Jay is Games – Casual Gameplay

Jay is Games is site filled with casual game reviews (Hint: if you have a casual game, submit it to Jay is Games, get reviewed, get traffic and get more sales).

Their archives contain a big list of casual games. A quick glimpse reveals that pretty much every day there’s a new review online. If you are a casual gamer, drop by the site and start checking out the reviews or bookmark the site for later reading.

Small tip: there’s a small puzzle under “Support JIG”. Try solving the puzzle and see what happens…

Reason Why Lowering the Price is a Poor Strategy

Lowering the price of your product can prove successful in situations where the price is simply way too expensive compared to the value offered. A $50 shareware game simply might be too expensive when the industry average is $20 – and because others are selling their game with that price tag. Notice: might be too expensive.

Developers at Mistaril managed to sell their ShortHike space simulation game with a price of $50 per year. They called it ‘Guild membership’. You could purchase the game for $20, but if you wanted updates you would need to purchase the premium price. Tribal Trouble managed to make $60,000 income in about a year using the $30 price tag.

Anyway, developers such as Retro64 and Reflexive have made price tests and they have quite extensive amount of data. Their results indicated: $20 seems to be ‘the’ right price. I still recommend testing different prices for games, but the $20 industry standard seems to have quite a strong position.

If you lower your game price to $10 then your game quality looks worse compared to $20 games. It’s same as with mobile phones or computers, which one is better $50 or $100 cell phone? $1000 or $2000 computer? I might be exaggerating a bit, but basically some people will simply ignore downloading $10 games for the sake of price alone. The other problem with $10 price is that you need two times more customers than with a $20 price tag.

People won’t buy your game because of a low price.

That’s the main reason why lowering the price might be a wrong move and that’s why I always think that offering a quality product with a quality price works. The other reason why it works is that many people concentrate on lowering the price, when they should be concentrating on providing better quality: if you fell into that crowd you’ll end up having a lot of competition. On the other hand: if you decide that your game will have the $20 or even $30 price tag, and concentrate on making the quality reach that level – you’ll be competing in a different crowd.

People might say that the price is too high for them to buy, but doesn’t that go pretty much with anything one might but? I know I said to myself that I’d buy a simple cell phone with nothing fancy features and decided that it could cost maximum of $50 – simply because I don’t use phone that much. I ended up buying a $70 phone. What happened to my ‘strict max $50 price’ thinking? It vanished the realized there was no $50 phone in the store. Prices started from $60, and the phone with a color screen was ‘only’ $10 more expensive than the cheapest one so I ended up buying the more expensive. I don’t even need colors in my cell phone! For some strange reason I ended up buying $20 more expensive phone than I initially planned. Certainly if one goes to store and can easily spend ten or twenty or hundred bucks more than he initially though, then certainly your game doesn’t have to cost $10. Price it $20 or more and make the offer so that people simply cannot resist: make them want the product so much that the price comes irrelevant.

If somebody really wants to purchase your game, he doesn’t care if it costs $10, $20 or $30. No matter what the industry standard is.

When I launched Insiders I put a $50 price tag. Some people thought that the price was way too expensive and that nobody would join the Insiders with that price. Some people recommended dropping the price and charge $15-$30 yearly fee. Some of the comments were filled with advice and I read all of them – both the negative and the supporting – and realized I would need to increase the quality, rather than lower the price. I didn’t want to drop the price because I thought that people who would sign up would only need 2-3 sold units to get their money back.

As I said, I decided I would increase the quality. I decided that I would need to finish the Insider Sales Guide that’s filled with tips, hints, ideas, strategies, promotion methods and resources to get traffic and sales. Even though the manual is not finished, it’ll contain list of sites where developers can send news and announcements for free to get traffic. I’m also going to give members the possibility to send news to GameProducer.net – which over 11,000 unique visitors will see monthly – and the number is increasing all the time. Besides this I’m listing the members in the site (you can see all of them in the left menu) and I’m considering some sort of banner advertisement for members. I haven’t decided the details for banner ads, but I’m working on it. On top of all of this: I’m making sure that each member gets mentioned in the blog post, so that each of the members gets traffic also that way.

