Yawma (a new, indie-centric portal) wants to sell your games!

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by tentons, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. tentons

    Indie Author

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    Ladies and gentlemen,

    I'm the Director of Games for Yawma, a brand-spanking new online store that will sell independently produced music, games, videos, apps and other digital content. I am responsible for sourcing and signing game developers.

    Just to be clear about who I am, I run Creatrix Games, a little indie game studio--not related to my work with Yawma. I'm on board with Yawma to help get it launched because I have worked with the founder in the past on a game project, and I think this is a great idea and opportunity to help give indies more commercial exposure.

    I'd love to get in touch to discuss putting your downloadable game(s) in the Yawma store. We've already got several developers on board that you know from IGF, etc.

    The deal is very straight-forward. It's not exclusive. We're splitting revenue 50/50 with developers. If you want DRM, we're working on getting that set up, but if you don't want DRM that's not a problem. We'll do all the work to get your game onto the site. We want it to be as painless as possible for developers.

    A bit of background info on Yawma:

    • New company based in Portland, Oregon and run by people who themselves are indie developers (and who have a track record of success in business ventures like this)
    • Store will go live late October so we're in the process of signing up initial product partners
    • Incorporates a very innovative business and marketing model involving consumers as a way to help drive product sales and for which the company is filing a patent; I can't say more than that right now, but it's a really interesting twist
    • We've put up a temporary homepage to give you a feel for the style of the company

    I'm available for a call (phone or Skype) or just plain old email to discuss further and answer any questions you might have. Feel free to post in this thread, PM me, or email me directly: jason [at] yawma [dot] net.

    Thanks for reading,

    Jason McIntosh
    Director of Games
    Yawma - http://yawma.net
     
  2. PoV

    PoV
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    50/50 may be a better rate than some, but it's still not a good rate. If you're playing the "for indie" angle as opposed to the casual, at least keep in mind what indies can get elsewhere.

    Also, a "dot net" without the "dot com" doesn't incite all that much confidence in the seriousness of a new company. Sure a brand is a brand, but losing out the dot com to a geocities site is pretty bad.

    My 2 cents.
     
  3. tentons

    Indie Author

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    Thanks for the feedback, but .net is actually appropriate in this case. When the store is live, it will make more sense. I can't talk publicly about it until then, but we're happy to execute a non-disclosure agreement for serious inquiries.

    Jason McIntosh
    Director of Games
    Yawma - http://yawma.net
     
  4. tentons

    Indie Author

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    I just wanted to reply to the assertion that 50% is not a good revenue split, in case that causes misgivings for some who might otherwise be interested in contacting me. (And, to be fair, that 50% is not entirely arbitrary since our business model leaves us with a margin well below our 50% share.)

    But the above assertion ignores one glaring reality: not every channel through which you sell is in 1-to-1 customer competition with every other channel. Big Fish has its audience, and by and large, many people that purchase there will not purchase from MSN or Steam or WiiWare (making the assumption that the same games are available across all these channels to begin with).

    How many channels offer more than 50%, and how accessible are those channels to most indies? (I'm asking rhetorically here.) :) I know you won't get close to 50% from Big Fish Games or Oberon or almost any other casual portal of significant size. Apple and WiiWare and similar channels have other requirements that might be barriers to many indies. In that light, 50% is sounding pretty good.

    So, the revenue split is more than a number that can be compared apples-to-apples across the board.

    Which brings me to my first point: 50% from Yawma is not equivalently interchangeable with 50% from many other channels, because the respective audiences are going to be very different and won't overlap a whole lot. Part of the reason is simply the way the market is carved up, and another reason hinges on the unique distribution model of Yawma. In other words, sales through Yawma are incremental and will not generally cannibalize your sales through other channels.

    Saying you can get 70% "over there" is not saying that you end up with 20% more. It is actually saying you are giving up the 50% you'd get through Yawma in order to take the 70% you'll get "over there." That's a valid strategy, but since our deal is non-exclusive you are just leaving money on the table.

