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#123735 - 01/21/03 04:34 PM Odd game marketing question
Skcull Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 11/21/99
Posts: 14
Loc: cordova
Having published a game, it is my experience that retail stores are king. However, over the next year, would there be any interest from the gaming community to purchase "chapters" for, say, $2 or $3 per chapter until the full game is complete? It's almost the same as waiting for the next season of your favorite tv show.
thoughts?
Comments?
Troyan Turner
The Danse Macabre Multimedia

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#123736 - 01/21/03 05:02 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
Witchen Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 22381
Loc: Seattle Washington USA
Hi Troyan.............Great idea!
I'd be the first one to hop on that bandwagon! smile

Success of this idea might likely depend on the overall quality and length of the first issue.....first impressions count big time, as I'm sure you're very much aware! And, it might be nice to know how many installments are planned ahead of time, too.

Regards, Witchen

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#123737 - 01/21/03 05:20 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
Jenny Offline
Grande Olde Dame
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 12/04/99
Posts: 31223
Loc: Northwestern New Mexico, USA
This is the way that Valhalla has been marketed. I think they are on episode six of a projected twelve all together. You pay for the episode and then download it to your computer--after that it's not necessary to be on the Net to play...
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#123738 - 01/21/03 05:45 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
fov Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 12/28/01
Posts: 2964
Loc: San Francisco
isn't this also how the ladystar game is being done?

i'd just be worried about whether the game would ever get finished. i remember when stephen king started selling chapters of a book online, and then wasn't motivated to finish writing the book...

-emily

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#123739 - 01/21/03 06:12 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
BillyBob Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 7858
Loc: North Florida
fov (emily) said it before I could. What's to say those who buy a few chapters are not going to see the game finished because there wasn't enough sold.......or the people making the game lost interest and decided to do something different?

I have a scanner I bought some time ago but it still works fine. Went to the maker's site one time and it said they had all gone to Hawaii. Never saw them again.
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#123740 - 01/21/03 06:13 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
gremlin Offline

Addicted Boomer

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1613
Loc: Isle of Man
Quote:
Originally posted by fov:
isn't this also how the ladystar game is being done?
Yes.

[quote]i'd just be worried about whether the game would ever get finished.
If this is intended to be a method to get funding to complete the game by selling an incomplete story, I not sure I really see it working very well. (of course I may well be very wrong) smile

How much does it cost to process a $2 or $3 credit card transaction?

It is true that the really big businesses make their money by repeat sales (so, lots and lots of sales of small increments sounds good), but they don't rely on a relatively small market place... look at McDonald's... loads of outlets, small margins, but millions of sales.

To be honest, I don't know how McD's does it, because the food is dreadful (question: does McD's sell food at all?)... and I would expect them to have trouble getting repeat business. I suspect, however, it is because you can rely on McD's to be the same 'food' worldwide, making it an easy choice, rather than a good one.

Anyway, back to the point. Are you going to be able to create a game that draws people in strongly enough to make them want to buy 36 episodes over (let us say) 12 months? To do this, surely you need a game that has at least 4-6 hours play per episode, and you'll need the majority of the episodes ready at 'go live' so that the power gamers (like 'boomers who spend 6-10 hours gaming per week (or more)) will keep your game on their radar long enough to buy subsequent episodes.

This is a bk**dy big commitment for you as a developer & publisher... but if you can do it, it could be awesome!

Good luck,
The Gremlin.

p.s. I know this is a bit unfocused and rambling, but it's late here just now. wink

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#123741 - 01/21/03 07:47 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
mszv Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/18/02
Posts: 1565
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA (left my bel...
Hi,
I'd be willing to give it a go if I really liked the game. I'm eagerly reading the installments of Broken Saints, an animated graphic novel, but then again, Broken Saints is free.

My big concern would be whether the game was going to be finished. If I was concerned enough, I would not buy the chapters until I saw that the game was far enough along that you would complete it.
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#123742 - 01/21/03 10:19 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
fanatic Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 307
Same Troyan who posted on the DC website about making further installments of The Forgotten?

If you decide to go that route, make sure it is priced accordingly. If the overall price is more than the game, as a whole, you may get some upset customers.

I'm still for the other 6 installments if you're still contemplating the idea.

Good luck.


fanatic

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#123743 - 01/21/03 10:32 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
Jenny100 Online   content
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35225
Loc: southeast USA
How big would the downloads be?
How long would the chapters be?