One central point of being Insider member is to have intelligent discussion at the forums without the noise. It made me really glad when Mr. Phil mentioned about his career plans, and I recommended him to use the major change in his life to promote his game business. He said “I didn’t even thought about that” – this made me feel good. I’m glad that I could help him some way and I’m sure that that single piece of advice along can give him great publicity – hopefully worth way over the membership fee. That’s one important point of the service: to help others. I’m not sure but after the last weekend – when I finished this article – I felt good about my decision, and after that there’s 3 new paid members who have joined the Insiders.

I really want you to the ponder and ask yourself the following question: “How can you increase the quality of service or product you are offering so that it proves to be worth much more than the price tag?” Can you help your company to give value of 100 or 1000 times the price you ask? If you can find a way and prove yourself worthy of more than you are asking, then you are sure to get what you want.

Dropping the price shouldn’t be the first strategy when you lack sales. Focus on improving your offering.

Use Pizza to Fund Your Game Development

Sponsors. They are surrounded by us, but not in indie games. I recently saw indiegamer discussion about a nice looking pizza game. I recommended them to check out if there would be some local pizza companies that could sponsor them. Perhaps there could be company logo displayed in the intro of the game, and perhaps the pizzas could be named after company or something.

The lesson here is this: sponsoring is something you can use to benefit. Think about companies at your city or in your country. Perhaps there could be some company that would be interested in getting their name mentioned. Maybe some candy company could be interested in your game using their visual elements?

There’s plenty of options – and as you know: you can’t fail by trying, you can only find ways that won’t work.

10 Easy Ways to Save Money

One of the best ways to get more money, is to save money. Even small adjustments on daily or weekly purchases will have a big difference in yearly perspective.

Here are some tips for saving money:

[1] Live cheaper: get an appartment where rent is $100 or $50 lower than in your current place.

[2] Buy less beer: even a small decrease in drinks will save you much money.

[3] Spend less time (and money) in pubs: they sell expensive drinks. You can save a lot by simply visiting less in these places.

[4] Don’t buy clothes so often or buy cheaper clothes. Another way to save money.

[5] Don’t buy so much candy, and choose cheaper coke with your pizza. They all taste the same, it’s the brand that costs.

[6] Don’t use car so often, use your feet.

[7] Instead of expensive food, consider purchasing cheaper alternatives. Milk, potatoes, bananas, meat etc. vary greatly depending their brand. Although, don’t eat cheap in the expense of healthy food: be sure to include lots of vegetables and fruits in your shopping cart.

[8] Instead of going to movies, buy cheaper DVDs

[9] Instead of buying cheaper DVDs, rent movies

[10] Instead of renting movies, watch them free on TV

[bonus tip] Instead of watching TV, get rid of it. Won’t save you money directly, but will definitely save your time.

You can save a lot by checking your spending habits on food, car and entertainment. Examine the things you purchase every day or week and make small adjustments. Don’t apply these hints on tools that save your time, or affect your health. It does no good in longer run to use inproper tools and ruin your health.

Basic Marketing Plan For Indie Games

(This article has been originally published at GamaSutra on May 19, 2006)

Basic Marketing Plan For Indie Games

Introduction

A marketing plan might sound something awfully hard to do for a game developer, but to briefly put it: the marketing plan is your flightplan on how to get your game to your players. The contents of a marketing plan can be divided into several sections. A strategic plan or the company’s business plan will describe the company’s strategic objectives. The marketing plan will focus on those major objectives, and how to reach those goals.

You don’t have to have tens of pages long marketing plan that you will never use. It’s much better to have a short plan that you use. Use your computer’s desktop wallpaper or a one page printed plan where you put the marketing plan: goals, actions and notes. Then use and refine the plan.

Contents of a Marketing Plan

These sections of a marketing plan are listed below.
[1] Goals
[2] Distribution
[3] Product
[4] Promotion
[5] Website
[6] Demo
[7] Measurement
[8] Maintenance
[9] Refinement

1. Goals – Make Sure You Know Where You Are Heading

Goals define where you are going. In an indie marketing plan, you can start by choosing the goal for the desired income. Then, you continue by adding the goals for sales, downloads, conversion rate, and the price for your product. Let’s assume your goal is to make $50.000. The pricing of a game may depend on several variables. You might look at what others are using and settle for $19.95. Or you might try a bargain price and go with $9.95. Some people have used $29.95. Depending on your game, the company’s profile, target market, you might price your game differently. It’s worth noting that you might want to adjust the price later. Maybe you realize that $9.95 is too low and go with $15.95 and still get the same number of sales. But for starters, let’s assume you use $19.95 as the price of your game.

