New Digg

Digg is doing an update – a pretty good one. What I understood is that you get to list cool stories that have been dugg by your buddies (be they digg friends or facebook pals or twitter folks).

Currently testing to put my RSS feed there to be digged automatically. And if you want to promote your blog, I recommend you do the same. Here’s my verification key: 0913f1b25e884624b21c268f5ad961db (feel free to ignore this, digg just seems to want this – you cannot do anything with this key. Sorry).

Update: Basically, to set this thing go to Go to “settings > import feed” and then type your RSS url in the (mine happened to be http://www.gameproducer.net/feed/). Then make a blog post or add comment with the verification key, and wait 1 or 2 days… mine just got verified.

The Best Mailing List Unsubscribe Page I’ve Ever Seen

Check Tell Tale Games and subscribe to their mailing list. Then unsubscribe. Pretty fun text… where they try to convince me to stay. It’s pretty nice idea for “viral marketing”. Their effort got some guy (that would be me) to blog about their site’s mailing list. And this was simply by having a bit different unsubscribe page for a mailing list.

There is indeed possibilities for marketing everywhere. Even when customer is about to step away from your store.

I’m Pretty Proud of My Boycott

Three-ish years ago I bought a DVD that I tried to return. The store pretty much said “screw you” when I tried to return a $5 DVD that wouldn’t work on a DVD player I bought from that (remember, that I hadn’t tried Daniel Kinney’s excellent idea about returning things – see the comment on Daniel’s idea in the old blog post). Basically, I couldn’t return $5 DVD and it certainly would have cost me more to fight about the issue, since it was only 5 bucks.

Well, couple of weeks ago I was pondering that “shite it”, I’ve been boycotting the store enough (had purchased tons of DVDs, printer, new TV and whatnot elsewhere rather from this ex-favourite store of mine). I’ll go check if they have some new anime moviews. I went to the store.

I checked out the DVDs and felt bit bad remembering how I got treated, but then got into mood for checking in DVDs. I eventually picked one movie and started walking towards the cashier.

I saw the same saleswoman who was “helping” me with that DVD return few years back and I stopped walking.

All the things got back to my mind. I turned back, put the DVD back to shelf and walked away.

I thought – I can get this DVD from somewhere else.

I haven’t counted… but I think this DVD shoppe has lost quite a bit of money, which some other stores have got. But… if that boycott shoppe want to have $5 and problems instead of a customer who has insane urge to buy stuff, then fine by me. Who am I to tell them what to do?

This reminds me about something. Going to see if I can get Samurai Champloo in my hands.

From some other store than the boycott shoppe, naturally.

Pretty crazy what $5 can lead into.

Baby Stores Are True Schools of Marketing For Game Developers

I’ve visited a baby gear shoppe a few times (first time that I can recall) and these stores sure know how to sell. We purchased baby bath (among other stuff) and it’s pretty amazing what these stores do saleswise. They are selling everything and anything. It was quite eye-opening and I immediately started pondering what opportunities game distributors must be missing.

Let me break down the “baby bath” (10 dunno how many euros it cost) sales.

  • The actual baby bath: there was several options ranging from 10 eur to at least 20 eur (and my guess is that there’s higher priced options as well). Some models had different plugs and their shape was different. This was bit like up-selling in games: “buy the basic version for 10 eur, but if you get the collectors edition for 20 eur you can have this nice thing with you”. Why there’s no collectors edition for indie games – like with some sort of extra perks or something to praise with others? Maybe even limited collectors edition or something. Could work?
  • Baby bath “thing that makes it stay higher so your back won’t hurt”. Cost (can’t remember) but let’s put 20 eur here again. So, after you purchase the actual product you can also purchase a thing that makes the baby bathing better for your back. This reminded me bit of a cross-selling in games (“buy this game, but also buy this other game because you want it”), but I wonder if there’s any other ways to do cross-selling in games. Selling mouse pads or game t-shirts is pretty tricky since the margins are probably so low that it doesn’t make much sense. Some sort of membership or additional things outside the game could be considered here. (Any ideas?)
  • All the other stuff… all sort of soap, rubber ducks and stuff – they’ve got it. People who go to the store to buy a baby bath come out with a truckload of stuff in their hands. I think some game distributors have managed to do something similar. In Valve’s Steam, at least for me, it’s easy to end up picking some games and just buy them. The process is painless, simple and… convenient. If I want to get some fun lil game, I probably can get it from Steam pretty easily. This is something that indies probably have hard time doing (if they don’t have a huge catalog of games), but definitely something that portals can manage. If they have things to sell… somebody will buy it.
  • They were not selling for the baby… they definitely were selling for parents. Babies probably know anything about some sort of squicky toy lying somewhere in the bath (room). Maybe at some point they understand this, but I kind of feel that 80% of the “nice stuff because baby needs it” parents buy are pretty much useless. And after people get their second baby, they end up selling tons of baby gear they thought they’d need. Not basing this on personal experience – just a hunch telling me after seeing all the baby bath stuff in the shop. -Game devs can benefit strong brands. I’ll give an example. I think I’m not a “true Tolkien fan(atic)” (really), but I do have the books (one of them tice), all the extended edition movies, Middle Earth pen & paper RPG (somewhere), Battle for Middle Earth video game (best multiplayer RTS ever made btw), Lotr Conquest video game (or something like that, can’t remember the game – tested it just once), Lord of the Rings board game (and one expansion to this), Lotr Confrontation board game, Middle Earth Quest board game (just bought)… and probably some other stuff related to Middle Earth brand. Stuff worth hundreds of euros. And seriously – I’m not a Tolkien fan fan. I don’t run naked around hills screaming “precious” or anything like that. I don’t know where Fangorn is located but I do like Tolkien stuff. So – if you can “brand” something… those fans will come buy your stuff. No matter what you sell. (Note to self: stop buying Tolkien stuff)
  • Loyalty discount: Store gives you credits that you can use later to get a discount. Pretty simple idea. “You get credits for your purchase, and can use those credits next time you come here”. I actually found it slightly irritating (I could have just got the immediate discount to be honest) but I guess that’s one thing to consider.

