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WILL
15-10-2004, 06:55 AM
I made this thread to continue a conversation that was started in a previous thread. The discussion covers what those are willing to pay for marketing, productions quality and how you get your products sold.

From 'Commando Xenidis (http://terraqueous.f2o.org/dgdev/viewtopic.php?t=1563)' thread:


Indeed it does look pretty good already!

If I may be so bold: your previous project tombclimber. I understand you are selling it. What are your impressions about this. Have you sold many copies yet? And did you recieve any customer feedback?

Also, I read on a different forum that tombclimber was cracked early in the release. How did you respond to that and do you have any plans for future games to prevent this from happening (if possible)?

Thanks


Hi!

@Will: Thanks, of course I keep you informed, I hope to have some nice screens running on the planet surface soon

@Traveler: I sold 14 copies until now I think. So there is no big money to make, it is just a hobby, and we are a 2 person team and meet once a week and spend the few money we got :D
Yes, TombClimber was cracked (every new version) and I am absolutely not happy about it. But I now know what I did wrong and next game it will be harder, I promise :twisted:
I plan to ask some developers here or in the Omega forum to try to hack and cheat it before it is out, so maybe I find some problems before publishing.

Thanks!
Firle


14 copies huh? Not bad for a first go I'd say. Especially considering you had minimal marketing scheme for the game. Perhaps some of your experiences from this could be shared to help others in their own commercial endevours.


I plan to ask some developers here or in the Omega forum to try to hack and cheat it before it is out, so maybe I find some problems before publishing.

Thats a really cool idea. A good way to make it more rock solid.


Hi Will,

TombClimber was the 2nd one, the first one was Xenidis, a 2D space shooter made with DelphiX & Powerdraw. Commando Xenidis will be a sequel to this one, only much better and more features.

We have a professional partner for selling the games called 'ShareIT', wo gets 15-20% and sells international the game via download-]

[quote="Traveler"]15-20 percent!?! I don't know whats normal in situations like these but that does sound like a lot to me.

Are there any productions costs involved (like burning cds, including a cdbox and shipping it) or is it a simple case of downloading the game and you get a serial upon payment?

I did btw checked ShareIT.com for the game but there was no mentioning of tombclimber :(


better choice is PayPal if Your country isn't in black list(germany isn't in black list), then You could have account and sell it there. Why it is Better?
1. they take only 2,5% (Max, it could be wrong becouse this isn't my range) and 0.3 ct.
2. Your game could be found in eBay

And other thing, no offence but Your web page is not like Proffesional's Game developer's. If you change the design, and default Language make English Your games could be sold better. Take Out all Your family photos (create another webpage for exaple www.your_site.com/family or sth.

Good luck,
Bogdan Kustan aka WiZz


The fact that you feel their web page isn;t professional goes to show how good it is for them to have a partner that sells their games. Making a game is probably about 30% of the effort required to sell a game. Advertising, presence and availablity are the other 70% and if you can find a good partner to do it for you its probably worth a lot more than 15-20% of the price of the game.

I'm trying to sell some games now and am letting 60% of the income go to the marketing team.

Cairns: Really? Can you say what company?

Firle & Cairns: Are you guys selling it as a download-only or will you be making up CDs, etc? What would that cost you guys and what price would it drag the game(s) up to?

WiZz
15-10-2004, 11:19 AM
Marketing is not in my range, but I know something about this. Firstly I think the most important thing is rAcclame. Secondly is game design. Your game could be very cool, but if all graphics is made with MS Pain then it sucks (or You have profesional pixel artist). Burning CD's is too expensive for not profesional team, or You could try to find publisher, but if even they take Your game then they take the bigest part of profit (in Lithuania You got 15-20%), so the best chice is to sell through internet. The page where game is published MUST be nice designed and easy to browse. if You are not the professional web designer then better buy the template, or just buy whole site. The rAcclame could be banner exchange system, Demo version in Different companies (magazines) CD's, Forums and news groups. And the last and very important thig is price, I think better to sell 100 copies with price 5$ then 10 copies with price 20$. if Your game havn't greate name and You are just a begginer then price must be low, like 5-8$.
an example:
if Your page have 500 visitors a day and 1% is potencial customers (5 copies in day), Your games price is 5$ so Your dayly payment is:
5x5=25$
monthly:
25x30=750$
Not bad i said ;)

cairnswm
15-10-2004, 12:15 PM
I'm trying to sell a single shareware game through the internet. So far I havn't got a single sale in 3 months. But I know thats because I havn't tried to do any advertising - its not my interest. BMTMicro take 10% of each sale.