The eCommerce provider gets about 10% of each sale, so the actual profit for you per game would be about $18. To make $50.000 you would need about 2800 sales. If you assume that one out of hundred players purchase your game, then game’s conversion rate would be 1.0%. The rule of thumb could be that very targeted games receive higher conversion rates, up to 2%, 3% or even 5% while more generic games, or games with severe competition may receive a .1% – .5% conversion rate. That means about 1-5 sales per 1000 downloads. Let’s assume you try to get your game’s quality to such a level that you receive a 1.0% conversion rate. Now as you do some math you can see that to reach 2800 sales you would need 280.000 downloads for your game.


Edoiki Concept Art

A goal wouldn’t be a goal without an exact date. Have an exact date for the goal. Split the goal in smaller divisions: months, quarters or years – or something that suits you best.

Example marketing plan goals for Edoiki game

The goals for Edoiki are:

* Direct Sales goal: $50.000 (after eCommerce provider expenses)
* Other Sales goal: $50.000 (after publisher/distributor expenses)
* Total Sales: $100.000

Exact direct sales details:

* Initial price: $19.95
* Conversion rate goal: 1.0%
* Downloads goal: 280.000
* Units goal: 2.800
* Deadline: By the end of 2007

The quarterly download & sales goals for direct distribution:

* Q3-Q4/2006 – 600 units, 60.000 downloads
* Q1-Q2/2007 – 1100 units, 110.000 downloads
* Q3-Q4/2007 – 1100 units, 110.000 downloads

2. Distribution – Select the Right Channels For Your Game

There are several options for distributing your game. Indie and casual games tend to follow these main distribution channels:

* Direct website store
* Retail stores
* Portals
* Content delivery systems
* Publisher channels

Depending on your company’s strategy, your marketing plan might use more than one distribution methods. An easy choice for direct selling would be to set up a website and concentrate on optimizing your website.

If you have a casual game, you might consider casual game portals. Different portals have different requirements for games. Here are some of the most common portals: Big Fish Games, EA’s Pogo, Gamehouse, GameXtazy, GameZone, Playfirst, Real Arcade, Shockwave, Trygames, Yahoo Games. Include the portals you want to target in your marketing plan and check the top 10 bestsellers from each portal. After you have gone through the list, you have a better understanding on what kind of games portals want and how you can improve your product to meet their guidelines. Indies typically sell through portals or through their own website, but retail stores can be a valuable choice to consider. It is possible to contact retailers directly but in some cases, it can be very difficult or practically impossible. However, you can make it so that it’s easy for them to contact you. Set up your company website in such way that distributors can easily get touch with you. Arrange the distribution options by country or by some other region. If you want to contact some publishers, then go on and make a deal. There are publishers that can deal with the retail stores.

Besides retail stores and portals, there’s always the publisher opportunity. There are many indie game publishers that can get a deal for you: some of the popular ones are Garage Games, Indiepath and PopCap. All these companies provide different terms, and your marketing plan can change depending on the deals you make. If you commit yourself to creating an exclusive deal with some of the publishers, then you might not be allowed to sell the game through your website, thus making direct selling options unavailable. Besides pure publishers, there are also content delivery systems available. Valve’s Steam is perhaps the biggest example and could be appealing to indies.

Your marketing plan should tell you which channels you are going to use, and which ones you’ll ignore.

Edoiki distribution channels

Edoiki will be sold directly through Edoiki website. Besides the direct websites we’ll approach Mumbo Jumbo/United Developers and Tri Synergy to discuss retail channels. There are other retail opportunities: Dreamcatcher/The Adventure Company, Cylon Interactive, Merscom, MWR connected– some of them will be considered in the future, while some of them will be ignored.

We will also contact a few publishers for a non-exclusive deals. The first ones to target are Shrapnelgames, JoWood and Matrix Games. Edoiki will omit the casual game portals, as the game is targeting a different audience.

