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Ads, not sales, is the key

Started by Presentiment, March 02, 2010, 10:31:01 PM

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Quote from: Zhampir on March 04, 2010, 02:08:05 PM
Exactly my thinking. It'd be like the disaster of TSE2, except (very likely) worse.

I think a situation similar to TSE2 is playing out with TPA2.


In order for it to be like the situation with TSE2, I would have to do what Mark Pay did and give up on making commercial games.

Instead, I'm continuing to build a catalog of games. With each one, I learn more about marketing and game design, and gain more exposure. I'm not discouraged that TPA2 wasn't a break-out success. Compared to TRPG2 CD Edition, TPA2 did far better in every regard. I expect to keep improving, gaining fans, and releasing more and more polished, professional work that gains more attention and makes more sales. Eventually I'll be well-known in the indie game community and have a good back catalog of games that fans will feel encouraged to buy from. That's my long-term plan, and at the moment I feel rather optimistic about it. :)


Only problem with that is that if nobody buys your previous work nobody will buy your new work.


That assumes a lot. I think a lot of people will be more willing to buy TSoG than were willing to buy TPA2. That's just my guess. We'll see how things shake out. ;)


I think you're forgetting the main demographic if your fanbase. Because you have no store releases yet the main group buying will be indie RPG reviewers, and bored college students with some money to spare.

Which constitutes a small minority of this site.

This site isn't Facebook.

If you want to earn more money, you'll have to make a phone app for it, because that's the main population I see a small, un-freeware indie game appealing to.

Facebook--you'll need multiplayer games

Interwebz--Just register onto a site for $1.99 and download it.

Because there are no rapidshare sites for phone you can charge more than two dollars, but charge too much and you won't get any buyers.

But you aren't aiming for making a phone app are you?


to my knowledge Flash isn't possible on the Iphone (or is at best extremely buggy), if that's what your suggesting...


Convert it to an .exe.

But I wasn't actually serious. I just pointing out that Craig has no platforms to sell his games in.


I don't know what you're talking about at this point. I sell my games on the PC, Mac, and Linux. There are a few online stores that already carry TPA2, and I expect to break into more with TSoG. Surely you don't think I'm only trying to sell the game to people that visit


1)I love kotor 1 and 2 best games ever
2) yeah but as one man team making 1 or 2 flash games takes quite a chunk of time and to get more people he needs money its a bit of a circle and I intend to buy TSoG plus I highly doubt anyone has ever combed the entire internet maybe he already has advertising and we just haven't seen it?


