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Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

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Patriarch
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi... I'm getting closer and closer to producing my ambitious game. Were gathering all the info we can, rom which we will decide if we are going to spend that large sum of money needed to go through with it.

So far we are considering if were making a first run of 1000 or 2000 copies. I know thats quite a large sum (for an indie developer) which is why I need all the help I can get before settling on the number.

How on earth do I sell these games? What would be the normal shops, website, vendors, distributors which I should contact? If I want to sell 1000 or 2000 copies internet sales wont cut it.

Thing is, I'm from Denmark - and the market here is far to small. But truth is I'm not really sure where to start if I want to sell my game worldwide.

So please chime in - thanks :)

soulbeach
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

Well, if you want to try canada, here are 2 good stores in montreal that sell a pretty wide variety of games:

http://www.tourdejeux.com/
http://www.levalet.com

you can probably send them either a sample, or even a pdf version that they can try and a price list.

In the US, there are quite a few stores also, heres one:

http://www.funagain.com

If you make good contact with these stores, you actually become your own distributor :)

RookieDesign
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

You should go to shows like GenCon and the like. Have a booth to present your product. Yes it cost a lot, but this is publicity.

Distributor will walk by your booth and ask to show them your product. That's the best way to strike your first deal.

Start a Web site, have a blog, create hype. Write to magazines. Have yourself known and reviewed by as many people as possible.

Good luck.

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

If your game is designed to appeal to the hobby market (as opposed to the mass market), your best bang for your buck is the GAMA Trade Show. You can meet and talk with both distributors and retailers, as well as learn a lot about the market and strategies for success. They publish a good chunk of information for new publishers/manufacturers as well.

http://www.gama.org

Patriarch
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

Thanks for the info so far... great stuff.

Regarding GenCon - any idea what it costs to get permission to get a stand there?

Hegemon
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

I disagree with some of the approaches listed above. While it is true 10 years ago a distributor or rep may have walked by your booth and taken a chance, the marketplace today is quite different. Distributors want 6 month advance notice of your product so they can solicit the retailers and want to see your advertising campaign ideas well in advance. You have to understand that no one actually wants to work to SELL your game today, they want a product that SELLS itself, either through a lot of advance marketing (pricey) or by word of mouth (cheap but erratic). For example, a distributor's phone rep is most productive when he is busy taking orders for a gross of CCG packs, not randomly calling around to stores saying, "Here's a neat new game, will you try two copies in your store?"

For a start on getting to know the distributors, go here:

http://www.gtmguide.com/hobbydist.htm

and here:

http://www.gtmguide.com/internationaldist.htm

and read up on what each distributor wants/likes to sell so you don't waste your time on guys that don't do your kind of thing.

I'm guessing your best approach would be to sell direct via a website and build an audience (plus get some playtesting in - maybe tweak the rules a bit based on feedback), then go retail.

Bon Chassé
[/i]

Patriarch
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

I see. Thanks I'll check out these links.

Lets assume the game is good, and is received positively by a majority of people who buy and play it. How many units do you think its realistic to sell via internet?

RookieDesign
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

Doing publicity on the Web or other medium is a full time job. If you still have job to do on your game, start a web site and put a blog on it. Have a newletter. Start publishing weekly screen shot. Publish a small extract from the rules, then the full rules. If you can have a flash presentation of your game like Avalon hill is doing at the moment.

Do press releases, have people talk about you, create a hype.

In the newletter have a discount and/or contest and give boxes away.
Yes this is costly but if correctly done, you can attract poeple to buy from you.

Finally set a shop to buy your game directly from you. Always sell you game to the suggested retail price or else nobody will want to distribute your game.

Publishing is a lot of work, but don't neglect the marketing aspect of the publishing or else, you will have 1,999 boxes in your basement and one given to your mother.

Have a good day.

FastLearner
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Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

To be clear about Gama Trade Show, that is a place where retailers walk around looking for interesting games to sell, and it is a place where reps for all the major distributors make themselves available to talk to (and often have booths of their own).