    Another aspect of this is that since we're new, we are launching with fewer games than, say, the 3000+ available at RealArcade. So the devs we're working with will have more exposure than on those larger portals, where most but the top 10 get buried. (And we're trying to avoid top-ten-itis that causes this effect through better discovery features on our store.)

    Best regards,

    Jason McIntosh
    Director of Games
    Yawma - http://yawma.net
     
  5. PoV

    PoV
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    That's a fair assessment. And you're right, many avenues are closed off to the majority (consoles specifically, iPhone is just slow). But there's this kind-of-funny middle ground. Ignoring the distinctly casual games, the games that aren't being accepted by the established "premium rate" avenues don't do well anyways. Even the ones that do get accepted have an uphill battle ahead of them. Top 10's are a lingering problem, but it's the problem of a saturated market more so, and people not knowing how to adapt.

    Now it sounds like you guys have some sort of solution, but just as there is game saturation there is markets saturation too. Manifesto Games I think illustrates best the issue with most new avenues. It's tough to make a market only on a name, and these guys were in the press regularly. From this side, I can't see anything that really sets you guys apart from every other new portal. You're a regular here, so that gives you guys some community trust points, but all I'm seeing is boilerplate "trusted innovative business solutions for small business big buzzwords".

    I don't mean to be offensive. We judge portals on royalty rate and distribution potential. The easiest point for a newcomer is royalty rate. And picky olde me think a dot com is important, and someone on Geocities will probably give up a hardly used domain for a few hundred dollars. I might be weird, but willingness to solidify your brand (even if the dot net is the official entryway) strikes me a kind-of the normal way you accent a business that's supposed to earn me money.
     
  6. Maupin

    Original Member

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    The dot com is important. Google will learn that when people search for "yawma.com" that they really mean yawma.net, and your site will end up the first result (because many people search for domains they want to visit in their favorite search engine rather than typing it into the address bar). So far so good.

    But whoever owns that Geocities site can easily retake the top position without much effort (and with some effort they could grab the top position for "yawma", too)... and unless you have tons of traffic there's little you can do about it. Without control over that domain, it's an unknown factor that could affect you down the line.

    By the way, does YAWMA have any meaning? Just curious because the first thing I think of with YA acronyms is "Yet Another Something Something."
     
  7. tentons

    Indie Author

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    I agree with that, for sure. I am not the founder of the company, so I'm speaking from my own speculation based on what I know from discussing things with the founder, but I think the long term plans include expanding to eventually cover a wider mainstream/indie range. Another key point is that the site will not sell just games.

    But, we're focusing on indie games and other indie content (we've got a bunch of bands/musicians signed up, for instance) partly for pragmatism and partly because we're underdogs, too. :)

    I'll grant you that it's totally unproven in this market (digital goods), but it's not entirely new to sales in general. This is, of course, the secret part that I can't discuss in public yet. And, again, the Big Idea is larger than just games, but games is certainly a big part of it.

    Yeah, we're aware of Manifesto's story. But this is totally different, and it's totally different from any current online retailer, too. There are patents being filed for parts of the business model, but like I said, it's not without a parallel in physical goods sales, so it's something new to digital goods and that's where the patents are being made.

    That's a fair judgment with which I agree, and I appreciate your honest feedback. The reason is that you have to sign our NDA to find out what makes it unique. Or you can wait a month. ;)

    So, that's the reason I'm not more forthcoming with details and have to hint at things with buzzwords. It's not very fun, really. I hope that doesn't come across as being sly, because it's really just that I can't explain the details in a public forum.

    None taken. :)

    I actually agree with you (and Maupin) on the dot com. For what it's worth, I'm not in control of that, so I can only explain what I know. The dot net is more fitting, but I agree with you that a dot com would be a good thing to have. I'll bring it up internally.

    So here are some other points to bear in mind:

    There's no splash screen requirements. (YAY!) Ok, we probably wouldn't want a "Yawma sucks" splash screen, but other than that....

    You can link to your website or promote yourself in the game as much as you want.

    These are two things that annoyed the crap out of me about portals. So I'm really happy to say that those are not present with Yawma.