I'm doing a bulk market game through direct sales in South Africa. I have a two man marketing team busy trying to get sales and between them they will be sharing 60% on the income. My 40% should be enough for me to stop working once the sales happen. I want to write games, I do NOT want to do marketing and accounting etc. So by making my Sales people very much part of the company I know they will do the selling to make their own income.

Harry Hunt
16-10-2004, 10:26 PM
A few tips:

1) If you have webspace that supports PHP/ASP/JSP/Perl/CF-scripting, use PayPal as your payment processor (http://www.paypal.com). They support all major credit cards and they don't charge an awful lot. Plus they support IPN (Instant Payment Notification) which means when somebody orders something from your website, he or she gets forwarded to PayPal and when the payment is completed a script on your website is executed allowing you to send out e-mails with download links or whatever you want... They won't advertise your stuff, but let's face it - neither do all those shareware sites (at least not properly).

2) If you want to sell your game on CD, try cafepress (http://www.cafepress.com). They don't have any set-up fees and they produce professional quality silk-screened CDs. They cost something around $8 per CD, anything you charge above that is your revenue.

3) If you want to advertise your stuff properly, you will have to pay for it. But good advertisement might make you a lot more money than you invest for advertisement.
I got some of my games on the cover-cds of a couple of German shareware magazines, one even with a screenshot on the front page. I managed to do this by contacting the editor in chief and telling him that he could publish the full version of one of my older games in his magazine if he'd write an article about one of my newer games...

4) Don't waste your time on inventing cool copy protection systems. People are always going to steal your stuff, with or without copy protection. If you absolutely want to have a copy protection system, use something simple like serial numbers.

5) Something a lot of people don't know: If you want to sell anything, even shareware, you will need a business license.

Ultra
17-10-2004, 04:27 PM
1) If you have webspace that supports PHP/ASP/JSP/Perl/CF-scripting, use PayPal as your payment processor (http://www.paypal.com). They support all major credit cards and they don't charge an awful lot. Plus they support IPN (Instant Payment Notification) which means when somebody orders something from your website, he or she gets forwarded to PayPal and when the payment is completed a script on your website is executed allowing you to send out e-mails with download ]

I've heard from a couple of places that PayPal for whatever reason isn't very good (I guess the biggest issue is that customers don't trust it). That doesn't mean you shouldn't support it, it just means you might want to have alternatives.

[quote="Harry Hunt"]
I got some of my games on the cover-cds of a couple of German shareware magazines, one even with a screenshot on the front page. I managed to do this by contacting the editor in chief and telling him that he could publish the full version of one of my older games in his magazine if he'd write an article about one of my newer games...


Just out of curiosity, what was your experience with this, how did it affect you sales etc?



Yes, TombClimber was cracked (every new version) and I am absolutely not happy about it. But I now know what I did wrong and next game it will be harder, I promise

Any particular tips you want to share? :wink:

The developer section over at dexterity (http://www.dexterity.com/) has some nice articles on selling shareware. Anyone have any thoughts on those?

Admittingly I don't have any experience with selling shareware but these were just my thoughts.

noeska
17-10-2004, 06:17 PM
Firlefanz wrote:

Yes, TombClimber was cracked (every new version) and I am absolutely not happy about it. But I now know what I did wrong and next game it will be harder, I promise

So to make profit you have to think the worst of your endusers. So shareware programs must be made hacker proof.
How do you do that:
- Compact your executable: http://upx.sourceforge.net/
But that obviously is not enough soo we might have to use:
http://www.strongbit.com/execryptor.asp
Or maybe you should also add http://www.paypal.com/ and only offer the full version for download after payment. Give the full version a personal key also, as it otherwise gets copied. But event then there are people that do not care if they play a game that is registered to someone else.

or could http://www.softwrap.com/ be the all in one solution?