We’ll also approach Valve and discuss the distributing opportunity via Steam.

3. Product – Have Something to Sell

Offer a high-quality product that people want to purchase. If the conversion rate is very low, then it might suggest that your product simply doesn’t offer enough quality. Ask what players and other developers think about your product and refine the product until you start hearing that the only problem with your game is that “it’s too addictive”. Remember: the low conversion rate doesn’t necessarily indicate a bad product. Ask people: if you hear comments that say that your product is fine but the website or the demo are poor, then forget polishing the product and move on to the next step in the marketing plan.

Make sure your product offering is in sync with your distribution strategy. If you are aiming for the portals, make sure your game appeals the portals and their players. If you are using retailers to get hardcore gamers to play your game, you need to design your product for the retail store customers.

4. Promotion – Make People Aware of Your Game

The next step in the marketing plan is to choose how to get people information about your product. You need to make people aware of your game and either guide them to your website for more information, or to get them to download the game through various sources. How you make the offer depends on the market segments your company has targeted. There are different types of players, games and needs. “Casual gamers” have different playing habits than “hardcore gamers”. 6-year old kids play differently compared to 15- or 30-year old players. Females and males have different needs and wants for games. In Japan , they favor different kinds of games than in Germany . It’s your job to define the market segments, and decide which segment (or segments) you choose to target your marketing.

There are several ways to segment the consumer market. The four common marketing segmentation variable types are: geographic (most likely world region or country, but also cities), demographic (age, gender, education, religion, occupation, income, family size), psychographic (social class, lifestyle, personality) and behavioral (casual to heavy user, attitude towards service, loyalty towards company, awareness stage, attitude towards product, genre, favorite games). Also the technical aspects (speed of Internet connection, age of computer) could be included in the segmentation.

After you have chosen the segments, you position your marketing message. Positioning is arranging your whole market offering in a way that it distinguishes your product. If you position yourself as offering the lowest price for young strategy gamers then the market message is much different than if you try to get offer high-quality, non-violent games for very religious players.

After you have selected your target segments, you need to reach those audiences in different ways. Here’s a list of promotion efforts you might want to consider: major download sites, advertising, press releases, PAD services, magazine reviews, website reviews, news sites, other major websites, blogs, contests, nominations, affiliates, articles, forums, conferences, banner ads, text link ads, link exchanges and newsletters. There are also very creative options such as advertising banner in your own car back window or leaving demo CDs in busses – so use your imagination.

Depending on your distribution channel options, the promotion could be totally handled by the parties you are dealing with. If you sign a publishing deal, then you can expect the publisher to take care of the promotion.

Edoiki promotion efforts

Edoiki aims to please board gamers and non-casual gamers, players that are addicted to the online multiplayer game experience, and look for games where they can challenge their friends. These gamers don’t necessarily have a favorite genre, their main goals is to play with friends – as long as the game is good. They are over 20 and mostly male. Their income level is more than $10,000 yearly and they can spend $20 or $30 easily for entertainment now and then. Our players own a high-speed internet connection (256 KB or better) or at least a fast IDSN connection. Our players have at least basic understanding of the English language, they are interested in Japanese/Chinese mythology and know something about Eastern cultures.

Edoiki will use several promotion methods: Google Adwords targeted directly to board games, banner ads on multiplayer and similar online sites, multiplayer gaming forums, press releases, newsletter announcements, major review sites, article writing, community forums, PromoSoft PAD service, blogs, entering the Independent Games Festival.

5. The Website – Get Players to Download Your Game Demo

The indie game marketing plan lists what you will do for your website. Your website’s main purpose is to get people to download the demo of your game. That means your plan should include the steps you will take to enhance the website’s marketing capabilities. If your site gets visitors that visit only the first page and leave without downloading, then you need to refine your website. The other reason for your website to exist is to get people to purchase your game. Make sure user can access to purchase page within one or two mouse clicks.

Edoiki website

Edoiki website will use a virtual private server to handle traffic and make sure the system is online every hour of day. The website will present screenshots, player forums, contact information, company information and present clear and easily distinguishable download and purchase buttons. The website won’t use Javascript or font that would make it hard to use the site. The headline of the site will be tested and the game requirements, features and any other game-related hints & tips will be listed. The site graphics will be polished by the game artist.

