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Game Selling Strategy

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Toa Lewa
Toa Lewa's picture
Joined: 10/31/2013

I wanted to see what others thought of a selling strategy I am thinking of.

Being a programmer, I have developed and published some apps to the Windows app store. I started thinking about using an app store as a test field for a game. Basically here is my idea (this is optimistic).

1. Create app based off of current board/card game idea
2. Submit app across multiple platforms
3. Receive feedback
4. Make changes to game based on user feedback
5. Repeat steps 3 - 4 until app becomes very successful
6. Bring board game/card game idea to major publisher
7. Based on success of game in the app stores, publisher purchases game rights

I think this process could bring in more revenue than just bringing an idea to a game publisher. First, I think the apps could earn revenue by themselves. Second, if the apps are popular I think a publisher would be more willing to spend more money to purchase the rights to the game. Finally, purchases of the board game/card game might be greater if there is already a fan base.

Any thoughts?

KrisW's picture
Joined: 01/15/2013
Selling Strategy

You need a step that shows the conversion rate of Ap users to hard copy published game buyers. You'll probably want three things -
- Some sort of survey showing the game buying habits of your Ap users, stressing their purchase of published games. Be able to tell the publisher how much the users spend on hard copy games per year.
- Some sort of test sales, probably a prototype run of a couple thousand with varying price points and regional sales.
- Some sort of commitment from Ap users to buy the published game. Something in the form of requests for notification of release date and sales locations. Responses to an offer to mail (Snail mail, not e-mail) coupons to actual physical addresses holds up better than just an e-mail list.

The more interactive your fan base the better your sales conversion is likely to be.

Joined: 11/06/2013
Do you think that selling the

Do you think that selling the game in an app would be easier than the boardgame? I think boardgamers are typically a traditional bunch and would much appreciate the board.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
My thoughts...

anonymousmagic wrote:
Do you think that selling the game in an app would be easier than the boardgame? I think boardgamers are typically a traditional bunch and would much appreciate the board.

I think there is probably room to "grow" (in terms of popularity) if you have an App Game. And I think instead of *charging* people for the App, it would be free to download and play BUT you add *micro transactions* which allow things to *improve* your game.

Some ways of doing this would be to "charge" a player to *level up* his character. Or to charge a player for *certain* equipment in-app. For example you could buy the "Iron Longsword" from the Forge early on in the game using "game currency". But at the same time you could have bought "Fire Sword +2" from that same Forge however it would require an App-Store *micro transaction* to actually BUY this item.

Basically you could progress your character *FASTER* if you use *micro transactions*. Sure you can play and earn "game currency" - but a "BUY NOW" feature gives players options! And some players will USE those options while other players might play the game for free.

Offering an App/Game of your Tabletop game is a way to build your "audience" of gamers. And it is perhaps one of the ways of *marketing* your game without the burdens of PnP (Print-And-Play)... Although it might be costlier to develop (in terms of programming hours)...

Corsaire's picture
Joined: 06/27/2013
Great strategy

I really like the idea, and have thought along similar lines. Get your test iterations, statistics, etc. in with a free app, when fairly tuned could pull it or switch to a 99 cent version or just squeeze in some ads. I'm not sure what the conversion potential is. But if you have ten thousand downloads and a high rating, it would certainly look sweeter to my mind than a game with no market research behind it.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Game Publishers

The one hesitation I have is this:

-Is this considered *self-publishing*?

Meaning that if you put out a free App and then as Corsaire suggested go to a $0.99 fee, squeeze in ads or my preference (which are in-game *micro transactions*) would this prevent the game from being picked up from a traditional *Game Publisher*?

We already know that publishers want to reserve their rights to *tweak*, improve and change a game (let's assume to improve it) and that's why some Kickstarters prohibit this. Not all the cases apply but for most games this is a reason to NOT consider the game for publication.

Could it be the same for a Game App??? Would the publisher say: "The game is already in consumer hands. We don't have room to correct or change the game - since consumers are already playing the game."