Harry Hunt
17-10-2004, 07:42 PM
I've heard from a couple of places that PayPal for whatever reason isn't very good (I guess the biggest issue is that customers don't trust it). That doesn't mean you shouldn't support it, it just means you might want to have alternatives.

I never had any problems with it, but yeah, you might want to have alternatives.




Just out of curiosity, what was your experience with this, how did it affect you sales etc?

Sales about quadrupled only days after the release of the magazine. This lastet for about two weeks and then stagnated.

cairnswm
18-10-2004, 05:43 AM
Paypal doesn't support South Africa so I cannot use it :(

I agree on the hacking - games will always be hacked and there isn;t much you can do about it. A simple game takes me about 180 hours to do - to put proper encryption into it would add another 100 hours to that time. (180 hours = 8 months work after hours)

Getting games into magazines is a great idea. At the moment I only have one game so that isn;t going to work so well. When I get a new game ready I'll certainly give it a try :)

Momor
19-10-2004, 05:56 AM
Hey cairnswm,

Before advertising, please consider building a PAD file and submitting it to the most possible range of websites : http://www.asp-shareware.org/users/searchsites.asp

The ASP site gives some good tips and even links to a freeware PAD builder.

I'm currently trying to sell one game using this method. So far it appears that the number of sales is directly proportional to the number of downloads of the demo/light version (my ratio is 0.8% for now, which seems to be usual). So just get a lot of people download your game !

Also don't forget that the shareware scene is filled with tons of puzzle games, so the competition is though. I made this mistake for my first project, so I'm planning to try something less usual for my next project (perhaps an adventure or racing game).

Eriken
19-10-2004, 08:36 AM
Here is a discussion about PayPal on the Indieforums if you're curious, it's abit better explained there I think ;)

http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=837
_____
Eriken

Firlefanz
19-10-2004, 12:35 PM
Hi!

When we created Xendis over 2 years ago, we first tried to sell it on CD ourselves and we sold I don't know exatly but over a dozen copies for 10 Euro, because it was including all costs we only sold in Germany and the neighbour countries.

So we decided to sell our next game international. I found ShareIT and I still think this is a good partner, we sell Xenidis there with a download link for 6 Euro and TombClimber for 10 Euro. We sold 4 Xenidis and 14 Tombclimbers til then.

We make all reclame, advertising etc ourselves, we are on a lot of shareware-sites, and this could be better, but I don't know how to do it and I am willing to hear some ideas, but only if it does not cost anything. We earned let's say 200 Euro in 2,5 years with 2 games (we are mainly two people til now) and they only get us back the costs for buying some software we use.

And what I read here about selling CDs where the publisher gets 8 Euro or $ does make no sense because it is much to expensive then. I think for a shareware author like we are, selling CDs does not make much sense, it is too expensive to let somebody do it, and too much work (and expensive) to do it yourself.

Next game will be much better I promise and I hope to sell much more copies then and I hope some coders I know will help me making it harder to crack.

We will continue making games because we love it and have much fun doing it, but we will make no freeware because then I am sure we would start all few month a new project and won't finish anything or finish it too fast, now we ARE to make it better each time because we still dream about selling some more. I am still looking for better ideas how to do it but did not find any til now so please let me know.

We also tried to find a publisher to sell our games in a store, but did not find any. Too bad.

Firle

WILL
20-10-2004, 12:45 AM
Hmm for shareware sites, have you guys considered tucows.com or c|net?

And I'm not sure, but the-underdogs.org had a store for selling indi-developers' games. http://www.the-underdogs.org/store/ Can't remember the criteria required for them.

cairnswm
20-10-2004, 04:58 AM
My game is up on tucows. I remember looking at the under-dogs site but can;t quite remember why I didn;t use it....

