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Old 11-02-2013, 03:35 PM
joku joku is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 193
Default Marketing

I see two main reasons why Soldak games aren't more popular: graphics and marketing.

The graphics aren't the greatest. This keeps the system requirements really low (which is great), but it also means that anyone used to today's graphics will immediately be turned off (to varying degrees) by looking at screenshots and gameplay videos of these games. But I think this effect can be mitigated with better marketing.

Let's face it: the marketing for these games sucks. I don't mean to offend by saying that. It's perfectly understandable; none of you are marketers after all. But in order for these games to get the kind of sales that they deserve, marketing needs to improve.

Let's take a look at the Drox Operative Greenlight page as an example. The first thing I notice when visiting the page is the very loud note that starts off the trailer which plays automatically. It doesn't really have anything to do with marketing, but in the future you might want to consider starting off your trailers a little bit softer.

As for the content of the trailer, we get to see the game's combat, some more combat, and we also get to see a bit of combat. While combat does make up a large portion of the game, so does loot and diplomacy. Between the trailer and the screenshots, we don't see a single shot of the inventory, character screen, diplomacy screen, trading, interaction with the races in any way, the sector map, quests, or anything really that suggests a deeper game than just flying around shooting stuff. Someone looking at just the trailer and screenshots would have no clue that it was an ARPG, or that it involved diplomacy in any way.

Someone in the comments of the Greenlight page already mentioned the description. I think you might have updated it since then, but one point still stands. The way you describe the history of the Drox and go into the races vying for power only to flip it at the end, I'm not sure it's the best way to go. Describing something vaguely boring and then saying that it's not what this game is about can only work if it's read all the way to the end. A person who saw the trailer and screenshots might start reading that as the just the backstory to what appears to be a fairly straightforward space shooter, and then skip down to the features. And quite frankly, the features don't do too much to disenforce* that impression. It's a nice idea, but it's just not going to hook people the way it should.

Another thing that would help immensely is some review from some of the bigger outlets (IGN, Gamespot, PC Gamer, etc.). Now, I'm not too sure on how these places decide what games to review, but I imagine you would have to sell them on your game, make them see that it's worth spending their time on. You have probably already attempted this, apparently unsuccessfully. With a better pitch, you might be able to persuade them as well as the average customer.

Toward this end, I think it might be wise to hire a professional marketer. I have no ideas as to the cost or your budget or the reliability of marketers delivering on their promises, but I think it's something you should definitely consider if you haven't already.

What I do know is if you want the sales you deserve, something needs to change on this front.

* It's a new word I made up. Better in this context than the alternatives.
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:07 PM
PixelLord's Avatar
PixelLord PixelLord is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 635

Took it all to heart. No... no marketing wizards here. Hope the new Drox movie (trailer?) is more in line with what you were thinking. I read your suggestions - all good BTW - and used many of them. Thanks for the input.

We'd actually bought a new PC for this before your post with the sole purpose of using it to make some better videos. Your suggestions were very valuable. Just wish we had a big advertising budget. Thanks again joku.
Stephen A. Hornback
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Old 11-15-2013, 03:23 AM
ScrObot ScrObot is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 258

The Gaslamp Games guys seem to have gotten someone to do their marketing for them in advance of Clockwork Empires, and it seems to have worked -- I definitely saw a barrage of posts on a variety of sites when they released their latest teaser trailer. I don't know if they went with an outside firm or an in-house PR type person. Either way there's a non-trivial amount of money involved, but it may be worth it in the long run. *shrug*
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