why not so many trailers for indie games?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Reanimated, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Reanimated

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    Hi everyone
    I hope this is the right place to post it (If not, please move it to the correct place). Ive noticed that quite a few indie games dont have trailers to advertise their products. I have seen some, but quite a lot dont and I was just wondering why this is the case. If its because you dont have time, would you like a service that created trailers for you at a very reasonable price? Or is it that indie games generally dont need trailers since the target market would not usually download trailers and just get the demo instead?
     
  2. Savant

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    We're trying something like this on Game Savant:

    For example, Luxor .

    Small gameplay movies that give people a look at the game before they commit to download the whole thing. Not the same thing as a full on trailer, I know, but a step in the right direction at least.

    I'd say at least 25% of the people who download from the site are clicking on the movies so they are a reasonable enough draw if you're looking for more attention or what-not.
     
  3. Coyote

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    I think it's more of the latter reason. I mean, a decent trailer is going to be as large as your download... if someone's gonna download something from me, I'd rather it be a demo. Also, the trailer tends to showcase the graphical punch of the game - and indie games aren't traditionally known for their jaw-dropping graphics.

    That being said, I have done a couple of trailers, done very cheaply by Josh, with varying levels of success. I think it's a little more useful for a game not yet released than a game already for sale.
     
  4. Reanimated

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    I was just thinking since my summer holidays are coming up soon, I would have time to create trailers and things so if there was enough demand for it, it might be worth me setting up a service.
     
  5. papillon

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    Only if the service also includes being able to knock that movie down into a small, fast loading animated gif that still looks nice. :)

    I hate demo movies, they take too long to download for too little in exchange, even for big games that I'm excited about. But a very small look at play in motion would be cool if you could get past the filesize barrier.
     
  6. Reanimated

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    What would you consider to be a reasonable size for a relatively good animation? tbh I dont see a problem in that and would be happy to do so if thats what you want.

    EDIT: If there are some people who would be interested in such a service, then I may start work on it soon. (Soon being two weeks time, once my exams are over :) )
     
  7. soniCron

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    I think that unless the trailer is <200KB (and that is stretching it), people would rather download the demo and try it out. Trailers could be very handy for upcoming features, but for existing games, not much point.
     
  8. Savant

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    Our little movies are generally around 400K and, like I say, approx 25% of people who download games are clicking on them.
     
  9. soniCron

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    Since it's roughly on topic, a while back I produced a little teaser trailer for an upcoming game, Kira Kino. Thoughts are welcome:

    http://www.solaristudios.com/kirakinoteaser.wmv
    (Right click and "Save Target As..." My mime-types aren't working right.)

    It's around 1.5MB, and it's highly compressed. There's not much there, so that's why I figured trailers wouldn't get much attention. But I guess I'm wrong (Savant)! ;)
     
  10. Savant

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    Well, to be fair, I don't have actual data related to if the movie convinced them to download the demo or what have you ... only that they watched the movie.

    Whether that means anything is up for debate, really.
     
  11. Reanimated

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    Maybe, for whatever reason, the user cannot actually play the game at that time, but they still would like to see the game in action. Also, if the trailer is significantly smaller than the demo, then user doesnt have to wait for the full demo download time and the installation time on top of that. Just a thought :confused:
     
  12. Savant

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    My reasoning behind offering the movies was so that people on modems could download several movies in the same time they could download a complete demo. They could then check out those movies and make sure that it's likely going to be something they will play before commiting their poor modems to a 10+MB download.

    And for people on broadband, well, the movies are small enough to act as expanded screen shots. They see a little action and get a better idea of what the game is about than they could just from screen shots.

    I might be wrong. Who knows? :)
     
  13. PoV

    PoV
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    Nice trailer work there soniCron, it's certainly on the right track. I'm especially impressed with the audio. A shame there's not more images, or flickery moments in it. Otherwise, me like.

