Monthly Archives: December 2005

Game Producer’s Role

Everyone sees game producer’s job a little different and every company defines slightly different rolls. Some companies producers are more in the “management” whereas in some other companies game producers fell more in the category of “leadership”.

In Sony – according one of their employer – the producer’s job seemed more like in the “management”:

Here at Sony Japan our producer has next to zero input on game design. We had to convince him to produce the game but once that was done, while he might give a few comments here and there, especially if it’s a decision involving serious time or money, generally he isn’t involved in day to day work on the game. His job is to coordinate with the rest of the company. We see him maybe 3 times a week for about 1 hour. That’s it.

The same person has different expectations about the responsibility. He wanted producer to communicate more:

As a developer I personally want a producer who is service oriented. His job would be both to be the contact between other departments, to help coordinate the team (make sure they are paying attention to the schedule, budget, etc) and to try to remove any obstacles. I don’t see the ideal producer as being part of creative development. There’s already a game director or lead designer and having a producer trying to run the show seems like a conflict of responsibilities.

This seems more like in the category of “leadership”.

Comment from Stuart Roch

I’ve had fun with my job over the years because it constantly changes. At the end of the day I’m responsible for making sure everyone on the team has what they need to create the game, that the game releases to the publisher schedule, and that it meets quality expecations.

Sometimes I’ve been more involved in the design process than others. Sometimes I’ve tracked the project while on others I’ve pro-actively directed it. Etc. It really depends on the strengths and weaknesses of particular teams and projects.

Depending on the people, project, and company producers can range from service oriented managers to project directors.

Producers should surround themselves with the best talent possible so they can focus on what they do best leaving the producer to worry about their own core responsibilities.

To sum up, the Game Producer’s Role:
- constantly changes
- is about making sure everyone on the team has what they need to create the game
- game releases to the publisher schedule
- game meets quality expecations
- sometimes more involved in the design process than others
- producers can range from service oriented managers to project directors/leaders
- role really depends on the strengths and weaknesses of particular teams and projects.
- each producer, team and company defines the role differently
- the particular project defines much of the responsibility as well.
- producers should surround themselves with the best talent possible
- focus on what they do best leaving the producer to worry about their own core responsibilities

Don’t give your game for free, except when…

Continuation to post: Don’t give your game for free
… you are dealing with a (1) publisher or a (2) press member. Players (and other game developers – in my opinion) should bring money to your pocket. Don’t let them get your game for free.

(1) Publishers need to see the game. I presume demos can be okay, but I think most publishers prefer to see the full game version.

(2) Press needs to see the full game so that they can make a proper review. That would be very, very foolish to keep your game away from press. As a press member I mean anyone who does game reviews, writes game related articles, news editors, blog writers… anyone who can really bring your game to public. Sometimes they can be freelance people, well-known individuals or (in some cases) other game developers who also can tell story about your game.

Remember: Your players are willing to produce good word-of-mouth marketing for you if your game is worthy enough to talk about. If they are willing to talk about it, they are most likely willing to pay for it too.

How to find popular game sites?

alexa.com can help you estimate site traffic. You can check out the popularity of many different sites like video games, developers and publishers, etc. etc.

How to use this:
- You can find popular download portals (for example: check out “Most Popular in Video Games”)
- Find popular developers to exchange links or banners
- Pick potential game publishers: check how much traffic they receive

Some More Ways to Save Money

Taken from http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=5497

Dont buy a new car unless your old junk which is 20 yrs of age explodes on the highway and you escape uninjured. ( Buying a car in Malaysia is like owning a house in USA )

Dont own a credit card unless you travel abroad frequently

Dont save all your $$ in saving account . Invest at least 30-40% in Mutual and stock.

Dont buy too much lottery , a few buck per week is fine to try out your luck on the million buck chance.

Dont Smoke , cigarrate costs lots of money

Dont drink unless it’s provided freely during wedding ceremony.

Dont buy any new shirt and shoe unless somebody accidentally burn your current one .

And a really good one:

The public library is a fine place too for books, music and games.

