July 17, 2019, 02:38:42 PM

Author Topic: Ways to sell a game on the interweb  (Read 1686 times)

Offline RemiD

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Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« on: January 28, 2018, 09:02:21 AM »
(i have changed the title/topic, but it is a similar topic)

Hello,

Let's talk about ways to sell a game on the interweb


In the past i have sold an infoproduct (pdf + audios + videos) during 3 years, it was a good experience, but then the context changed (the era of free/low prices came) and i stopped selling it.

I used my own website + a paypal button (with an IPN php script) so the handling of the order, of the payment, of the delivery, of the downloadable files was automatic.
I only had to improve/update the product, and to answer to emails (and also to do the marketing)

The cost was around (price*0.034+0.25EUR for paypal fees)+(price*0.14 for taxes in France) so for a price of 10EUR, it would be : 0.59EUR + 1.40EUR = 1.99EUR, so the net that i had in the end was around 8EUR so around 80% -> worth the time/efforts

When i see that the steam store or the gog store already take 30% of your price, and they sometimes do crazy promotions... Is it worth it for small games ?
Let's do the calculation :
(price*0.30 for store fees)+(price*0.14 for taxes in France), so for a price of 10EUR, it would be : 3.00 + 1.40 = 4.40EUR, , so the net that i would have in the end would be around 5.60EUR so around 56% (without considering the money transfer fees from the store to the bank account) -> not sure if it is worth it...

The other thing to consider, when selling a small game, is that some stores offer a "refund without questions asked" if the game has been played less than 1hour or 2hours, and for a small game, this is is just crazy !

Your thoughts ? Your approach ?

(i plan to make a small game but with procedurally generated content, so that there is no end, and it is replayable infinitely)
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Offline degac

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2018, 12:00:57 PM »
Hi

I presume you want to 'sell' via internet and not for mobile (otherwise you should add other costs).
The main 'problem' is the audience: bigger is the download/buy number, bigger the  revenue. So even a 'free' game or 'offer  your price' has no  warranty of results (and maybe  it doesn't cover the transaction costs!)

So, assuming the 'main goal' (marketing, diffusion, etc) there are other 2 solutions: IAP and advertising.

I don't know if IAP solution (ready-to-use) are available for desktop games (unless creating a proper server-based solution, meaning new costs), but I'm quite sure there are some solutions about advertising (ie: at loading, changing level etc, like on some mobile games).

Other 'marketing help' could be the possibility for users to 'swap/change/edit/improve' content: new level, new things to use in your game etc. Maybe the 'basic game' can simply play the 'standard' levels, while the 'active' version can offer to run new levels and the 'builder version' to make the new ones. Basic version should be free, while Active and Builder should be priced.

A mix of the different solutions (IAP, advert, content) could be the solution to 'keep alive' the game and 'make some moneys'.

Personally I think the time for the 'indie-thingy' developer is gone: you need to play (as developer) on big numbers (many new game per year, but there's of course limits!). Otherwise you are a 'big' company and make what 'market' wants: I played Clash Royale, it's a very basic game, so 'boring' (just choose your cards) without a change between a battle and the new one.
It's all based around IAP (new power, upgrade etc).
There's no enjoy in it...

I'm thinking that the future of developer will be a sort of 'work at call': if someone needs a specific routine/fix/program/app/module you will be paid for that. (www.fileship.io)


PS:

if your game is end-less (with procedurally generated content) the IAP solution is not a great idea (or maybe could make the game  a  non-sense).


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Offline Derron

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2018, 12:15:53 PM »
Somewhen people loose interest, does not matter how "procedural" it is, they then just do no longer play the game - nor promote it to others.

There is up to no way to sell as long as you do not have enough buzz for the stuff you want to spread. As degac said the sheer amount of games is burying yours under a shedload of "new today", "hot picks", "user picked" apps.

To create buzz you need at least one thing: luck. There are literally hundreds of indies fighting to get buzz for their upcoming "indie game hit". The smaller the niche the bigger the chance to find some "hardcore fans" (following your publications, helping with game design decisions). But the smaller the niche the smaller the amount of potential customers.
The bigger the niche, the more other games compete with yours.

You might even have bigger chances if you create multiple games - so you always have something "new" around. Collecting some fans here and there - until you reach enough "power"/followers to be auto-recognized by people with some power too (let's players, reviewers...). Think the biggest hurdle is to climb this kind of "power"-steps.

First thing would be to address some fellow coders (who also semi-regularly create stuff) so you cross-promote each others stuff ("Game bla of our fellows at GameCreatorCompany published a new version. Looks awesome with the new feature XYZ"). This increases audience and awareness on facebook, twitter - and maybe even twitch (depends on the games). The more you talk about your and other games, the more active these social media pages place your things on the timelines of others. Means more of their "friends" get to see it. Maybe some of them link it - spreading the word then.

I think it is similar to the claim "you need X people to know everyone on the world" (think it was 8 people or so).