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#123744 - 01/21/03 11:48 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
Skcull Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 11/21/99
Posts: 14
Loc: cordova
Yes, I am the original developer of The Forgotten. I've spent a lot of time talking to Dreamcatcher about obtaining the rights to finish the series and they see it as more of a hassle than it would be worth at this point. They are very interested to see my other idea when it is ready.
Depending on what online option and what bank you partner with, it could be profitable to venture to sell in chapters.
As far as buying something that might not be finished, all I can say is doing another game is a passion. Also, let's say you buy 3 chapters and are satisfied, but for some reason the game will not be finished. You're only out $9. What's the difference, monetarily speaking, if the chapters were worth $3 a piece?
Be aware, I'm an avid gamer myself, but once you step into a developer's shoes, its hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes, so I'm not being adversarial in any way, just curious the mindset of the gaming community.
Thanks again for all of your support and responses
Troyan Turner
The Danse Macabre Multimedia

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#123745 - 01/22/03 12:06 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Skcull Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 11/21/99
Posts: 14
Loc: cordova
Another thing is we could publish the chapters and they will be playable entirely online. Saving, acct info, everything is in your acct online. If anyone finds a bug, we can fix it for everyone instantly. Plus there is Paypal. You could either pay by the chapter or have a monthly or yearly subscription.
This is all just brainstorming, but it is all doable. Pretty unprecidented (sp). I love it!
Thoughts?
Troyan

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#123746 - 01/22/03 12:11 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Skcull Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 11/21/99
Posts: 14
Loc: cordova
Sorry everyone, my brain is whizzing now. We would probably give the first chapter away for free, since this is pushing the envelope. If we sell you on the first chapter, everything after that is pay by chapter or subscription.

thoughts?

Troyan

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#123747 - 01/22/03 12:26 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
taf4 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 06/29/01
Posts: 352
Loc: Michigan
At $3 a chapter?!?!? who wouldn't buy it? That's NOTHING.. I think the big concern would be TRUST in having people give their money out.. That would be the only obstacle.. so the site would have to look SLEEK. And having the first episode free would also do that..

Also, personally, I would rather have the computer on all night downlaoding than having to wait significant amounts of time for the next screen to load..

Just some thoughts smile

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#123748 - 01/22/03 12:41 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10308
I think the downloadable chapters at 3.00 per episode is fine. I would prefer downloadable chapters or at least optional downloads. I just like having it on my HD. I will play games online if there is no other way and it's good like Arcane and The Miller Estate, but if I am going to pay for something I like to have it.

I don't think you have to give away a full episode to create interest - a nice decent length demo will do that nicely.

One suggestion is it is nice to have downloads available in separate files to ease the pain of a long download time for the many out there who don't have high speed access and have to limp along at standard modem snail rates.

I would certainly be interested in whatever you come up with, as long as it is a solid adventure title with cool plots like The Forgotten. Still sad that we never saw the rest of that series frown

Laura
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#123749 - 01/22/03 12:56 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
fanatic Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 307
For me, I have never been a fan of online gaming. I prefer single-player environments, or LAN multi-play.

If you are left with no other option than to release as an online download (I believe the Siege of Avalon game was distributed like this until the company released all the mini games as a whole in a retail box), definitely make the download sizes reasonable. For those on dialup (or those, like myself, who have terrible ISPs - I have Adelphia broadband and get severe packetloss, etc), connecting to a site to pay online may be a bad option. Of the choices presented, I'd rather see you did waht the makers of Siege of Avalon did. They released the game in chapters (6 total, I believe.. not certain though). Once they got enough money together, they bundled the chapters into a single retail box.

Perhaps you could take the sales records to DreamCatcher and they may publish an anthology to comprise the 2nd game of the series which can be sold in retail stores. Just make sure to add bonus content (added levels) on the retail version not available for download. If you don't do this, people will most likely stick to the downloads and DreamCatcher won't bother with the project. At the very least, if sales are bad for the Anthology of chapters, a 2nd game will have been made in the series.

Lots of options to pursue. Thanks for your interest in continuing the series.

Good luck.


fanatic

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#123750 - 01/22/03 12:57 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Skcull Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 11/21/99
Posts: 14
Loc: cordova
The downside to making the chapters downloadable is piracy. Once you have it residing and running on your hard drive, there is very little a developer can do to stop you from giving it away en masse. That's why games nowadays require the cd to be in the drive. If there is anything significant to download in the online version, it will stream. So, you may have to wait for some things, you won't have to wait for all.

