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