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researching how profitable a game idea is?

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How should I go about researching game idea's? For example I have an idea X and would like to know: Will people enjoy playing the game? What group of people will be interested? How marketable is it? How much it might cost to make? How feasible? ... and more questions related to how profitable the game idea would be. Thank you

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With just an "idea" and nothing related to implementation you can't really get the kind of solid information you're looking for. You can conduct focus groups, buy market research, all that kind of crud, but those things required an implementation, some kind of prototype, to be useful. People will respond to an abstract concept in various ways that will not necessarily correlate to how they would respond to an implementation of that idea.

Profitability is especially a hit-or-miss number. Just because focus groups like it doesn't mean the mass market will, it doesn't mean it will sell. Think about this logically -- if there were a way to ensure that no ideas went into production that did not pass the "sell X million copies" metric, don't you think all the major developers would be using them? The only way to find out, for sure, how much a game idea will sell is to implement that idea and sell the implementation.

The details of the common method used to research the viability of a game implementation are business subject matter, so I'm kicking this over to the business and law forum.

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Ideas in itself aren't worth anything, since they don't do anything.

For everything else, these are the topics covered by various business courses, as well as marketing and economic studies.

The most valuable information however comes from people who actually do this kind of stuff, and they will most definitely not be sharing it, since it's often their competitive edge.

But for most of the questions you have, there is no answer:
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Will people enjoy playing the game?
Execution here is just as important as idea, and even the most flawless execution frequently doesn't deliver.
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What group of people will be interested?
If you don't know that, and aren't targeting a demographic from start, then the only way to find out is to build it, show it, and see who likes it.
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How much it might cost to make?
It can be free, or cost tens of millions. There is no direct correlation between investement and return. If anything, you should be worrying about ROI.
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How feasible?
If happen you live in middle of desert with no electricity and running water and no contact with rest of the world, then the answer is - not feasible. If you're prodige in EA with large budget at disposal, then very feasible. Again - it depends.
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to how profitable the game idea would be
Idea is worth nothing at all with one exception. If you manage to patent your idea, and someone builds a game based on it, then you can, perhaps, under some laws, license it. But I believe that most concepts applicable to such ideas cannot be effectively patented.

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Games that are very similar on paper can be hugely different in popularity. So if your game has all the features of COD4, it could still suck.

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"plex" wrote:
>How should I go about researching game idea's?

You're under the misconception that all this stuff is knowable. You're wrong. This stuff is not knowable.

>For example I have an idea X and would like to know: Will people enjoy playing the game?

Buy a crystal ball at your local neighborhood crystal ball shop (don't buy one online - online crystal ball sellers are all scam artists).

>What group of people will be interested?

This you should be able to figure out for yourself.

>How marketable is it?

Anything is marketable, isn't it? What does this question even mean?

>How much it might cost to make?

That one's easy. Write a full GDD, complete with asset lists. Then any developer can give you an estimate.

>How feasible?

Everything is feasible, isn't it? What does this question even mean?

>... and more questions related to how profitable the game idea would be.

Crystal ball.

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In terms of an idea, it's pretty much up in the air. As people said, ideas by themselves are worthless. However, if you can put together a budget and a team, you can do some fairly accurate research.

Do research into previous sales. Compare your game's budget with other games of its genre - this information will be hard to find, especially for low budget games, but there is a lot to be found.. Compare your marketing budget with that of other games. I recommend starting at Gamasutra. Keep in mind the history of these games - which magazines wrote about them before/after they were released, and how much they wrote, etc.

Also keep in mind the power of brands. Blizzard could release a game that no critic gave more than 50% to, and still make millions, while for a new company, even having your game get reviews of 75% could put it out of business.

Also, be sure to keep in mind the maturity of the market. If you make an above average FPS, people will buy it - there are a lot of FPS fans, and an FPS has a minimal time commitment. Making anything but an excellent turn based strategy game might give you more problems, since there are a few very well established franchises (ie. Civilization), and the time commitment is much higher, so players are less tolerant of faults.

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Quote:
Original post by Plex
How should I go about researching game idea's?


I think this is why the movie industry is so heavily formulaic. They realized that they couldn't really go around figuring out how people would react the any movie, so they developed a formula. 1 count love interest. several count sexy actress. 1 or 2 count sexy actor. On and on, things you'll find in every movie.

But, it sounds like you've got something of a gamble, and the responses are that no one can really tell you... Well, I'm not going to be audacious enough to tell you what I think, but if you can produce a product that people enjoy playing without being forced to for several hours, it's at least marketable. If it looks good (artistically AND graphically), it's more marketable, and if you can advertise it, even more so.

But, still, you'd have no idea if it'll sell, so you're faced with the Hollywood movie dilemma: Make something safe, or take a risk?

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Now I better understand that its very difficult to say how well, an idea will perform and requires research. Also a demo/something working is an important.

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Original post by mdkess
In terms of an idea, it's pretty much up in the air. As people said, ideas by themselves are worthless. However, if you can put together a budget and a team, you can do some fairly accurate research.


I'am interested to know more of the different kinds of research that could be done, and perhaps resources to get me started.

Quote:
Original post by mdkess
Do research into previous sales. Compare your game's budget with other games of its genre - this information will be hard to find, especially for low budget games, but there is a lot to be found.. Compare your marketing budget with that of other games. I recommend starting at Gamasutra. Keep in mind the history of these games - which magazines wrote about them before/after they were released, and how much they wrote, etc.


Gamasutra I haven't realized they have business section until now. I've been googling to look for sales of previous games, and found [url "http://www.yougamers.com/news/8547_pc_games_sales_chart/"] yougame [/url]. One question that I have is, how do I know the site is credible?

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Quote:
Original post by Plex
One question that I have is, how do I know the site is credible?


Gamasutra pretty much just publishes company press releases. So they're as credible as their sources. Kind of a weird question anyway: how do you know the New York Times is credible? You don't really; you just trust that a company who's business model is conveying information is probably credible & that millions of people subscribing are probably not all being spoofed.

As far as those charts go, they show up everywhere and are the same on all sites. For stuff like that, they're just publishing press releases and marketing reports by industry groups.

-me

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"plex" wrote:
>I'am interested to know more of the different kinds of research that could be done, and perhaps resources to get me started.

Why don't you just Google/Yahoo/Cuil the term "marketing research."

>Gamasutra I haven't realized they have business section until now. I've been googling to look for sales of previous games, and found ... http://www.yougamers.com/news/8547_pc_games_sales_chart/" ... One question that I have is, how do I know the site is credible?

You're worried about the wrong thing. If they have free data, that's great. Data is expensive! Read my March 2007 column, at http://www.igda.org/columns/gamesgame/gamesgame_Mar07.php

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