Firlefanz
20-10-2004, 06:36 AM
We are also on tucows, and a few dozen other sites. This helps making the game a bit more 'known'. I think you have to make a really great game every 1/50 player is buying, then you can make some serious money, our rate must be 1/350 or something. I would love to have a publisher that gives me a small money for each version or some more money for all and then sells the game in stores for 9 Euro/$, that would be great. I know these publishers exist but are hard to get.

Firle

Traveler
20-10-2004, 07:43 PM
A very interesting topic! But to be honest with all the things said here, I'm begining to wonder whether its worth all the trouble for a few dosen sales. Is it really worth it?

To those who actually have sold games. Do you provide extra service to customers? I mean, when (or if) people write you about bugs or problems or perhaps even want money back for some reason, how do you respond to that?
For instance, cairnswm, your game was reviewed a while ago. Some of the reviewers mentioned a few (minor) problems, one of them about sound iirc. Did you make a patch for the problems mentioned in that review?

WILL
23-10-2004, 04:53 PM
Well the idea is that with practice and time you develop better marketing methods and design games in a more... 'marketable' way. Not so much to be a animated Nike commercial, but little things that appeal to the general player based on ractions to certan things you've done in the past.

cairnswm
26-10-2004, 05:25 AM
I must admit that I didn;t make any changes. Unfortunatly most of the problems were in the libraries I used (GLXtreem and OpenAL) over which I have very little control.

This also is why I havn't done anything new. I'm disappointed that the libraries cannot deliver on all computers. At the moment I dont really know what to do about it either - except switch to another set of libraries - and I dont want DeirectX 9.... so the choice is pretty limited. (At the moment I want to look at SDL but have had problems getting it up and ruinning).

Kyle
23-02-2005, 06:16 PM
about paypal, there is a funny site http://www.paypalsucks.com . I wonder if any of their arguments are accurate. Check out the alternatives as well.

marmin
17-12-2005, 12:06 AM
Well --
To charge money for a game, it has to be:
= totally bug free
= has good documentation
= really fun to play and has decent graphics.
= not too difficult, not boring after a few plays.

even then, I would not charge more than let's say 6 or 7 euro's.

I've seen lots of Indy games who charge $19.95 and are esssentially clones of old games. i have nothing against this, all games nowadays are clones of old games in essence. The buyer must get the feeling that is has taken a lot of work and is not a rip off. :(
Only if one is a genius in Advertising on ecna pull the trick and let people buy it.


How much would you pay for an indie game? discuss.

WILL
17-12-2005, 03:16 AM
Personally, I think that the prices for most of the big commercial games are just way way too high! I mean 80-90 bucks? eew... not bloody likely. ;)

I on the other hand am, admitedly quite picky about what games I like to play anyhow, but I feel that for me to fork out money for a game, I want it to have great replay value and enough features and aspects to it to keep me really interested in what I may want to buy.

I'd apply this to both the big money games and the indie ones. If the game has more of what I like in games, I might go higher. I generally would like to stay under $30-40(CAD) though.

AthenaOfDelphi
17-12-2005, 09:34 AM
Well --
To charge money for a game, it has to be:
= totally bug free
= has good documentation
= really fun to play and has decent graphics.
= not too difficult, not boring after a few plays.

even then, I would not charge more than let's say 6 or 7 euro's.

I've seen lots of Indy games who charge $19.95 and are esssentially clones of old games. i have nothing against this, all games nowadays are clones of old games in essence. The buyer must get the feeling that is has taken a lot of work and is not a rip off. :(
Only if one is a genius in Advertising on ecna pull the trick and let people buy it.


How much would you pay for an indie game? discuss.

This is quite an interesting topic, especially as we are struggling to get players ourselves, but I have to disagree with a few of the points you made marmin.