AND .. if you code more than one game, you increase potential audience (not everybody is favoring with arcade games, or solitaire ...).


Once you have the "power" you can really care about Steam and whatsoever - until then it is pure luck to get the audience buzz there.



bye
Ron

Offline RemiD

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2018, 12:31:31 PM »
Quote
Other 'marketing help' could be the possibility for users to 'swap/change/edit/improve' content: new level, new things to use in your game
yes i have already thought about allowing players to add content using scripting (text files), this is a good idea.


Quote
The smaller the niche the bigger the chance to find some "hardcore fans"
I agree, and that's my plan, probably less (or no) competition.


I don't agree with you guys that there is no opportunity anymore... There are always opportunities, it depends on how you approach a "niche", personnaly i know of several subjects which have only a few games and the existing games don't necessarily have the gameplay elements/mechanics wanted by some players, or the graphics are really ugly/weird, or the world is really small/limited, or the game is not available on some machines/OS.

The quantity of others games does not matter if the competition is mediocre... ;D


Quote
First thing would be to address some fellow coders (who also semi-regularly create stuff) so you cross-promote each others stuff
i think that this approach is useless and looks like spam...


I don't need pocket money, but i am curious about what is possible or not... (with a small game with primitive graphics + a one page website (and maybe a simple forum) + a paypal buy now button (and the IPN php script))
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Offline GaborD

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2018, 12:56:26 PM »
Sadly, even with most of the flood being mediocre (I would even say crappy) the numbers still matter.
The more oversaturated the market gets, the less quality matters. Because it becomes all about getting noticed, which is more a function of either having a marketing budget or having your game being built around a funny, stupid, crude or offensive gimmick. Personally, I hate gimmick based game design. No interest in playing a shoddy "for the quick buck" games.

I think your approach of going for a smaller underserved niche is the right one. Yes your potential maximum earning is lower but your chance of getting at least a decent return will be much higher. And quality will actually matter in such a space, which is a good thing that gives you some control over your fate.

I am definitely a potential customer, love well made procedural stuff, looking forward to what you come up with.

Offline Derron

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2018, 01:08:57 PM »
With cross-promote I am not talking about blindly linking to other games.

You "follow" actively your friends/coder-fellows progress and report to your users every friday, or on milestones.
Also you need to make sure that things either fit well (same niche) or fit theme/genre-wise (fantasy - rpg, simulation - strategy, ... graphic styles fit, humor similar, ...). If done "blind" then yes, it would be seen as "spam".

I argued the same as you when it initially came up on "pewn.de" (discussion about how to spread the word for your game).

Think it is at least worth a try. The reach of a facebook post for TVTower is most often <1000 (only have 250+ followers), and the more I posted, the higher the average reach went (else only the "new version release" catch big audiences). Do not assume that all of your users are as tech savvy as we are. There are still a lot of people "consuming what is served". I mean: do you read spam mails? Nope - you don't.
In that "pewn.de"-discussion one explained, that he tweets about certain things multiple times a week. So he repeats(!) stuff - as else it get buried below other tweets. And it seemed to have effect a bit.
Yes, you would annoy people like me  (maybe others here too) who recognize it as "spam behaviour" - but we are not the only potential audience/user group.


For me the "exchange" is of interest as it allows to reach people who are not interested "in the first glance" in my game(s). It is too much "hardcore" (complexity) for nowerdays gamers and its theme is too specific to reach a wider audience. But still people might get intrigued to try - maybe because someone promotes it well ("what fun it was") or they see screenshots of situations I would not create as I have another vision of what is important for the game.




@ Revenue
Regardless of the niche you have the problem of awareness. If nobody knows of what you do, they won't look for it. You cannot live from the suggestions to your buddies who live in the same "circle" as you do (similar or compatible interests, same history of played games, ...). Means the problem of reaching people keeps still the problem to solve first.

bye
Ron

Offline RemiD

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2018, 02:11:15 PM »
Quote
Yes your potential maximum earning is lower but your chance of getting at least a decent return will be much higher. And quality will actually matter in such a space, which is a good thing that gives you some control over your fate.
that's the idea, even if "quality" is a partly subjective appreciation (in terms of graphics style) (i can't imagine having to make meshes/textures/rigging/skinning/animations for a realistic high details graphics style)


Quote
If nobody knows of what you do, they won't look for it. You cannot live from the suggestions to your buddies who live in the same "circle" as you do (similar or compatible interests, same history of played games, ...). Means the problem of reaching people keeps still the problem to solve first.
good luck trying to sell a tv management strategy game to a player who is searching for an action game about exploration and treasure hunting... (=it will not work)
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Offline Derron

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2018, 02:24:04 PM »
I wont sell - it is open source. I just want to "spread the word".


If I would like to sell it, then I would to sell it to people paying Anno-Series, RTS, Manager games - even Soccer Manager games might be suiting target group. Games like "The Movies" might have a shared audience ("movies/tv").
Games who are also remakes/tributes/based-ons of eg. Amiga games - people might have forgotten about the gems of the past, so they might have played it somewhen in the past but already forgotten about it (we talk about 25+ years).


