Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How well was my game doing? A conflict about marketing and game design.

It's been a while, but I'm adjusting my life to fit this place. I still haven't gathered all essential things I must have including gas, room curtain, air conditioner (that will acts as a heater), bicycle and most importantly mobile phone with internet! But it is liveable now.

So how was my game, Duel Otters?

In many people's perspective, I'm sure this is called "not selling well". After all year of dedicated work all you got is THIS? Well, yes, if all you think about it is 'money'.

It may looked like as if I'm biased for my own game, but I have to admit that the fact is "This game is fun" after playing with many friends, both Thai and overseas. Most of the time they had fun, they commented they liked the character, music, innovation and quality times they got from this 2 players game. That is, its objective was fulfilled. Notice that I did not mentioned 'money'.

Yet, its last objective, is I wanted many people to have this game in their phone. This game was never meant to be played regularly. I wanted them to keep this game in their phone, and pull it out when they're with someone to play with.

Turned out that this is a major issue in marketing the game. I have consulted with my seniors about ways to marketing this game. The result is this game is 'not marketable', they said, and to successfully market the game they have to add and tweak many things to suit their market plan. Such as freemium, social features, scoreboard, online play, sharing... This game had none 'by design', and has no way to utilise all the popular marketing strategy.

Of course I did thought about all that possibility and great marketing features that will come with them. I have seen many 'successful' games today using all that.

But what if, what if the game I wanted to make is just not that? Because this idea was so cool and interesting to do and no one have ever done a satisfying upside-down 2 players game before. If I modified the game into freemium it will greatly affects the genre of this game, and it wouldn't be unique anymore. This is the case where personal desire can hurt your own business.

The conclusion is, this is why there are no games like this in the App Store. The plan will just simply be discarded in the planning phase if it was destined to be unsuccessful and unmarketable thus unprofitable. The game like this will not be made in the first place. In business perspective, that is.

I may have done the same if I was a startup since it's so risky. If I paid salary to all my friends and in the end I got just this tiny amount of income I would as well killed myself by now, lol.

But I was lucky, my team is not a startup. My team is an indies, a group of hobbyist, or whatever you wanted to call. I have paid no salary to anyone. We have never quitted our work. Sure the workflow is really slow, but this setup has enabled this unique game, Duel Otters, to be made. The game that will otherwise be scrapped if 'money' is the issue.

Sure I wanted more money, but if I go that route I'm sure I would have to sacrifice some of what I have already gotten today, and I may even can't get all the money I hoped for at all because that route is so against my style. I believe in this route I have taken to be the best one. And the future of this route may lies ahead some way to successfully market this game, who knows? I don't know, but I'll try to do it.

You may call me weird, but I'm in the very fine balance between my dreams, my hobbies, and my life right now.

What about you, readers, what do you live for?