Firstly, 'bug free'. I have yet to play a PC game that has been bug free on release. Providing paying customers have an easy update method that doesn't take days to download patches, bugs in the initial release shouldn't present a problem. Personally, I'm far more forgiving of bugs in indie games, simply because of the scale of the project compared to the big guns like Valve for example. That said, I don't object to patching (I have a nice fast connection), but I do object if the patch breaks things, like save games as has just happened when I patched Painkiller.

My second major disagreement is with the statement about the game being really fun to play and having decent graphics. The first part, I absolutely agree with, but decent graphics do not make a good game. They can help if the game itself is lacking, by adding the wow factor. But as far as graphics quality is concerned I'd say your view on this depends largely on your age. If you were raised on 8 bit classics such as the Atari, Spectrum and Commodore 64, then personally I think you're decision to buy is less likely to be swayed by swanky graphics as you'll be able to remember when having 16 colours on screen was a major achievement. Classic or retro style games can be amazing when they are done with modern techniques.. Pom Pom Games springs to mind.

Your last point... not too difficult, not boring after a few plays... I would say this depends on the game and your target audience. I for one wouldn't play a game again that I could complete without really stretching myself. I'll use HalfLife 2 as an example. I'm currently on my third run through. The first time, I started on medium difficulty, got a feel for the controls and the environmental factors, then restarted on hard and completed the game on hard. Now I run through on easy, just for the fun of it, and it still spooks me out and catches me unawares in the same places.

As for price, I'm a strong believer in low level pricing. One of the reasons I believe piracy is so rampant is the sometimes extortionate prices charged by publishers, that said, the price should reflect the amount of work thats gone into the game. I had no objections to paying top whack for HalfLife 2 for example, simply because of the time its taken, the amount of work and the expectation that it was going to be amazing based on playing the original HalfLife, but theres no way I'd pay that for an indie game, without first being able to play a good sized demo. If it wowed me, I'd pay. If not, I wouldn't. But pricing, like many other aspects of marketing will need to be determined by the demographics of the target audience. Younger players for example may not have as much spare cash and as such, are more likely to pirate the game, than say someone like me who has a full time job.

Ultimately, much of how you advertise and market your game will depend on your target demographic, which may itself depend on the type of game. Younger people will, IMHO, be swayed by fancy graphics, Dolby x.y surround sound, whereas people of my age are more likely to be swayed by a game that offers a serious challenge and good solid gameplay/storyline, and this should be reflected in your advertising/marketing strategy.

One option for advertising, especially in a community such as this, is banner exchange. We will all get slightly different demographics as far as our website visitors are concerned, so maybe we, as a community should get our heads together and advertise our products on each others sites. This could be done with a simple static page, or it could be done with a banner ad system, that rotates the ads automagically.

The other key option is print advertising in gaming mags... something which many of us on our own, may not be able to justify, but again, what about a collaborative effort. A bunch of peeps club together and buy an ad space and present an ad featuring their products. Of course, mags present another oppourtunity... reviews, but then this could also be achieved with a community effort. I'm sure many peeps have personal websites... some of which will be linked to their 'business' sites. We could collaborate as a community to write real reviews of each others products.

Of course, depending on the type of game, you could get mentions on websites. MPOGD for example, if the game is on-line and has multiplayer capabilities. When we were listed, they were perhaps our biggest referrer outside our own websites.

The one thing you absolutely cannot rely on, as we have found, is word of mouth, but that may just depend on the type of game. We're at a sticky point because we want enough players to make the game interesting, but we're finding that peeps aren't telling their friends about the game until they've played it, so we're in a catch 22. But even when the game was running, we never achieved more than a trickle of new players... why, because we didn't advertise. We simply couldn't afford to and this is where the big guns have the upper hand.

Another factor that is adversely affecting the ability of indies to get their games onto store shelves is the disappearance of the indie game stores. They are all big stores, owned by big companies, and trying to get a product on their shelves is quite difficult as we found with PC World.

Overall, at this time, the traditional retail delivery of games, IMHO is the exclusive realms of the big guns, simply because they have the financial muscle to effectively control what stores put on their shevles. For indies like us, the best way to get your product to the customer is posisbly on-line delivery via a company that doesn't want to charge you masses of money for the privilege. In terms of advertising, a collaborative effort is possibly the way to go. Stick banners for all our products on all our sites and/or get together and buy some ad space in a big gaming mag.