Bottom line: I’m so in trouble when it comes to baby purchases.

Happy New Year Marketing

Check out this pic – it’s a greeting card featuring main character from Lylian game.

Did you remember to craft a custom happy new year card for your players? You get only one chance every year (mark this in your calendar), and emailing them is a good way to remind them about your existence.

This type of stuff can go viral. I liked that pic. Now I’ve blogged about it. Maybe others would do the same.

And it’s not really that important if it doesn’t go viral. It’s cool to do those happy new year (or xmas) cards. People like them too. That’s why I’m doing them.

(A tiny bonus hint: remember to ensure that you have domain name visible somewhere so people know where to go…)

Why Garry’s Mod Is The Most Successful Indie Product In Steam?

When you go to check Steam indie games and click “top sellers”, the chances are that you’ll see Garry’s Mod listed there in top 10. Over the years, it has pretty much always been there (at least when I’ve checked the list).

In fact, it’s the only top selling indie product that was released in 2006. That’s quite a long time to stay on top.

In my books, that’s the most successful indie product in Steam.

Why is that?

I’d have a few ideas on that (there’s some marketing points in here, so it might be actually a good idea to read this. At least the thing where word “pack” is mentioned):

  • It’s not a “real” game, as there’s no goals – it’s a toy. (Please, let’s just agree on this? Games=goals, toys=games with no goals). Toy that let’s you play around.
  • It’s a toy… but also a “sandbox game” where you can bring new items and mess with them.
  • You can construct: put your creativity in the work. And just construct. For people like me (who like to create, like many do) it’s a huge satisfaction to see and do new creations.
    It’s moddable. Strange as it sounds, but this mod is actually moddable and people have created their own game modes which other people can try.
  • It’s wacky: you can pose characters in funny positions. Save screenshots. And then hear your friends laughing.
  • It’s social. I think this is a huge thing. In this game/toy… you get to create new things and then you can share your creations. Naturally you can do this in other games, but in garry’s mod it’s kind of like expected: why create funny faces unless you plan to take screenshots and tell your friends. I’d guess there’s underlying expectation about sharing things created with garry’s mod. (I might be totally wrong on this).
  • It’s been updated: since it’s a mod, whenever Valve brings new stuff or games (like Team Fortress 2), garry’s mod got tons of content (naturally with some work, but anyway).
  • The price is probably very right.
  • Valve’s promotion. As garry’s mod is made for Valve’s product, there’s good chances to get promotion made by Valve. For example, now you can purchase a pack “Garry’s Mod + Team Fortress 2″. Valve has interest to sell TF2, so Garry’s mod benefits from that. You don’t get to see “Team Fortress 2 + (random indie game)” being sold in a pack. Cross-selling is a good thing, and when you can stick your product close to other (very popular) product, you are in a good place.
  • It got there first. Being first isn’t always a good thing (as competitors can come and ruin your thing by doing something better), but garry’s mod pretty much was there first to provide a wacky mod for Valve’s products. It got there first, and is holding the lead. Why bother buying some other wacky mod (don’t even know if there is any?) as garry’s mod is the popular one?

Last but not definitely least:

  • It’s indie made.

And everybody knows that indie made stuff rocks.

What Pringles Taught Me About Marketing (And Cross-Selling)

When Pringles was introduced here in Finland, I remember myself thinking: “why on earth would anybody buy such expensive chips in such a weird packages?”

Ten years later… I only buy Pringles when I buy chips.

I guess the process went like this in my head:

  • New weird chips? I’ll stick to what’s familiar
  • (later…) Hmm, I guess I could try these new chips for once
  • (more later…) Hey, I could buy Pringles again, those were yammy
  • (more more later…) They actually are darn good together with goat milk cheese. I wonder why I first thought that these were weird chips..

So… something “weird” might get some time for people to get used to it. But… by doing same thing differently (basically Pringles chips were packed in a box, while other chips were packed in a… some thing) at least you get their attention.

By cleverly looking different, they totally got me.

The only thing they missed to do was to make a cross-selling deal with the goat milk cheese manufacturers. Since goat milk cheese + pringles is like awesome combination. They would have got me years earlier if they’d let me know that this is a killer combination.

I guess we all can learn something new every day…

I Don’t Buy Games That Cost 99¢ But I could Buy One For 0.99 Dollars

Just some somebody selling game for “99¢”. To me it looked expensive. Maybe it’s just my Finnish location and unfamiliar symbol, but 99 cents looks more expensive than 0.99 dollars (even though the cost is the same).

Maybe it’s just me.

But in case that odd thing happens and there’s other people like me… then maybe it’s a good idea to sell games for 0.99 dollars instead of 99 cents.

Is it?

Who knows.