Some Ways to Save Money

Source: http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=5497

Some points:

First, if you have mortgage pay it Bi-Weekly. Almost all mortgage companies offer a bi-weekly solution. What this means is you pay HALF the mortage every 2 weeks as opposed to the full amount every month. The result is 1 extra payment a year and a lot less accured interest. How much? At a 6% loan rate it will save you approximately 50,000 dollars per 200,000 in loans. So a 200k house will cost you 50k less in interest at the PRICE of only 1 extra payment per year! Plus it means you pay off your house 6 years early!

Good ones:

Pay Your Mortgage Weekly
Similar to Joe’s suggestion above about bi-weekly payments. It would still add the equivalent of one mortgage payment a year, but since your reducing your principle on a weekly basis (instead of bi-weekly), it knocks down that compound interest even faster.

Pay Yourself First
This is simply just the principle of saving. If you put some of your money away, right of the top (such as, automatic deductions from your paycheck, into 401K, IRA or even a savings account), then your less likely to miss that little bit extra each month, and you’ll be starting a nest egg for retirement or a rainy day.

Stay Away From Unnecessary Debit / Live Within Your Means
Simple principle, but some many people out there feel they ought to have a higher standard of living than what they can afford. They max out credit card after credit card, until they are in a hole so deep that they can’t get out.

Don’t Put 401K Money Into Your Company’s Stock
This is simply the principle of diversification. If your company (that your work for) goes under, not only could you loose your job, but also your retirement money as well.

Edited: Use a Real VISA and Not a “Fake” VISA
Debit Cards that can be used like a VISA, are inherently more insecure as the funds come from your checking account. These “fake” VISAs don’t offer the same protection if your credit card number is stolen. With a regular VISA, you have some ability to remove fraudulent charges made to your card, but with a “fake” VISA, you’re just “out of luck”.
This appeared to be incorrect: use VISA instead of Mastercard or others is the new hint (check comments of this entry)

etc. etc. Read the thread. Good hints.

Upgrade Your Game

Listening to players and upgrading your game according to their wishes is necessary for you to sell your game. We got lots of feedback about “annoying background graphics”. We replaced those graphics and guess what: it immediately brought us extra sales.

Listen to your customer, refine your game – over and over. It will result in increased sales.

Don’t give your game for free

There were two games which I almost bought. I made an offer to the first game’s author: “Let me translate your game to Finnish and give me a free copy”. I could not get a reply and was about to email: “how about a discount?” but I didn’t. I waited. The next day the author accepted the offer and gave me the registration key. Notice: he could have said “no” or suggest a discount – and I would have accepted. He lost money.

The other gamer was even more interesting: I told them a couple of hints on how to improve their game and they said “thanks”. Few minutes later I got another post from them stating: “oh, and here’s the reg key”. Why did they give me the registration key for free? I would have bought the game (it was only $9.95).

Don’t give your game for free. Save discounts for very rare exceptions. But a rule of thumb: don’t give your game for free. Hints, tips, news, mini-games are okay to give for free… but don’t give your game for free.

Micropricing might work, sometimes

People tend to go using price $19.95 for their game. Raptisoft (and indie Game company) managed to pull out a different strategy succesfully (they tried $5.49 and now it’s $9.95).

Source: http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=4912

Well… with the advent of Chuzzle, I decided that Hamsterball wasn’t as important as an income stream, so I wanted to see if I could reach more people by micropricing it at $5.49.

So far, the experiment has been a resounding success. I’m making almost twice the money daily that I was making with it priced at $14.99– and on the weekends, it’s even more. But more importantly, I’m reaching a lot of people– which I hope pays off a few years down the line.

So, I think some of you might try this, if you have an older game that’s falling off the charts!

That is all.

It’s all about testing. Try $19.95, try $14.95, try $9.95, try $4.95 try $5.49… and compare the results. Otherwise you are leaving money on the table.

Retro64 commented:

I can fairly conclusively say that pricing Best Friends at $5.49 tripled the number of units sold. Not bad actually, but still less profit. So now we’ll see what $9.95 does.

This is the way to go.