Didn't expect to write that much, but thats my personal take on the situation regarding marketing and advertising.

WILL
23-12-2005, 10:42 PM
Can you guys see why I got Athena to write for us guys? ;) j/k

Well I wanted to keep this thread alive so I am going to put a little tail-spin on it. Sinec this is on topics though still; Is it that you guys are having a hard time finding a decent publisher, if any at all?

Becasue if that is the case, I have a whole list for you guys. A few of them are in the Links section of the PGD site under 'Publishers & Distributors'. Save SourceForge and Project JEDI the rest will publish your works for a fee or percentage of royalties I believe.

I unfortunately don't have a banner for these other ones or I'd have put them up there too:

:arrow: Cromwell Game Studios (http://www.cromwellgames.co.uk/)

:arrow: share*it! (http://www.shareit.com/)

:arrow: Plimus (http://www.plimus.com/)

Now they're not HUGE distributors, but they will give you some experiece in getting into the market and knowing how it works before you proceed into bigger and better opportunities.

Also, if you just want to make a few bucks for your hobby, that helps too. ;)

Firlefanz
10-02-2006, 11:18 AM
Hello,

my game will be finished very soon. Now I need to make it public, and this means two things:

1st: Get it on magazines like PC Player / PC Games etc.
2nd: get it on shareware sites

I know how to get my game in the german PC gaming magazines, do you know a way to get them in the gaming magazines of other countries? I mean printed magazines, not internet or something.

I once had a bot programm that once had the data of my game, visited many shareware sites and anounced it there. Do you know any free bots to do so?

Any other ways to make it public I forgot?

Thanks,
firle

Traveler
10-02-2006, 12:14 PM
You should cairnswm, he has had some luck getting his games on various lists :twisted:

cairnswm
10-02-2006, 12:33 PM
Actually I still dont know how it happened :)

I was contacted by PCAction in Germany to put some of my games on their magazine - nothing ever came from it.

Mirage
16-02-2006, 09:25 AM
If you want to see your game in various magazines in many countries - issue a press release.
I recommend to yous a service - like softpressrelease.com.

savage
16-02-2006, 09:55 AM
like softpressrelease.com.

Hmm, very usefull, I might actually use them? Has anyone here used them?

Firlefanz
16-02-2006, 10:30 AM
@Mirage: Thanks for the suggestion, and if you have another one like this, but for free, then I am happy. :shock:

I won't spend 75$ or more, God knows if I get the money back, I do this for hobby and maybe I don't sell anything at all. But thanks for the info. :wink:

Firle

savage
16-02-2006, 10:52 AM
I won't spend 75$ or more, God knows if I get the money back, I do this for hobby and maybe I don't sell anything at all. But thanks for the info. :wink: Firle

Sometime you have to spend money to make money unfortunately.

PS. if there is a free "press service" I would also like to hear about it, but I fear that you probably get what you pay for in this case.

Mirage
17-02-2006, 08:48 AM
like softpressrelease.com.

Hmm, very usefull, I might actually use them? Has anyone here used them?

I've used this service and will use it again. And of course you can too.


@Mirage: Thanks for the suggestion, and if you have another one like this, but for free, then I am happy. :shock:

Yes, there are some free PR services. PRWeb, for example. I didn't used it but people say that it's useless.

WILL
04-12-2006, 04:46 PM
I just came across this hour long speech on GDC Radio (something I find myself listening to a LOT recently :thumbup: it's good stuff) on marketing your game and how you as a developer can work with the marketers better.

Anyone that wants to get into commercial or shareware gaming this is gold! Go listen, reply tell everyone what you think about it. It fits in here a lot with what we've been talking about in this thread.

Developers Are From Jupiter, Marketers Are From Saturn (http://www.gdcradio.net/2006/08/gdc_radio_presents_developers.html)