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  Simple Games Don't Sell  (Read 1917 times)
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Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 159
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Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Posted 2004-06-30 18:30:41 »

Just chatting on the JavaGaming channel and happened to say this. Then thought about it.... do Simple Games ever sell?

Simple Games are good to write, fun and quick. Keeps the interest going. However, can you ever sell one? Don't people expect games that look relatively simple to be free?

I'm actually getting to a point where I'd like to start considering making some money at this games lark, but where to start? Is it worth doing "little" games or do you have to aim at something much bigger? more complex? both? online? subscription based?

Any opinions..

Kev

Offline Mithrandir

Senior Member




Cut from being on the bleeding edge too long


« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-06-30 19:11:59 »

Where are you selling them? For things like mobile phones, simple is what sells. For PC games, there are a million different minesweeper/solitaire/blackjack clones. Whether they actually "sell" or just freeware is another story though...

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Offline princec

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« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-06-30 19:26:00 »

...and probably one to be discussed over at Dexterity's indie forums.

I'll be finding out, sooner or later.

Cas Smiley

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Offline nonnus29

Senior Member




Giving Java a second chance after ludumdare fiasco


« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-06-30 20:05:56 »

The instant rebuttal to the implied statement simple games never sell is of course: Tetris plus the plethora of puzzle games out there.

I've had one project on the backburner for a while now.  I want to do a online version of one of these games. Star Viking in particular.  

IMHO this is the type of niche market an indie can really exploit. There is a small but dedicated group of people that still play old turn based games like these.  This type of game has an interesting history; these were 'mini games' published in the early 80's (OGRE and carwars were to other minigames that became quite popular); designed to be quick and fun with a reasonable learning curve.

My thinking is turned based games such as these may not sell particularly well but it might be possible to set up a site that hosts turned based online games of this sort and at the very least make a small profit from advertising?   I haven't researched this yet so I don't even know if anything like that is *out there*.  What do you think?
Offline DrBizzar0

Junior Member




Raj raj!


« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-07-01 06:03:44 »

I don't think the size of the game is the primary reason for a game selling or not. Things like marketing, timing and a feel of freshness (unique features) is more important I think.

As for your idea nonnus29, I like it. The fanbase for such games isn't that big, but it might be big enough and it isn't many games released theese days of that genre. In fact, to my knowledge, not a signle one has been released this year. One game I've played alot, Strategic Command, has sold in 10s of thousands since it was released a couple of years ago. That should prove that there still is a market for turnbased games, eventhough that game became available as a retail game after a year or so and also got a marketing budget.
Offline princec

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« Reply #5 - Posted 2004-07-01 07:01:29 »

The topic statement is loaded anyway: define "simple".

Dexterity have made something of the order of $12,000 from this game which beggars belief. Development time was 2 weeks. That's where I got the inspiration for Super Elvis, and indeed, all my forthcoming games.

DrBizarr0 was indeed onto something with the 40hr game concept. Zog's Rocking Trouble is a brilliant game. It wouldn't take a whole lot of effort to turn it into a game that people will pay for.

Also... here's a bit of wisdom which is gradually dawning on me from some time in the business: games do not sell. Games are passive - they just sit there waiting to be bought. It is your business that does the selling. That's the hard part, but rest assured that you can sell anything if you put in a concerted effort for a particular product. Even Alien Flux sells when I try. But as soon as I stop, it stops.

Cas Smiley

Offline kevglass

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Medals: 159
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Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #6 - Posted 2004-07-01 08:03:23 »

No offense intended.. I was just wondering about what to write to make some money.

The problem with things like Zogs (which I agree is a great game) is that people expect them for free. Even if it was polished looking I don't think I'd part with cash to get it.

I hadn't really considered mobile games, I'm not really sure whether there is a really a money making market there yet. People will start paying real money for mobile games when the hardware and software is powerful enough to make them feel like the money is worth it.


Interesting point about games not selling tho, that marketing is what really counts. So, it doesn't really matter too much if what you write is complete crap aslong as someone sells it well? In that case I'm going to be on to a gold mine Wink

Been talking offline about this a bit and it seems to me what makes a game sell is content. What extra do I get the further I get, if I download the demo, do I feel like I've seen everything already?

We also had a chat about level packs/extensions. Is that where the money is? Write a game engine then sell pack after pack of levels for them?

And finally, is it all about targetting a market? As a collegue said, certain games would appeal to "Soccer Mums", maybe thats a good market to hit.. or as Nonnus says, a certain market of turn based gamers. what other market is there?

Apologies if this is all covered over at Dexterity, I really must get round to signing up for that forum..

Kev

Offline oNyx

JGO Coder


Medals: 2


pixels! :x


« Reply #7 - Posted 2004-07-01 08:04:53 »

There are different kinds of simple. Simple graphics, simple game mechanics, simple to write...

There are quite alot games with very simple game mechanics (eg puzzle games) which sold quite well. However, graphic wise you need as much polish as possible. Basically you can just take that as a "sex sells" analogy - nice screenshots = more downloads.

So yes, you can of course sell nice graphics together with a simple programm Wink

The other way around doesn't work that well, because it wouldn't be the thing where most of the market is interested in.

Well, good looking graphics doesn't necessarly mean alot of work. Build around your limitations. If you aren't a pixel pushing monster, you'll need to pick another route (eg raytracing).

弾幕 ☆ @mahonnaiseblog
Offline nonnus29

Senior Member




Giving Java a second chance after ludumdare fiasco


« Reply #8 - Posted 2004-07-01 09:32:41 »

Quote

what other market is there?  


- Anything for the Mac
- RPG's (non-mmorpg's)
- Many varieties of turnbased games

My ideal of indie success has always been Spiderweb Software.  They are the only developer putting out shareware rpgs that I know of.  Jeff Vogels rpg game engine took a major step forward with the Geneforge games, but it's still only isometric 2d with a point and click Bioware interface.  Of course an rpg can be a very complex game to make.  And his games are known for gameplay and story.  Definitly out of the realm of the lone developer.
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


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http://t-machine.org


« Reply #9 - Posted 2004-07-01 10:13:25 »

Quote

I hadn't really considered mobile games, I'm not really sure whether there is a really a money making market there yet. People will start paying real money for mobile games when the hardware and software is powerful enough to make them feel like the money is worth it.


Falls off chair in shock.

Mobile games have been making hundreds of millions of dollars for years. If you lived in the US, it's excusable to think they're a bit of a fad (US's ****ed up mobile networks prevented them from taking off - so much so that various *big* US games companies I spoke to as recently as 18 months ago didn't believe there was much in it), but in europe? No way...

Off the top of my head, mobile games were > 250 million euro annually 2 years ago. The last estimates I recall for 2004 were well over 1 billion euro. And this is almost entirely games at the simple end of the market.

Personally, I'm quite bitter that I bothered doing a real business back in 2001 instead of just writing a few J2ME games (despite the incredible pain of incompatibilities / device-specifics that in 2001 were even more horrendous than they are today...) because it really was a license to print money.

It's still the case that it's much easier to make profit as a mobile games studio than as a mainstream games studio, but it's no longer a piece of cake.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
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