This is my *only* concern. Building a following is a great idea - but I'm wondering if this should be done in tandem with a Publisher who is ALREADY on-board with your product. My concerns are that publishers probably DON'T need an App to SELL your game. They have their own manufacturing and distribution deals to sell a game to brick and mortar stores. I think publishers can easily see volumes of 10,000 units in that model considering the amount of *traditional* distribution there is (in the U.S. and Canada for example).

So I do have my reservations about the concept... I too find it intriguing also.

Note: I am also interested in other development such as Nintendo DS gaming... But I realize that single player games require AI. This complicates matters further. So I would be looking at Internet play - which I have never been able to do with my DS...

Note 2: Ideally I would offer the game/app free and then charge something like a $5.00 *micro transaction* fee to get something like "500 in-game credits". And then players could spend the credits on whatever aspects of the game interest them, like leveling-up, buying better equipment, changing the look & feel of their character, etc.

I have seen this done in Internet games... Some are ridiculously expensive for what you get. I would be more reasonable in allow credits to be used to "unlock" different aspects of the game...

Note 3: I purchase TODAY the Nintendo Wifi USB Connector for about $60 (Shipping & Handling included). It *used* to be a good way to connect your DS to a local broadband connection via a Home PC. Obviously the DSi allows more flexible connectivity (WEP and WPA) but I don't have Wi-Fi at home. The USB connector REQUIRES that the Home PC ALLOW the DS (or DSi) connecting be authorized to have broadband access. This is good, nobody else can use your connection unless you MANUALLY authorize it.

Since I am interested in Internet (Wi-Fi) gaming with my DSi ... This was the *easiest* option (the USB Connector). I'm not sure if I will be able to program something or not (I have a background in Programming/Development - but not in gaming). There is still more research I need to do to figure out how to go about and "code" an Internet application for the Nintendo DS/DSi. One thing for certain, if I am able to connect and develop some test software - I'm not certain where I'll go with this.

To start, I'd just like to see some simple Internet "Hello World!" application that I develop work on the DSi (using some form of Internet connectivity)... And then I'll take things from there...

Corsaire's picture
Joined: 06/27/2013
The potential of

The potential of micro-transactions is big, but you have to design for that. A design like that might not be translatable for a board game, particularly without a persistent game base. Also micro-transaction games tend to be supported by only 1 to 4 percent of the play-base and rely on returning customers; offering a purchase to give an in game bonus in a single shot game will simply alienate the mass of non-paying players, and that sour taste won't translate to sales.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Mostly about the character

Corsaire wrote:
The potential of micro-transactions is big, but you have to design for that. A design like that might not be translatable for a board game, particularly without a persistent game base.

Well what I can think about in terms of *micro transactions* are EXTRAS to the "Video" version of the game. Like let's say you have a *Character* in the Video version... You can configure the character to your liking (appearance-wise). This could cost a certain amount of credits to get your character looking like you want.

In the tabletop version, there would be only *character cards*... So you could choose your character but you would not have the flexibility to customize them like in the video version.

Another possible aspect is *levelling up*. In the video version, you could have more stats that you could increase (for purposes of improving or altering combat performance). In the tabletop version, you would only have the *basic* stats required for combat. And maybe you CANNOT level them up. You can only rely on equipment that your character can use. Micro transactions can be used to *level up* the extended character stats, again a play on the character...

The other aspect of *micro transactions* would be like visiting the forge. You can use in-game currency, like gold to purchase weapons. But the more powerful weapons require diamonds (with a micro transaction credits). This would make the advancement of the game more rapid since the stronger weapons make the game easier to play... Things like that.

SugarPillStudios's picture
Joined: 03/25/2013
I think this all sounds like

I think this all sounds like a good plan, but your number 7 may be a bit naive. I think publishers will be interested in publishing quality games that fit their brands and product lines. I doubt that showing a publisher that you sold a few hundred apps will have much bearing on there decision. I've developed apps to help iterate and refine my designs and it has worked well for me. One of those designs has even been picked up by a publisher, and I look forward to turning that into a saleable app once the publisher has finished their development of the game. So I say go for it!

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