The website traffic will be estimated and website specific goals (the rate of downloads) will be refined to meet the download goals after initial number of downloads are received.

6. The Demo – Get Players To Purchase Your Game

Your game demo has only one single goal: to close the deal, to get the player to purchase the game. It’s very important to have a good demo version of your game that fills its purpose. If the conversion rate – the rate of people who purchase the game after testing it – is low, then you might need to adjust your demo. Concentrate on following issues:

[1] Demo feature limitations: does the demo have limited features (like less units, levels, powers etc.) compared to the full version? Are you sure you are telling the player what he will get if he buys? Add nag screens to both beginning and the end of the demo. Use those screens to explain the limitations and benefits of purchasing the game.

[2] Demo time limitations: time limitation combined with feature limitations can be advantageous: offer 15 demo launches or 60 minutes of gameplay, or a 30-day period. Or try something in between.

[3] Guide the player to make the purchase: is it easy (within one or two mouse clicks) for player to purchase your game or enter to your game’s purchase page? If not, adjust the demo.

7. Measurement – Be Aware of What’s Going On

The only way to make sure you are flying in the right direction is to constantly check where you are heading: be sure to measure impacts of different modifications. If you decide to change the price, promotion or demo, be sure to measure the effects. Conduct an A/B split test for your game price: try both a $20 and a $30 price to see which one works better. Offer a money back guarantee and measure how it impacts sales. Do you get more sales with different demo limitations? Test it. Do the sales increase if you offer a better tutorial in game? Does it help to have nag screens in the beginning and in the end of the demo?

Be aware of where you are flying.

8. Maintenance – Make Sure The Passengers Are Happy

Your marketing plan involves maintenance: how are you going to deal with the customers and build such a relationship with your current customers that they come back and purchase from you again. Customer support could include FAQ lists, support databases, and automated emails. Your marketing plan should describe how you will maintain the relationship with your customers. Will you use support forums or outsource your customer support? Will you use customer relationship management (CRM) tools? Will there be an online chat available for those who purchase? Will you use blogs or newsletters to inform the players about your product updates?

Your marketing plan will tell you how you will deal with the relationship: it will tell you whether you let your publisher or portals handle customer support, or use all or some of the methods discussed earlier.

9. Refinement – Adjust Your Flight Plan

The last step in the marketing plan is to refine the plan. Go to step 1 and adjust your goals. If you think your conversion rate is dropping to .5% feel free to double the goal for download number. As you double your download number goal you know that you need to focus on more promotion rather than optimizing the demo, website or product. On the other hand, if you choose to refine the conversion rate, then you know that you should focus on the quality of your game, demo or website rather than promotion.

Conclusions

The indie game marketing plan describes the goals derived from a company’s strategic objectives. The main idea for the marketing plan is to describe the goals, decide the actions necessary to reach those goals, measure and eventually refine the plan as the production progresses.

Promote Your Game With Software Submissions

One of the promotion methods that an indie game developer can do is to submit your product to different software sites. Doing the job manually can be extremely time consuming process. Luckily, there are alternatives to doing it completely manually. Even though the impact of download site submission has less meaning today than it had some years ago, they are still viable promotion channel besides portals or press releases. Submiting to major download sites and software sites leads to sites linking to you, downloads – and eventually in sales.

Major software submission sites
It’s hard to pick the best download sites, but indies generally seem to agree that submiting your game to download.com is a good idea. I think the same, so I recommend you to check the site.

Software submission tools
Besides manual submission, you can also take advantage of submitting your game to hundreds of different software sites. Submission tools can help you to do the job.

Develab’s PromoSoft offers a fully automatic software submission tool. It’s said to be fast & accurate software submission. They say that site submission to hundreds of sites won’t take more than 15 minutes. We will definitely consider this tool to use in our game releases.

Accusolve’s Shareware Tracker is a gret tool for submitting shareware – it still requires time to do, but SWTracker makes it bit easier. We bought and used the tool in the past (before I knew about PromoSoft), and it’s simply nice if you want some help in doing the submission.