I agree about GenCon (and Origins, etc.) not being the place to hook up with distributors, and not being a very good place to hook up with retailers.

VeritasGames
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Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

Having just been to the GAMA Trade Show for the first time I can tell you it is not a great place to meet with major distributors if you don't plan ahead. Some of the big distributors had purchasing guys who were NEVER at their booths and were available by appointment only. Guess what? They were largely booked up with appointments by the time GTS had actually started.

So, I'd say that it is a GREAT place to meet with purchasing agents for distributors IF you do some networking before you go.

It's not that the distributors aren't at GTS, 'cause they are. However, you don't need to speak to random guys, you ned to speak with the people directly in charge of purchasing.

Our website:

http://www.veritasgames.net/

has a Game Design section. Look up the glossary entry on distributors and the article on establishing payment terms for distributors. That'll give you some information.

Honestly, if you are doing one or two small games then you are best off hooking up with Impressions or Key20, who are fulfillment consolidators. They will help you get into distribution, warehouse your stuff, ship it out, etc., all for a chunk of your sales. They are a good deal for a small company with one or two products.

If you are willing to bust your butt making a lot of connections and have a big budget game or a licensed product then you can probably work your way into distribution without a fulfillment consolidator

FastLearner
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Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

The last time I was at GTS was 4 years ago. I was with a new small publisher and we had no problem meeting with guys who could make decisions and talk terms for every distributor there. However, I can certainly believe that things have changed and it's become harder to have impromptu meetings.

Lee's info is only a few months old while mine is several years old, so it definitely sounds like you'd want to make arrangements in advance.

I do wonder, though, how much distributors have changed or whether we just had a particularly good product to show, as we got final terms from everyone we talked to, and they were all willing to carry the game, even though the run was only 2,000 copies.

Hegemon
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Re: Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

Patriarch wrote:
So far we are considering if were making a first run of 1000 or 2000 copies. I know thats quite a large sum (for an indie developer) which is why I need all the help I can get before settling on the number.

Getting back to the original premise here, this link http://www.gtmguide.com/manmath.htm to basic manufacturer's math may prove helpful to you in setting the correct price for your game.

VeritasGames
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Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

FastLearner wrote:
so it definitely sounds like you'd want to make arrangements in advance.

I had no problem meeting with members of company X or Y. I had trouble tracking down their purchasers. The purchasers were often not at the booth. They were wandering the halls or in closed door meetings.

I still met with a few major purchasers, but I had to follow-up with the VP in charge of purchasing for Alliance after the show.

One or two distributors had sky boxes for meetings. In one of the rooms there was a whole table of literature and products left for the purchasing folks to review because other people (not just me) had trouble tracking these folks down.

I can almost guarantee that if you call before the show that you can schedule time with about every distributor there. It may only be a couple of minutes, but it's better than nothing.

People tell you that if you get a booth there is time before and after the public has to leave the room to network. There is, but it isn't much. Before the public comes in the room people are busy setting up. After the public leaves, many people are not sitting there for a full hour wrapping up and networking, they blast out of the exhibit room at GTS like their pants were on fire. They network, but many of them network over dinner (I did).

I've also heard that TGIF con in Orlando is really a good place to schedule time with distributors from big chains. Part of the purpose of the con is to get on the schedules of some of the "big boys".

Distribution is interested in our products but I have to go through the formal process of getting "picked up" by distributors over the next 2-4 weeks. Once I'm done I may post here about my experience, or write up an article on the Veritas Games Company site and post a link here. I understand the process, but this will be the first time I have actually gone through the process of getting picked up by distributors.

Patriarch
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Sales, Distribution - how do I sell my game?

Thanks a lot guys.

2000 being a small run I think we will be trying to get in contact with retailers localy, and sell of our website (when we get it done).

Its funny - some days I feel like there is no chance in hell we can ever move 2000 units. Other times I'm pretty confident its possible.

Boy, oh boy - exciting times. :)

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