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how to forecast how a game will make?


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#1 red_codec   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:22 PM

Hi folks. I'm really curious, how do you forecast the profitability of a game? I'm refering to a browser based game that sells in game cash item. And I mean precisely how do I go about forecasting the sales revenue a game like that will make? I have been told to look at the sales similar games in the genre and industry make and to use them as a benchmark. However i can't find the sales figure of similar games anywhere, similar games exist but they don't publicize their revenue earnings. How then do you go about getting an accurate estimate of a game's potential earnings?

 

Sorry obviously an amateur here, would appreciate some help please thank you.



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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10163

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 09:42 PM

This is not a Breaking In question. Moving it to Business.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10674

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:45 AM

I've used a number of methods in the past to do that, but all of them, no matter how elaborate, are highly inaccurate. The reason for this is that, at any given point, you have to compare the game you have in hand with something that's out in the market right now.

Here's where you'll err:

 

- Do you REALLY know how much they are making? (Are you sure their numbers are accurate? Were they trying to prove a point?) - I tend to aim 10-20% lower

- They are out RIGHT NOW, and you are NOT. Not only did they pick up on the wave before you did (which means your game will be deja vu to a lot of potential players) but they also came out in a different time period, which inherently means the market was in a different position. If there's a big tower defense frenzy, you can bet there will be more in the couple of following weeks/months, which means, if you plan to release then, you might get swarmed and come up at the botom, unnoticed. Consider the delay between the data you have on a given product and your estimated time to market as you do this. The faster you can react, the better you can earn.

- Possibly, your reference game is not "like" your game. This introduces a lot of risk: people might "get" it, or not. If they do, they might "like" it or not. All the more reasons to increase or decrease their sales

- Can you spend as much money on marketing as the base game? Can you get better/worse exposure? Can you hit the best platforms to reach your audiences? Are these different from your reference game? Is the art style more or less appealing to certain crowds?

- Are you a good judge of your own product's level of quality?

 

In brief, nothing you wouldn't already know if you have created a persona.



#4 red_codec   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 05:37 PM

Hi orymus3, 

 

Many thanks for your answer. No one else else offered one! 



#5 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22779

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 12:09 PM

Hi folks. I'm really curious, how do you forecast the profitability of a game? I'm refering to a browser based game that sells in game cash item. And I mean precisely how do I go about forecasting the sales revenue a game like that will make? I have been told to look at the sales similar games in the genre and industry make and to use them as a benchmark. However i can't find the sales figure of similar games anywhere, similar games exist but they don't publicize their revenue earnings. How then do you go about getting an accurate estimate of a game's potential earnings?

 

Sorry obviously an amateur here, would appreciate some help please thank you.

 

It is a chicken-and-egg problem.

 

It should be part of your business plan.  Hoping to release a single product one time and getting rich is not a business plan.

 

You need numbers for very similar items.  Numbers are a trade secret.  So you need to get some numbers for your first product and apply to them to your second product or updates to the product.

 

 

At the moment you have no established brand.  You have no established user base.  You also probably have no marketing budget.  

 

This one is easy and common:  No established brand + no userbase + no marketing ~= 0 users.

 

So you need to use marketing to expand both your user base and to establish your brand.  Track what happens, and you establish your own metrics.   Do something.  (Probably do some marketing.  Possibly expand your existing product or release a new product.)  Measure; how much did it improve your user base or brand awareness?  If not, do something different.  Repeat and tune as long as you remain in business.


Edited by frob, 09 April 2013 - 12:11 PM.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#6 C0lumbo   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2500

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:25 AM

A spreadsheet like this might help: http://www.gamesbrief.com/2011/10/the-gamesbrief-free-to-play-game-forecasting-spreadsheet-can-improve-the-revenue-of-your-game/

 

Instead of guesstimating total revenue, you work on your key indicators instead, some of which you might be able to make reasonably good guesses about, and others will be less predictable. It also helps that you're more likely to be able to find monthly active user data for a similar product than you are to find monthly revenue data.



#7 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10674

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 05:07 AM

This one is easy and common: No established brand + no userbase + no marketing ~= 0 users.

 

You can also get lucky or have a high profile personality.

I know Edmund McMillen didn't make money out of his initial games, nor did he probably advertise them, nor did he stick to a brand, nor could he easily transfer his userbase from game to game, but he certainly came up with a colorful personality that really helped create two major successes (Super Meat Boy & The Binding of Isaac).

I'd recommend having a look at Indie Game: The Movie to get a better understanding on how he has achieved this (That movie looks at 3 different independant efforts that have had an important impact on indie game development, and Super Meat Boy is discussed here and there, offering insight into their production environment and mindset).






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