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Prerelease info/advertising an indie game


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#1 Pleistorm   Members   -  Reputation: 148

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:19 AM

Hi.

I am developing a game and I hope it will be ready soon. A question is in my mind: should I make a pre-release info? I saw a lot of advertising of big games, exactly games of big companies. Some of them are doing this years before the game is released (or planned to be released). This results in a crowd of gamers expecting something and their appetite is raising over the time. I saw also some indie developers doing that.

I am anxious about doing this because there is no way back once it started. Lets say game screenshots will give enough info for some original game aspects which could be stolen - could they once I made this like prerelease info?

In other hand I am totally exausted and cant share any info for years except with some people far away from this or some small pictures with some others. 

And also I dont know what is better when it is released. No doubt the most important thing is to be good quality, yes... But still I cant decide. I hope it is clear.

 

 



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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19056

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 04:34 PM

The games that are announced years in advance are projects that often cost hundreds of millions of dollars on the bottom line.  The announcements they make at E3 and other shows are a small part of an advertising budget that likely runs into the $30M-$50M range over the project's lifetime.  A single one-week advertising blitz can easily cost $5M by itself, and those games run several multi-week ad campaigns.

 

These games run on a cycle of a very short spike of millions of sales, dropping rapidly to a trickle of sales over the months that follow.  Their market strategy is a sudden fireball, and if they don't sell enough copies during the first few weeks they will likely take a big loss.

 

Obviously you are not part of such a project.

 

Small projects tend to start slow and stay slow. You are more likely interested in a slow burn: a few hundred or even a few thousand sales per month, every month, for several years.

 

As part of your business plan you should already know your target customers, and know and understand how you intend to bring your game to market.  Exactly how you intend to market your game is up to you. It is probably the most important part of your business plan.

 

If you are one of the many developers whose business plan is:

 

1: Develop game

2: ???

3: Profit!

 

I suggest you stop developing your game and figure out the details of step 2.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#3 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1722

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:42 AM

I concur with Frob.

 

I struggled with the same question when releasing my own small, indy game (Ear Monsters).  I opted to hold back until the game was completely finished and ready to submit to the app store.

The last thing you want to do is create some "pre release buzz" and then end up slipping your schedule and not releasing on time.

The exception was the web site.  You probably want to get that up and running in advance of your release to give time for the search engines to index your site.  In my case, I put little tidbits about the game there, along with keywords and phrases for Google; but since the info was never 'announced', no (human) really picked it up (until I later announced).

 

Unless you have a sustained PR and advertising campaign, most folks will probably hear about your game once and once only (presumably when you do some marketing at the time you release).  That's when you're most likely to make the sale.  If they hear about your game, click on it and can't buy it, you are now counting on being able to reach that person again, when the game is actually released.

 

Regardless of which way you decide to go, make sure your decision is based on a solid marketing plan, not on impatience to get people to hear about your game.  (I was VERY tempted by impatience--it's very natural to want to get the ball rolling!).  Do you believe that pre-releasing information will make more people buy your game than if you just announce on release?  If the answer is no, there's your answer.

 

There are certainly folks who believe in 'pre-market hyping' even for small indy games (here's one such viewpoint).  One thing to keep in mind.  Marketing takes time and effort (making videos, engaging with web sites, bloggers..keeping the hype pipeline "fresh" and growing).  If you decided to do it, you should be prepared for the time and effort it takes (time and effort you will spend not making your game better)...


Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant


#4 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1722

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 04:44 PM

As an update, I chatted briefly with a friend of mine who does PR for AAA games and asked him what he thought.  Disclaimer that this is only one person's opinion.

 

He doesn't get why a small indy game would do 'pre-sales' buzz marketing at all for a couple reasons, relating to why AAA games do do it.

-- AAA games want to generate pre-orders.  So there is a whole campaign to get to buy the game ahead of time in order to make the "24 hour sales" numbers as high as possible.  All pre-sales #'s are included when a company reports how much money the game made on 'launch day'

-- AAA games are competing for $60 with direct competitors.  i.e. it's FPS C fs FPS B.  Pre-sales hype is an attempt to take market share from specific competitors

-- AAA games may do pre-sale hype in conjunction with platform holders for their mutual benefit

-- AAA games have active communities and channels to their customers, staffed full-time with 'community managers'.

-- AAA games can induce additional sales with pre-sale buzz by offering enhanced versions, which carry much higher profit margins.

-- And of course, in the physical media space, you have inventory risk, so you really need to move as much product as you can as quickly as you can.

 

Most of those don't apply to indy games, which is why he was scratching his head why a small, resource-constrained company would see the benefit of it for a new title. (sequels he thought might be a different story, but he was thinking more generic 'pre-game hype' than 'community building of an existing property')

 

Brian


Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant


#5 Pleistorm   Members   -  Reputation: 148

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 07:53 AM

Thank you. Apparently there will be no pre-release info.






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