Also, the next title in line is every bit as cool as Forgotten if not more so. And, never say never. The world may some day see The Forgotten series completed.
Troyan

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#123751 - 01/22/03 01:09 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Skcull Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 11/21/99
Posts: 14
Loc: cordova
you are absolutely right, fanatic. Just to clear things up, this is not an option for The Forgotten series at this point. this is for a completely different game.

Many options. I'll keep everyone posted

Thanks again

Troyan

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#123752 - 01/22/03 01:10 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
fanatic Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 307
Yes, piracy is a problem. However, as far as I know, there has never been a protection scheme made that has not been reverse engineered.

Ultimately, a better option may be for customers to connect to your server and run the installation from the server to their machine (remote install). So, the customer could play the game without worrying about phone calls, packetloss, et cetera. This would be a better option, and you could monitor accounts to verify that customers are not sharing. Also, you would save a bundle on running servers and time answering complaint e-mails regarding latency issues. And think of the I.T. fees.

Just a thought.


fanatic

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#123753 - 01/22/03 03:44 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
gremlin Offline

Addicted Boomer

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1613
Loc: Isle of Man
Quote:
Originally posted by Skcull:
Another thing is we could publish the chapters and they will be playable entirely online. Saving, acct info, everything is in your acct online.
There are online adventures like this (although free at the moment - I used to have a link to one where you're searching for jewels on various islands). However the big disadvantage to this kind of game is the fact that you have to remain dialed-up throughout! (However, if broadband grows to decent levels, this problem will be overcome)

Quote:
Plus there is Paypal. You could either pay by the chapter or have a monthly or yearly subscription.
There are risks associated with PayPal it seems, but the idea is close. Subscriptions are the most revenue secure method of getting payment (no decision to buy each chapter, the user has already committed).

Ta-ra,
The Gremlin.

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#123754 - 01/22/03 06:51 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Howard the Doc Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 368
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I like the idea. I'm playing Valhalla. The first one was free and enticed me to buy the rest as they became available. But each episode was a long game and more than worth the $2-$3 per episode (thank you Paul Carrington). As they say in the drug trade, "the first one's free to get you hooked" and if we GBs are not addicts I don't know what we are! Hey, we've finally found something that's fun that is not illegal or fattening (no munching over the keyboard!!). ANYWAY, I would love to play a first free episode and go from there. I would also enjoy the ability to email you to provide feedback and ideas (unsolicited and without a fee of course...).
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Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine - J.B.S. Haldane
--------------------------------
Games will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no games.

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#123755 - 01/22/03 09:26 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Singer Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/04/01
Posts: 2521
I've never claimed to represent the masses, but just so you get at least some feedback from the naysayers, I wouldn't download episodes.

It's not the money, the download factor, or the possibility that the game would never be finished. It's the fact that I can't stand serials. You're right, Troyan, it's like waiting for the new season of your favourite show. The problem is, waiting isn't fun. WATCHING (in this case PLAYING) is fun.

Personally, I'd wait until I could either buy the whole kit 'n kaboodle commercially (if it got picked up by a publisher), or even download them together once the series is finished so I could play it as a cohesive story.

And most importantly, the fact that....

TO BE CONTINUED
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#123756 - 01/22/03 09:43 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
MacDee Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 06/06/99
Posts: 14887
Loc: Battle Creek, Michigan
Quote:
It's not the money, the download factor, or the possibility that the game would never be finished. It's the fact that I can't stand serials. You're right, Troyan, it's like waiting for the new season of your favourite show. The problem is, waiting isn't fun. WATCHING (in this case PLAYING) is fun.
I have to agree with Jack. I never watch shows on TV that have part one and part two either. I also agree with Laura on wanting to have the tangible CD. wink I don't play online games, well with the exception of Faradise, but I believe I'm in the minority here. wink

Just my 2 cents....

~Dee

As for The Forgotten, I loved it! happydance I hope you will make a lengthy sequel.

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#123757 - 01/22/03 10:31 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Skcull Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 11/21/99
Posts: 14
Loc: cordova
Unfortunately, there will be no solution that pleases everybodybody. I'm sure there will be no problem selling the game to Dreamcatcher, however, these games take a long time to complete and, on the first title, the money has to come from somewhere. Sort of a catch 22.
Troyan

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#123758 - 01/22/03 10:51 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Howard the Doc Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 368
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Skcull - I think Singer and MacDee need some training in delaying gratification. Bring on the episodes! (You guys must not watch "24" if you can't stand episodes. That's a great show!).
_________________________
Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine - J.B.S. Haldane
--------------------------------
Games will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no games.