    As for trailers as an idea, sure, I can imagine people perfering the download when things get a certain size, but personally I'd prefer to at least see what a game is like, screenshots and a movie if it was there before I committed to a download/install. The big plus about the movie is you don't need to install it, you just play it, so long as you have the correct codec's intstalled. And on broadband, 10 megs isn't that big of a deal to me to waste on seeing a video before a download. Plus it gives you an opportunity to show or tease why someone should download or buy the game, such cool features and things unlocked later in a game.
     
  14. ErikH2000

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    I had an idea that it would work well to have a series of screenshots on a web page with captions explaining what is happening and what you as a player would be doing. Kind of like a comic strip. Of course, if I had a game with a lot of flashy animation and action, a little movie would probably be better.

    -Erik
     
  15. Lerc

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    Common sense (which is often wrong) would suggest that watching the clips would have the potential to change the download rate in both directions. People could look at a clip an decide that the game wasn't their thing. Theoretically the conversion rate from downloads -> orders should be higher because of this.
     
  16. Reanimated

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    Well it seems that there may be some interest at the moment, if I can do things right :) . Ill give more info in a couple of weeks, but any more suggestions/opinions welcome :cool:
    EDIT: I guess the main question is, would you pay (a small amount) for someone to make a trailer/animation for you?
     
  17. Curiosoft

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    I too also use trailers for my games.

    They are nice little flash demos that take up about 300-400 K. As mentioned in another post, it gives folks with limited bandwidth a heads-up on whether they like the game.

    It also adds a sense of professionalism to the site.

    You can find the Jr. Vet trailer here...
    http://www.curiosoft.com/webmercials/jrvet-webmercial.htm

    I used Instant Demo ( www.instant-demo.com ) to make them.

    Take care,
    Curiosoft
     
  18. Robert Cummings

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    I think trailers are damaging for shareware sales. They are ideal for 200meg pc game releases on retail...

    But on the shareware model, you ideally want them to download the game anyway to maximise possibility of a sale. In the same time it takes to view the clip, they could have downloaded the game.

    I welcome any results though - so if you're brave enough to try, I'm humble enough to listen to how it turned out :)
     
  19. z3lda

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    BTW, for those who do capture video of gameplay how are you doing this? I tried using fraps but the audio is alwasy really messed up. This is even after I compressed it using windows movie maker.
     
    #19 z3lda, Jun 14, 2005
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2005
  20. Chris Evans

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    If you can put together a nice trailer, it doesn't hurt to have one on your gamepage. The advantage with trailers is that you can show visitors a wider sampling of your game than you can sometimes with downloadable demos.

    Here's one of my gameplay videos for Pow Pow's Great Adventure: (9MB)
    http://www.outsidetheboxsoftware.com/media/powpow_gameplay_1.mpg

    For level-based games, this can help a lot because players can see gameplay elements in actual motion that's not in the demo, which can make the upsell to the full version much more apparent. Earlier this year when I looked at my logs, most people who downloaded the trailer went on to download the demo. My tracking system was still in its infancy so I don't know how they converted to sales compared to regular downloadables, but I'd like to think they were better educated of the full version features.

    Though I agree with Coyote, your trailer will probably be more useful during pre-release. I had far more daily trailer downloads before my game was released (it helped getting newsletter signups as well). Once my game was out, most people preferred to just download the demo. I have to go back and examine my old logs, but I think only 5% of downloaders viewed the trailer. However if those 5% are more likely to buy the full version, then I still think it's worth it.

    Though with casual games, I don't think game trailers are as important or even as useful. In most cases, the trailer file size will be bigger than the actual game. Also Zuma, Bejeweled and similar games may be very addictive to play, but they make pretty boring game trailers. In those cases, I could definitely see game trailers as distraction instead of a benefit.

    So you have to be the judge if a game trailer will work for you. If you're capable of putting together a nice trailer on your own, I say go for it. It doesn't hurt. But I wouldn't pay someone to do it unless your game lends well to a trailers benefits.

    My 2 cents.
     

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