Today I registered my very own company: Cogito Productions. The company will concentrate on making Online Multiplayer Games, but also other games production. Main projects at the moment are Indie Game Business and Morphlings.
Paper work is a mess: insurances, company registration, VATs, taxman… you name it. Well, now it’s official. Gotta wait couple of weeks before they accept it at the Finnish trade register. You’ll see links later.
Players like points. Some players are even addicted to points. Yesterday I saw a post in one game forum. There the player told how his opponent was losing the game, but just before defeat the other player left the game: In this situation the game system gives both “win” and “lose” ranks to both players. So, basically this player was pissed off. He went to game’s official forums and told about the situation and even posted a replay file. He then posted to game admins and wanted to get that “lose” rank away. It was important because he had won over 30 games and lost only one.
Doesn’t this prove that players just love to get points. They want those victory points. They want bonuses. They want more and more points. When designing your game: keep in mind that Players Prefer Points.
Sell to your old customers.
When I first heard this very simple idea I was amazed. For some reason we game developers think of how many copies we can sell – we miss to notice that selling once to 900 customers is the same as selling 3 times to 300 customers. And believe me: finding 900 new customers is (about) 3 times more difficult than finding 300 new customers.
I believe this is a very important subject when thinking where the money comes. I believe creating subscription based (monthly/quarterly/yearly payment) games are something that indie game developers could use. Others use expansion packs. Some developers use different skins to sell the game again.
Selling to an old customer (again and again) is good because:
1) It benefits both sides: the player wants to get more content and is willing to pay to get a better game – and you developer can continue developing the game with the funds received.
2) The customer already trusts you: it’s easier him to make the purchase decision – again.
3) When you have collected the emails of your customers (and they have accepted for you to email them) it’s easy for you to reach your old customers. It costs less money than advertising.
Remember: think about the life time value of your players.
A popular marketing method is blogging. Some book writers are writing their blogs. Some indie film makers have their own blogs. Writing a blog chapter takes practically very little time – maybe 10-15 minutes if you want – and it can be very interesting for your audience.
When you start your blog make sure it has some meaning and decide to whom are you writing to. A very easy choice for a game developer is to make a blog about your game. There are people who want to hear what new features are coming, they want to see new screenshots, concept art etc. – and comment your game. Keep it updated, keep it useful. Make sure you’ve got RSS feed options. You might wanna try to exchange links with other bloggers to get some additional traffic to your site.
Very popular blog programs are TypePad and WordPress. Blogger is also an easy way to start a blog. This blog is written using WordPress and for me it works fine. WordPress comes with several plug in options like calendar and different RSS feed options and it’s free and easy-to-use. I recommend.
Game producers’ main task is to overview the whole process of making a game. Simply put, the producer is the person ultimately responsible for the planning, development, and delivery of a game. Involved in all aspects of production, a producer holds the broadest possible view of a project.
Producers may be involved with the business and they might decide or influence who will be needed to hire for the project. Producer is kind of the team leader who says the final answers for arguments when needed. Producer can be also the team lackey – doing tough work when needed. A producer is kind of the link between the artists, programmers, marketing people and upper management.
Skills that are typically associated with a game producer:
- good communication skills
- conflict management
- leadership (“leading people”)
- management (“leading things”)
- some programming knowledge to understand technological aspects
- art background may be an aid
- business thinking
If Corel’s Paint Shop Pro or PhotoShop feel too expensive then one proper solution for image manipulation is free GIMP software. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
Grap it at gimp.org
Building a successful game business takes time. For people who want to build business I believe there’s a formula of Success.
Ingredient #1: Find out how successful game developers have made their success.
Ingredient #2: Copy that success pattern and repeat it.
It sounds simple, but I believe it takes lot of time, nerves, skills, knowledge and numerous other elements to reach the target. Even if it’s simple it doesn’t mean it would be easy.
Being a game producer mean having several different skills. One of those skills require business knowledge. My favorite business books are Rich Dad Poor Dad series. Although the book’s stories are fictional they contain useful business information. There are very many books about business and I think one good way to learn is to go to your local library and check some business related material. Some marketing books will probably deal with business issues as well.
Skype is a free software which you can use to make Internet calls: basically you can talk to your friends and team members for free. Skype is for both Windows and Mac.
Excellent voice quality, really easy to set up – very good way to keep in touch with your team members.
You can download Skype at skype.com
This category aims to collect useful information about different tools for low-budget game development.