Rudenko Sofwater’s RoboSoft is another submission tool. I have tested the tool, but didn’t like the way the submission was done. SWTracker simply looked and felt better for us, so we chose that in the past.

Software submission services
If you don’t want to do the submission by yourself, there’s also the option to use services by other people:

Glimmer Games offers a software submission service with a very low cost price: $29. If you don’t plan to submit your game several times (for example: when announcing new versions) then this is definitely an offer worth looking.

Rudenko Software offers also a site submission service that has a variety of details and a big list of shareware sites. The price is quite high ($70 for one promotion program) – with that price you could almost purchase a submission tool and do it yourself – or purchase GG’s offer 2-3 times.

Bottom line
I definitely recommend submitting your software to download.com. Ater that, depending how much control you want, use either PromoSoft or Glimmer Games to submit your game to hundreds of software sites.

18 Approaches for Setting the Right Price For Your Game

One of the main concerns for indie game producers is how to price the game. Simplest method would be to use the ‘magical’ $19.95 price for your game, but there are more approaches available. Selecting the right price for your product is one of the key decisions in selling. Common objectives for pricing can be profit maximization, or simply – survival.

Approach #1 – Competition-based pricing
Perhaps the most widely used pricing is done according to the industry norms: shareware games are sold with a $19.95 price that, and indies simply use this as their starting point for pricing.

Approach #2 – Value-based pricing
Other bit different way to price your game is to offer the right combination of quality and good service at fair price. In this way, it’s possible to set a price based on buyers’ perceptions of value. People tend to think that a game with $29 or $39 price tag may be somehow better than a $15 or $9 priced game.

Approach #3 – One-time, monthly and yearly pricing
Typical way to purchase a game is to pay one time fee and that’s it. Other way to price the game is to offer a 3-months or 12-months license for your game. Some developers offer a $50 price tag for a ‘yearly guild membership’, which basically means the possiblity to play the game and get free updates during one year.

Approach #4 – Cost-based pricing
In this method – which I believe is not very commonly used in indie game markets – a certain markup is set. For example, if your costs for selling one copy of your game is $3 and you want to earn $10 per game, then the final price of your game would be $13.

Approach #5 – Break-even pricing or target profit pricing
You may determine a price at which it will break even. Target pricing uses the concept of a break-even chart where certain number of purchases at certain price, reach the break-even point (the point where all costs have been covered).

Approach #6 – Price skimming
This type of strategy for pricing charges more in the launch of a game, and then constantly decreases the price to achieve different segments. For example, it could use the price of $29 in the launch of a game, $25 one year after the launch, $19 two years after and $9 three years after the launch. While not so typical for indie games, this type of pricing can be used.

Approach #7 – Penetration pricing
In this type of pricing, the company sets his game price so low that they try to achieve a bigger market share. This might not be so viable for indie who is selling one game, but could be doable for a portal that offers much games with low price as they try to enter. (I personally don’t think this type of pricing is a good option, as there’s always freeware games that will be ‘priced’ lower. )

Approach #8 – Freeware pricing
In this option the company chooses to launch their game as freeware hoping it to bring other type of revenue (such as sponsors and advertisement revenue) and promote their next (commercial) game or games. The problem with freeware is the ‘free’ part of it – people who play freeware games might not be the ones you want to target, as they want to play for free. The other problem is webhosting costs (unless you get a sponsor) that might get high for very popular freeware.

Approach #9 – Expansion pack pricing (Add-on or Optional-product pricing)
Optional-product pricing takes into consideration of the expansions of the main product. For example, a game could get an add-on that would increase 100 more levels to the original game. Or a game could have an expansion pack which would bring 3 new playbale characters and 20 new weapons for the original game. Each expansion would require that the player has previously purchased the original product.

Approach #10 – Captive-product pricing
In this way of pricing a so captive price is set, but the really good stuff needs to be purchased differently. For example, one could play an online multiplayer game for free (or really low-cost) but would need to purchase additional expansions to be able to play the game efficiently. This type of pricing is bit different to previously mentioned expansion pack pricing, as it uses different price for main product.

Approach #11 – By-product pricing
In this type of pricing a very low price is set to something “trash” that is born as a by-product. A real life non-game example could be the zoo animal poo that’s sold to farmers. In games (very far fetched) this could be design notes or hints and tips that could be sold to players. (I don’t know how well that would work… but at least now you know there’s option for this kind of pricing).