But I got it: you are not interested in it. Nonetheless you should ask your self why you already decline certain ideas before having thought about them (for more than 3 seconds). As said I was talking about cross-promotion on channels suiting to your own stuff. That "suiting" is heavily dependent on the game/project.


bye
Ron

Offline iWasAdam

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2018, 02:27:36 PM »
I think that Derron nailed it with one word: LUCK

It's also about having something that catches a 'wave'. You don't know what will catch, but sometimes stuff just happens.

You can spend all the money you want and still end up with no users, or spend nothing and get 100's, 1,000's or users instantly.

It does seem that in the age of the internet, getting 'noticed' is the first step - so make you game to a good standard in the first place with brilliant gameplay/operation that speaks to the target audience.

Then make sure that 'with one glance', your audience knows what it is about.

Offline RemiD

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2018, 04:44:08 PM »
Quote
But I got it: you are not interested in it.
i was not talking about me and i have nothing against your game, my point was that it is easier to convert somebody who is already searching for a game about a specific subject or with a specific gameplay rather than to spam everybody who does not care about the subject, the gameplay or even games !!! (on social websites or on youtube or on forums)
 
I have already tried different marketing approaches when i was trying to make my infoproduct known by potential buyers, and i know that some practices are appreciated or tolerated, but some are not calibrated and are annoying and are considered as spam...


Quote
You can spend all the money you want and still end up with no users, or spend nothing and get 100's, 1,000's or users instantly.
that's why i want to focus on making "small" games
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Offline Derron

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2018, 05:25:24 PM »
Seems I must repeat myself again: You do not "spam" about friendly projects. No "advertisement bullsh*t". YOU write about the other projects. YOU know what might your fans interest in other projects. And similar stuff is done on the other project's social media channels.


The main reason is that "posting very often" helps getting flooded into other channels ("you might be interested in"). Or to be listed in the "latest topics"-sections. Of course you should not do it more than "tolerateable" (this of course depends on the target audience).


Also do not forget: most consumers forget about "spam" earlier than they forget about a spammly-advertised but "interesting" game. So you might remember the games you played but you wont remember on all games where you read/heared of the first time. Maybe it is a similar stuff than "brand awareness".




@ nothing against your game
I did not try to express that. I just was talking about "nay saying" to the proposed idea of "social media advertising/reports" (you name it "spam") without thinking about the risks and potential for more than 3 minutes.
Especially "gamers" - and maybe "casual gamers" even more, are used to see games advertised here and there. It's less "spam" than advertising for fishing baits in a sewing-circle.


I would describe it as "color outside the lines" or "think outside the box". People are aware that there is more than just your game existing on the world. If you are able to give them "likeable" side-facts, stories, tips to other interesting projects, then they wont argue about it.
Of course don't overdo it as you will loose previously gained trust. So only do it for projects you really like, are maybe interested in too (assuming your game is created on your view to the world, the players might share your vision - and so your general interests).




bye
Ron

Offline RemiD

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2018, 05:51:10 PM »
@Derron>>we don't have exactly the same strategies simply because we don't have the same habits and experiences. That's why it is interesting to exchange ideas...
Personally i don't go on social websites so i don't know... But i often go on forums or on video websites.
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Offline Derron

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2018, 06:37:24 PM »
I am also not into "social media" - just do not understand what's so interesting in posting personal life stuff, "latest thoughts in 120 chars", "instagram stories". Maybe I am a bit too old for it or so.
BUT ... there are plenty of people doing it, and ignoring them is nothing to desire.

See: I have people regularily visiting the forum in which we discuss about TVTower. They are not that much and discussions are often only done between 3-4 people. Then I post news on facebook (and auto-repost this link the non twitter). Within seconds or minutes I receive the first likes for this post - and sometimes even small textual responses (also not that often). I see increase in download count then. Do I understand why I should "like" a simple announcement? Nope I don't. But these people like it. So I also have to trust others who are a bit more active on the social media and suggested things to me.

As said, today's youth/teens-and-"tweens" enjoy watching how other people play games (twitch, let's play). We need to "adapt" to that behaviour if we want to reach them too.


bye
Ron

Offline RemiD

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2018, 09:27:23 PM »
Quote
today's youth/teens-and-"tweens" enjoy watching how other people play games (twitch, let's play). We need to "adapt" to that behaviour if we want to reach them too.
teenagers usually don't have a bank card or a paypal account, they are pirates, i don't want to reach them ;)


One more reason to distribute my game on my own website is that i can make games for adults... (i don't want to traumatize the fragile minds)
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Offline degac

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Re: Ways to sell a game on the interweb
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2018, 11:44:46 AM »
(i don't want to traumatize the fragile minds)


If they are already on FB/Pinterest/Instagram et simila their minds are already gone :)

If there's a problem, there's at least one solution.
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