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Selling over the internet ...

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twobob
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I've seen a couple of threads on selling via the internet and was wondering how successful this method has been for self-publishers.

Have you set-up your own 'purchase now' page on a website and then packaged and dispatched the game yourself, or has the order been passed straight through to some distribution centre that packages and dispatches it all for you? (What are they called again ....?). If so, what % of the profit/sales price do you give away?

How many sales can be achieved via the internet? Obviously not as much as if the product is on the shelf, but is it a viable sales alternative?

Grateful for your thoughts ...... Cheers ...... TwoBob

Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Selling over the internet ...

I hope my information is of some help. To start with I am about as low on the food chain as a functioning game company can be. I currently only have one game in my product line (Cannon) that is hand made so I deal in dozens rather than hundreds or thousands of copies. I plan to have a second by late summer 05.

With that said I don’t use a distributor they would cut into my already tiny profit. I do sell direct to online retailers who get a 40-50% price break depending on the quantity they purchase. I also sell through my website but sales there are not great even though my shipping rates help make up for selling at full SRP; my site is not flashy and PyroMyth Games is not a well established brand so I imagine many are shy to give money to me because of that. You have to also consider with as tiny of a company that I have my advertising budget is equally as tiny depending a great deal on me directly promoting it and word of mouth. Speaking of that don’t be shy about telling your friends about my web site or linking to it.

prophx
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Joined: 08/13/2008
Even lower

Being even lower on the foodchain I freely allow my games to be downloaded from the Crosstown Games website for print and play, but if someone would like a high print quality cardstock version of the game with nice markers and such they can purchase them from the website.

I use PayPal on the purchase page to directly accept funds which has worked out very well. I don't like the cut they take, but it helps facilitate the transfer of money in a safe efficient manner - especially international orders.

From time to time I get an order, but as Dralius said, buyers are not eager to give money to a company and games that they are not familiar with. I've sold a handful of games and have gotten questions from those who have downloaded games in the past. It has been a very rewarding experience in which I've made some great contacts of which some I consider friends now.

I'm not sure how aggressively you want your games published and to what extent you will go, but going my route has been very enjoyable... I'm not rolling in "dream dough" though. Everyone wants to make the next big game, but only a few will. Keep your game design goals in check and don't try pushing your games farther than they should go. Games are for fun - keep them that way.

rob

Triktrak
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Proposal

Hi Prophx,

I just recently completed the design of my own game (minus much of the art) and I was also wondering at the prospect at having more than just my circle of friends enjoy it. Of course I would like to have it published by a big company, but it soulds like it could be at least a good start to web-publish it.
Here is my proposal: I will offer to translate one or more of your games into German, If you'll agree to have my game on your website. It would mean, I believe more exposure for you, and some for me as well.

Yort (Triktrak)

OrlandoPat
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Joined: 10/16/2008
A game company's story

As many of you know, I'm the guy behind Live Oak Games. We're a little different from your typical new game company, in that we're aiming more at the "mass market" then at the "specialty gamer". Having said that, I think my story might be useful.

My business plan when we launched Ice Lake in 2003 was "create games, sell directly online, protect my margin." This was completely unsuccessful. Sure, we made some sales, but not enough to survive, let alone thrive. In 2004, we re-oriented to "create games, sell to retailers."

It's now 2005, and I've learned a lot. I now believe that running a game company requires three separate efforts:
1) Create great games
2) Market them to customers
3) Support and market to retailers

These three are equally important. Yes, you need to make and market great games, but you also need to support and nurture your retailers. Their success is your success.

How relevant this story is to you, I don't know, but I thought it might be worth seeing for those people just getting started.

Zzzzz
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Joined: 06/20/2008
Re: A game company's story

Can I get an Amen?

Amen!

OrlandoPat wrote:
As many of you know, I'm the guy behind Live Oak Games. We're a little different from your typical new game company, in that we're aiming more at the "mass market" then at the "specialty gamer". Having said that, I think my story might be useful.

My business plan when we launched Ice Lake in 2003 was "create games, sell directly online, protect my margin." This was completely unsuccessful. Sure, we made some sales, but not enough to survive, let alone thrive. In 2004, we re-oriented to "create games, sell to retailers."

It's now 2005, and I've learned a lot. I now believe that running a game company requires three separate efforts:
1) Create great games
2) Market them to customers
3) Support and market to retailers

These three are equally important. Yes, you need to make and market great games, but you also need to support and nurture your retailers. Their success is your success.

How relevant this story is to you, I don't know, but I thought it might be worth seeing for those people just getting started.

Anonymous
Selling over the internet ...

Agreed!

I think this thread will go a long ways towards helping people gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of internet sales. I like that we have heard from people that rely on sales of their games to fulfil a business plan and those that don't.

Hamumu
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Selling over the internet ...

I don't sell board games online, but I make my living entirely from online sales of my PC games. I'm not sure what I have to share about that, other than that it's IMPOSSIBLE to be noticed by any significant number of people, but it is fun. You guys who do board games are lucky in that there exists a set of shops that will take your product for retail - no computer game store will take anything independent anymore! It's go through the publishers, or get the sales yourself. I've often thought of opening an indie game store myself. Definitely a risky endeavor.

I'd kind of like to add my board games to my website, but the risks and troubles of having inventory and all that (not a problem with digital products!) are daunting. Not to mention just plain developing them from prototypes into finished work. I look at boardgame development as a sideline which I am hoping will create 'fire and forget' revenue streams for me in the future (via publishing), while I continue to be directly involved in my PC games and not relinquish any creative control in them. I guess I'm willing to let publishers stomp on my boardgames as long as I have my nice pristine PC games. Maybe I'll change my tune after I get something published! That is after all how I got where I am on the PC side!

I have some ideas of games based on my PC games, which I have a hard time picturing getting published (just imagine the publisher jumping at the chance to use the fabulous Hamumu license! His eyes would turn into $ $, right?), so those may be my unavoidable foray into self-published boardgames. I think my customers would really like them.

Anonymous
User-friendly Web-site software package.

Just a note to this thread.

In the USA, we have found Homestead website software (www.homestead.com) very user-friendly to promote products on line.

For a minimal fee with availiable expansions, one can create a website by simply click and drop. This package includes media download capability, e-commerce, customer fulfilment and tracking without the need for knowledge in hotmail code.

It's very painless and easy on the expense report.

GoodNeighbor
www.goodneighbors.com

Yogurt
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Joined: 01/09/2009
Selling over the internet ...

Hamumu wrote:
I've often thought of opening an indie game store myself. Definitely a risky endeavor.

Have you read Greg Costikyan's ideas on indie game distribution?

http://www.costik.com/weblog/2005_03_01_blogchive.html#111075349839054794

Yogurt

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