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#123759 - 01/22/03 08:31 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
SirDave Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 174
Skcull:
I have a brand new boxed copy of The Forgotten sitting on my shelf. As you know, a lot of people were very disappointed that the rest of the 'series' couldn't be completed because The Forgotten showed so much promise.

You are obviously one talented dude and I'd love to see what you could come up with (like how about 'completing' The Forgotten). However, I'm against the 'payment by chapter' premise- I just wouldn't want to invest time and money on a project that might be dumped midway thru. But I sure would buy any completed game you came up with; if Michael Clark can do it, I bet you, with all your experience, could to!

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#123760 - 01/23/03 01:59 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Advpuzlov Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 06/05/99
Posts: 2027
Loc: USA
I think the whole idea of downloaded chapters results from the desire (necessity) of having some income while writing a full length game. Myself, I would at least consider buying chapters, but only if at the end I could have sent to me an honest to goodness DVD (preferably) or the required number of CD's for the entire game. I'm not about to rely on my hard drive to preserve anything.

There is another possibility. I have a CD writer on my HP Pavilion. If the downloads (which I have trouble with because I am with AOL and on an ordinary telephone line modem and have memory problems) could be in such a fashion that everything necessary for installation could be in one folder, so I could copy it onto a CD for preservation, then that might work for me. Of course, the fact that I wouldn't make multiple copies and sell them to my neighbors, doesn't mean that some sneaky rascal might not.

Maybe you could send an installation CD which would need to be in place before the downloaded installments could be run to give you more security. Then, when all the chapters are finished, you could send those gamers who supported you all the way, a nice DVD with the whole game, perhaps for a little extra charge.

Difficulties abound for game developers. I sympathize. It's a tough life all over. laugh
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#123761 - 01/23/03 08:18 AM Re: Odd game marketing question
Ladybug Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 644
Loc: New York
Hi,

I would prefer a game that I can just go out and buy or order on the internet. Some stores will even let you return them (not many) if there is a problem. I like to know in advance what I'm getting. I also have dial up and this would be too slow for me. Also when buying the whole game you can always trade it later on if you wish.
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Ladybug

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#123762 - 01/23/03 02:59 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
Jenny100 Online   content
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35225
Loc: southeast USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Skcull:
Also, let's say you buy 3 chapters and are satisfied, but for some reason the game will not be finished. You're only out $9. What's the difference, monetarily speaking, if the chapters were worth $3 a piece?
Because adventure games are largely about story these days. And a story should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Would you want to buy a book if it might just stop sometime in the middle? With serial stories in magazines, you were always assured that the next issue would come out. But that isn't the way with computer games. Sometimes the next game in the series is years away (as with Monkey Island 2 and 3) or may never come at all. Because of past experience some gamers are going to be hesitant about starting a serial game because they'd fear they'll never see the ending.

One thing that might make some difference is a schedule. How much time do you think would elapse between episodes? The more frequently the episodes came out the more likely it would be for people to play it. If you had a new episode every month you'd probably attract more interest than if you had a new episode every year.

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#123763 - 01/23/03 10:13 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
fov Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 12/28/01
Posts: 2964
Loc: San Francisco
Quote:
As far as buying something that might not be finished, all I can say is doing another game is a passion. Also, let's say you buy 3 chapters and are satisfied, but for some reason the game will not be finished. You're only out $9. What's the difference, monetarily speaking, if the chapters were worth $3 a piece?
for me, the difference is that i've invested time and money into something i may not be able to see through to completion. plus, i tend (or try, anyway) not to buy a game until i've heard some feedback / read some reviews. so my inclination would probably be to not spend money on it until all the chapters had been released and i heard from others how they liked the experience.

however, i might be more apt to participate if i knew that the game had already been completed (it was just being released in stages), and if the entire thing had been preleased to reviewers so they could play through and give an opinion on the entire package.

i am not familiar with The Forgotten... but if Jane Jensen were to release a GK game in chapters, i'd probably go for it. just because i already know i love her work. if The Forgotten has as loyal a fan base, you probably have a leg up.


-emily

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#123764 - 01/23/03 10:39 PM Re: Odd game marketing question
heavycat Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 184
I have a brand new boxed copy of The Forgotten sitting on my shelf. As you know, a lot of people were very disappointed that the rest of the 'series' couldn't be completed because The Forgotten showed so much promise.

Such an ironic name...
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Heavy Cat Multimedia Ltd.
www.ladystar.net - Your Magical and Mysterious Adventure Awaits
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