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Colton Ramos

An Easier Marketing Target? (Web Games)

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Hello, GameDev.net!

 

A little bit of background:

I've just graduated college and accepted a cozy full-time software engineering job offer for a private (non-gaming) company. While it pays the the bills, I still feel the itch to become a game developer. However, the area I live in has few studios nearby (Kentucky), and I'm hesitant to move away (finances, family, friends, etc.). So, I am thinking of building some hobby games while working full time until I find the courage to start a business or move away.

 

I created an Android game while in college for fun and portfolio fodder (click here). The game served its purpose in displaying my skills and determination to finish a project, but generated no profit. The crushing thing about the release was that the game generated hardly any plays/views at all, despite being free to play. I believe the failure was in poor marketing of an honestly boring/simple game.

 

Now I want to make something more original and edgy, and in a market that is easier to distribute and monetize in. It's not drastically important that I see 100,000 plays or make thousands of dollars off of a game, but I do want people to enjoy the fruits of my labor, and maybe make enough change to cover coffee expenses for the next project.

 

My actual questions:

1. Would deploying a web-game using Unity technology (probably WebGL) on sites such as ArmorGames be an easier target for plays and revenue, given my poor marketing skills?

2. How do sites like https://www.fgl.com/ work, and do they help generate plays and revenue?

3. What are techniques used to market web games (I don't often see web games with their own website, or trailers, etc.)?

4. Any other advice for a game programming wannabe sort of stuck in a rural area?

 

Thank you in advance for your help.

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1. Would deploying a web-game ... be an easier target for plays and revenue, given my poor marketing skills?
 
No.  Unless you are working through an established, popular web site you are likely to see roughly zero visits, except from bots.  
 
If you are working through an established, popular web site you are still unlikely to see anything unless you are one of the handful of major titles they choose to push ... or unless you pay a lot of money for marketing.
 
 
2. How do sites like ... do they help generate plays and revenue?
 
They put your game in a pool along with tens of thousands of others, and then a small number get some interest by companies occasionally.  There's a roughly 99.9% chance yours will stagnate.  If you are "lucky" someone will contact you asking to do work for a few cents per hour.
 
 
3. What are techniques used to market web games?
 
Marketing is a huge topic. Think back to the games you have actually heard about, then think about where you heard about them.  
 
For major games, the marketing budget often matches the development cost.  If you spend $30M developing a game, you spend another $30M marketing the game.
 
 
 
4. Any other advice for a game programming wannabe sort of stuck in a rural area?
 
Move.  Really.
 
If you cannot get a job in your chosen field, get a job in a related field. 
Edited by frob

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1. Would deploying a web-game ... be an easier target for plays and revenue, given my poor marketing skills?
 
No.  Unless you are working through an established, popular web site you are likely to see roughly zero visits, except from bots.  
 
If you are working through an established, popular web site you are still unlikely to see anything unless you are one of the handful of major titles they choose to push ... or unless you pay a lot of money for marketing.
 
 
2. How do sites like ... do they help generate plays and revenue?
 
They put your game in a pool along with tens of thousands of others, and then a small number get some interest by companies occasionally.  There's a roughly 99.9% chance yours will stagnate.  If you are "lucky" someone will contact you asking to do work for a few cents per hour.
 
 
3. What are techniques used to market web games?
 
Marketing is a huge topic. Think back to the games you have actually heard about, then think about where you heard about them.  
 
For major games, the marketing budget often matches the development cost.  If you spend $30M developing a game, you spend another $30M marketing the game.
 
 
 
4. Any other advice for a game programming wannabe sort of stuck in a rural area?
 
Move.  Really.
 
If you cannot get a job in your chosen field, get a job in a related field. 

 

 

Sorry about the off-topic question, thank you both for your feedback. 

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You cannot escape marketing. You can't. If you are going solo, There is no path you can take where you can dedicate all your time to development. However, I believe that if you approach this problem with the same determination you put into finishing the project, you'll find that it breaks down into smaller problems just like development does. Do your homework- pick a market and make games for it, or look at your games and figure out who they are for. Find where those people are- make personal connections with your intended audience via forums, social media, a website/blog, email list. Keep it small, keep it short, keep it good quality, keep it personal. Do it long enough, you WILL build that starting audience no matter what portal/platform you choose to go after.

 

Forget about revenue until you have that basic audience to sell to. You may still want to monetize from the start as a form of practice, or just so that it isn't a surprise to your audience that your products have ads/IAP But seeing actual money come out of your games will take a while- even if you pour money as well as time into it.

If you just want to make games and not deal with the long haul marketing strategy all by yourself, you will have to move and get a position at an established game dev company.

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webGL export feature of Unity is said to be bulky and not very good in performance terms especially at mobile. You may stick with Unity (if you have future multi platform plans) or may consider a webGL framework like Babylon.js / Three.js etc. as well. You may also prefer canvas based HTML5 games, actually maybe monthly income reports of Valhalla (such as http://www.truevalhalla.com/blog/online-income-report-041-september-2015 ) may give some clue.

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You cannot escape marketing. You can't. If you are going solo, There is no path you can take where you can dedicate all your time to development. However, I believe that if you approach this problem with the same determination you put into finishing the project, you'll find that it breaks down into smaller problems just like development does. Do your homework- pick a market and make games for it, or look at your games and figure out who they are for. Find where those people are- make personal connections with your intended audience via forums, social media, a website/blog, email list. Keep it small, keep it short, keep it good quality, keep it personal. Do it long enough, you WILL build that starting audience no matter what portal/platform you choose to go after.

 

Forget about revenue until you have that basic audience to sell to. You may still want to monetize from the start as a form of practice, or just so that it isn't a surprise to your audience that your products have ads/IAP But seeing actual money come out of your games will take a while- even if you pour money as well as time into it.

If you just want to make games and not deal with the long haul marketing strategy all by yourself, you will have to move and get a position at an established game dev company.

 

It's looking more and more like this is the reality of the situation. Though not a possibility for the immediate future because of other factors in my life, it is a medium-term goal I aim to be prepared to meet if I cannot build a profitable solo development environment.

 

Thanks again for all of your advice, guys. I guess I'll get to writing games so I have something to actually market. smile.png

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