    Maupin, Yawma is not an acronym. I first thought it was, too. I thought it meant "Yet Another Way to Manufacture Affluence" but I was corrected. :)

    Best regards,

    Jason McIntosh
    Director of Games
    Yawma - http://yawma.net
     
  8. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    If the DRM were really decent(require connect and authorization) and the marketing is good, and the payment system is regular and not easy to gyp I could see a new portal really making a dent.
     
  9. Sysiphus

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    small tip on design. Is a coming soon page, so no probs in modifs now...

    the drop shadow is way too large and dense(and also, does not benefit that the content is already too dark: visually is not contrasted/defined). In darker tfts is not going to be seen well, besides as a design matter is...maybe too much. I'd do way slighter, some pixels, and lighter.

    The logo get's little contrast with background , top right corner. In the part of it bellow, big watermark, that is ok to happen.

    the background image is a large one, non resizable. You can do tiling div background, with only 1px height line. Way lighter and resizable in height (no need in width, is a fixed width design, very ok to do these days of bazillions of resolutions)
    Of course would need the bottom closing div(with background image), but this all is pretty easy to do. Also, the file would not weight 116ks just for background, but, I guess , like 15ks or so... (and give you the freedom to grow in height, for, ie: a long FAQ.)

    The body color is not the same color than the background color to what drop shadow fades in at that main background image. Do equal tone (you may need to remove gamma header internal tag of PNG (with an external utility) if work with photoshop, and chromaticity one, to disallow a slight missmatch(that makes many pages have graphics inserted with almost-white backgrounds, etc)) for both. Maybe white is a good solution, as many browsers default to that. But not some, like, if I remember well, Safari..But the good bet is force Body tag background color redefined at css sheet...

    Just small touches. Surely non necesary for an in construction page. But hey, can be of help.

    Edit: Some typos. :)
     
    #9 Sysiphus, Oct 3, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2009
  10. tentons

    Indie Author

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    Hey Sysiphus, thanks for the tips! I'm sure these things will get addressed eventually, but I'll pass your advice along to our web designer.

    Best regards,

    Jason McIntosh
    Director of Games
    Yawma - http://yawma.net
     
  11. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    What sort of marketing plans are you going to be implementing?
     
  12. tentons

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    Acord, I'm not yet sure what specifically we'll be doing for the launch. That's not something I'm in charge of, and I haven't been told, sorry.

    Best regards,

    Jason McIntosh
    Director of Games
    Yawma - http://yawma.net
     
  13. tentons

    Indie Author

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    Just wanted to update regarding marketing.

    The business is committing considerable resources to marketing, both at launch and on an ongoing basis. Roughly 25% of revenues are targeted to support marketing activities, which is significantly more than most online distributors. Launch strategy involves an online viral campaign, the specifics of which are very hush, hush but is expected to generate very very large initial and targeted traffic.

    Hope that sheds some light on the plan.

    Best regards,

    Jason McIntosh
    Director of Games
    Yawma - http://yawma.net
     
  14. Jack Norton

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    Any updates on this? It's december and still the website says coming soon... :(
     
  15. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I dunno. Cynical though I am, there's something not quite gelling here.
     
  16. tolik

    Original Member

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    Will I be able to publish my flash tetris games and will you take care of wrapping? Thx.
     
  17. tentons

    Indie Author

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    Hi guys.


    Thanks for your continued interest! :)

    We've experienced development delays, mostly around our web dashboard for product partners. But we've also beefed up the web team to help move that along.

    Everything is still "go," and we're signing up lots of great developers every week.

    Unfortunately, we can't wrap the SWF for you, if that's what you mean. You'd need to provide us with a Windows and/or Mac downloadable executable of some sort.

    Best regards,

    Jason McIntosh
    Director of Games
    http://www.yawma.net
     
  18. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

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    Your homepage is just an IP address. Your web team are either rubbish, or non existent.
     
  19. tentons

    Indie Author

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    Interesting logic. Actually, it could have to do with our recent migration to a new server.

    Thanks for the feedback,

    Jason McIntosh
    Director of Games
    http://www.yawma.net
     

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