Approach #12 – Product bundle pricing
Selling several games in one pack for discounted price, or selling game and expansion pack for discounted price.

Approach #13 – Discount and allowance pricing
Players get discounts for example if they purchase the product within 5 days, or if they have opted-in for a newsletter, or if they pre-order the game.

Approach #14 – Segmented pricing
Developers can also try selling the same product with different prices: for example, give different price for students or women or any other segment.

Approach #15 – Pscyhological pricing
Seller doesn’t only think about the financial but also psychological factors. High price is thought to be quality. There could be low or high-cost reference prices that can remind the seller about the quality. Marketers suggest that a game that costs $29.95 has a price of only 5 cents lower than $30 but the customer sees the game in price range of $20, not $30.

Approach #16 – Bargain pin pricing
Don’t set a low price – bargain price – for your game. Low price is not the reason why people purchase your game, it’s the quality of your offering that has the greatest impact on purchasing decicion. If they really like your game, they can purchase it at a price of $30, but if they hate your game, they won’t purchase it even if you would give it a $2.00 price tag.

Approach #17 – Price testing
Whatever price approaches you choose to use, one of the key factors is to test your pricing. You may try offering discounts for 10% of your newsletter subscribers, and normal price for 10%. According to the result (how many people purchases at discounted price versus normal price): you may give discounted or normal price for the rest of the 80% of subscribers. If you don’t have such a large newsletter database, you may simply offer the discount for one month’s period and then compare the data (downloads versus purchases in different periods of time) and tweak your pricing. Some eCommerce providers have automatical A/B split systems that let you test different pricing for your products.

Approach #18 – Customer life time pricing
Another very important factor in pricing is to calculate the life-time value of an average customer. You shouldn’t aim to get as many people to buy once, but to acquire customers that purchase several times. The cost of getting a new customer is much higher than selling to someone who has previously purchased from you. Consider what kind of offering you can give, and consider setting the price of your product and possible add-ons in a way that it will maximize the total customer revenue – don’t focus on single payment.

Why People Buy Your Game?

Do you know why people buy your game? Would you like to know?

The simple way to know the answer is to ask your customers. Ask what they made the purchase. Ask what they like most and what they dislike. You might get answers that you couldn’t think of seeing. If you haven’t asked before, do it now.

I don’t suggest spamming people many times in order to get answers. Instead, if possible – email only those who have opted for “send me information about your products” when they ordered your game. If you don’t have that information, then make a short statement in the beginning of the email and explain what you want to ask, and how much it will take their time.

When you have asked the question, you can rest assured that many of the customers are more than delighted to tell why they love your game.

After you’ve got the answer – you can use it to enchance your business strategy. If you know that your gamers like most about the ‘freedom’ or ‘challenge’ or other feature, you might want to use it that in your marketing. Perhaps you already are building a games around some specific niche, but lack the exact marketing message. Let your customers help you.

The First Mistake to Avoid When Your Game Is Not Selling

When people put their game online and start selling it without success they first think about the price. That’s the number one mistake. If your game doesn’t sell with price tag of $20, it won’t sell at price tag of $10. Do NOT drop the price of your product and wait it to enchance your sales.

It won’t.

Instead – focus on other issues, such as promotion or your product quality. Polish your website and make a better demo. Ask fellow developers for hints and do what suggested. Don’t decrease the price of your game. Increase the quality of your game.

Challenge #3: How to Make Your Game Sell More

This time bit different challenge… I want to challenge you readers to show a game you are selling and then all participants can suggest hints & tips on how to improve the sales of those games. The hints can be suggestions about improving website, changing gameplay, adding new visuals, giving more info… anything that comes to your mind.

If you want to announce a game, please give the following information:
- Website
- Download link
- Optionally details like conversion rate or promotion methods you are currently using.

Just comment on this entry and let others know about your game – and get more sales.

Yesterday, I announced that Pre-Ordering of Edoiki will be made available. If you have no game to announce, feel free to give me your suggestion on how I could get more people to pre-order the game.

Good way to think about the improvements is to ask: What would this game need so that I would purchase it?