A lot of good points raised in the thread, and the main concern is the marketing of the Telepath games. There is the issue of how to try to deliver the message to the target audience and be able to persade them to buy the game. So far, due to the change in the marketing model, we see an expected shift in demographics as the illumination of non-free TPA2 occurs on slightly different sites than that of the freely distributed TRGP2. However, it does mean that we are in a transition state at the moment, and the reach to the target audience is currently rather small. I don't know why, but even back in the day of TRPG2 release, although the hype was big and it was quite popular, it did not get well embedded into the teenage community that visits the main free-game flash portals (possibly due to the lack of presence on several key sites) and there was little to remind them of afterwards, which is a shame as TRPG2 is one of the best Flash RPGs out there, and yet it isn't mention in the same breath as, say, Mardek (and even this very successful RPG, although rather popular, isn't generating much income for the developer, but he does have a rather large and devoted fan base). The big question now is how to reach the new customers who are willing and are able to pay for the game? Where to focus the attention? I mean, it'a all well and good- there is a twitter account, now facebook is up, but there is a need for initial illumination, to jump-start the process of vrial ads for Sinister Design so that the mediums catch on and do their job, 'cause so far twitter has about 20 users... which isn't much at all, really. Hence, there is a need for breakout, to generate that initial amount of interest again in Sinister Design, and expand, then feed off that interest and keep up the momentum.  Given that it takes a long time to develop the next project, it is difficult, but still possible, to maintain the momentum in downtime and keep SinisterDesign at the back of people's minds. A good example of that is Pseudolonewolf: he hasn't released Mardek 3 as planned, and this has been going on for almost 3 years, yet interest in his site has hardly waned and he generates new interest from his old games because there is enough exposure and discussion. At this moment in time, taking into account the transition model and all, I think it might be worthwhile going back to those big portals like CrazyMonkeyGames, JayIsGames, Newgrounds, Armorgames and Kongregate and plug in the holes, so to speak, by uploading TRPG2 to those sites that still don't have it- generate some more interest. After all, TPA1 was all and well, but it was just a showcase for the engine, not a stand-alone game, and people perceieved it as such- we got a little interest going, but didn't generate the critical amount of momentum required.
Now we have the presence on the most curcial social media, now we just need to get the folks from the freeware market to look at us again, then keep those who are willing to accept the change in the marketing of the products and pay for the games, and then we need to try and find how to reach out to the new audience- older, financially able to afford the game. Where do they go? What they read? What do they like?  A good start will be to try and raise the profile, as CraigStern noted, with reviewers for indie developing games, then keep in touch with such large flash portals which carry a mix of free and demo versions on their sites and where there won't be any backlash to a paybale game version (ie Jayisgames, rather than newgorunds, for instance). Then we can hook up and keep those potential customers on facebook and twitter. For the younger audience, the wiki, for instance, and the website can eb of use, whilst the forums is a blend of the two.
Ads is a tricky business and I don't think we're in a situation where we can afford to dabble around and experiment with them as we have just a critical enough mass of paricipating individuals to carry us through at the moment. From where we stand now, CraigSterns strategy is the most sound and fool-proof: slowly generate momentum, get the profile up, then expand. We have a very specific niche in the game market, and it has its cons and pros, such as a relatively low appeal percenatgeto the whole gaming community, but much higher than average retention factor. Presentiment, for your part, if you're willing to help, methinks you can lay out the basis for covering SinisterDesign on facebook and twitter and generate interest in that.

As a final point, one example of a success is MSkutnik, the creator of Submachine series: he managed to generate enough ineterest, expand, leave day-work, keep some projects free, some pay-as-you-go, went into iPhone development, covered several genres with his games and has a very wide demographical coverage with his games. And he managed to take escape-the-room type games to prominence, generating much more interest in them during the last few years.  The situation is slightly different here, but we can aim to build along the same lines and try to keep good folks interested and try to find and appeal to those gamers who love RPGs.  TSoG is certainly raising the standard here on TRPG2, and it's up there with the best of Flash RPGs at the moment both storywise and battle-design wise, in my opinion.
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Quote from: KZ on March 05, 2010, 06:11:51 PMit's up there with the best of Flash RPGs at the moment both storywise and battle-design wise, in my opinion.

Ah, "up there with the best of Flash RPGs." See, this is partly why I'm trying more traditional indie games marketing methods right now, and not trying to drum up interest in the Flash community. I want TSoG to be judged as an RPG, not as a Flash RPG. I know you didn't mean it this way, KZ, but when people say things like "It's good for a Flash game," it gives the impression that everyone should have diminished expectations for it just because it's made in Flash. It's as though a Flash game can't be good: the best it can ever be is good by comparison to other games made in Flash.

Well, I'm not satisfied with that. TSoG is going to be a serious game that happens to be made in Flash, not a "Flash game." I fully intend for TSoG, by the time it's finished, to tell a story worthy of study and critique, exploring themes like identity, the nature of the mind, and the existence of God. To hell with Flash--I can't even fill up one hand's worth of fingers counting the number of RPGs developed on any platform that do that, much less do it alongside non-linear gameplay, tactical combat, and involved dialog trees.

In short, there is no way--absolutely, positively no way--that I'm releasing it for free. That just invites people to devalue the game even more. And it will make it even harder for me (to say nothing of the other people out there making their own RPGs) to make a living selling games in the future. Do you know what most generic JRPG clones made in RPG Maker traditionally sell for? $19.99. Really! And they sell well. People buy those games. Check out The woman who runs that site makes a living selling her games. And you know what? Making a game in Flash is actually far more work than those games take!

Soon--once I'm confident I've worked out all the major issues in TSoG and finalized the GUI design--I'm going to create a downloadable demo and take down the browser demo. Having it available in-browser is just encouraging people to view it as though it were some cheap, flimsy game that ought to be playable for free. That, to me, is worse than the prospect of not making enough money in sales.

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