Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Noisy Badger Not Noisy Enough

After releasing Viral a few weeks ago now, poor sales have forced a new approach to how we make, release, and promote our games.

The excitement of having created and actually put out there a game of our own was quickly eroded by what we saw as much less than adequate sales. I’m not going to go into specific numbers exactly, but day one sales were only 25% of what were projected. Drop off in sales per day was, ironically enough, exactly as I had projected in our business plan, so at least I was right on that, but without that initial starting volume, Viral as a product was making nowhere near enough money.

So the Noisy Badger hive mind (Alex and I) held crisis talks. It was more than evident that we had done not nearly enough promotion for the project, so that was our starting point. I arranged an online targeted search, keyword relevant marketing campaign, which simply means that if anyone googled relevant search terms that I had chosen, an advert for Viral would show up alongside the search results. From this we achieved a click through rate of around 5%, which is a fantastic result as the best a campaign can usually achieve is 2%. However, it affected our sales in no way whatsoever.

Our second component of the marketing campaign was to give out press releases to as many sites as we could, which then got reposted on other blogs all over the world, which gave us some expansive coverage but only within the core gaming community.

Thirdly, we created a “lite” version of the game. Results from the success of this facet of the campaign are yet to be seen however as after a thirteen day wait, apple still have not processed the app. I’ve emailed to ask what’s going on, but am yet to receive a reply.

Finally, I sent a number of free codes with a nice letter to a number of review sites, however with such a large volume of games being submitted for review the chances of ours getting picked for review are slim.

Not to be disheartened, We began work on two more games immediately, one of which is complete and has been submitted, the second we are in the process of wrapping up currently.

The first game, Bloove, is a simple puzzle game, the core mechanic of which centres around tilting the iOS device to move rectangular blocks around a board in order to slide them into randomly spawning catches.

However, we realised early in development that this title was not strong enough to justify charging even the minimum we could on the app store (59p) and were going to forget the project, when we realised we could still benefit from it by finishing it and releasing it for free, with ad support. My personal thinking on any sort of ad support in games is pretty simple, if I paid for it I don’t want to see ads, but if I get something for free in return for seeing an advertisers’ logo or whatever I’m happy.

Assuming my thinking is similar to most peoples, I was ok with the structure of release, as was Alex. We also put in two of our own adverts at the start of the game as splash screens, which show an advert for Viral, and our upcoming release, MooJooce!

Here’s the ads-

So we await the results of this latest endeavour. Suppose I should talk a little about MooJooce!

MooJooce (it does have an exclamation mark at the end of the title but I’m sick of typing and the word following the exclamation mark autocorrecting! To! Have! A! Capital! Letter! At! The! Beginning) Is a puzzle game in which the player is charged with correctly putting the right colour lids onto bottles of milk as they come off a production line. The challenge lies in the fact that they have to match together three of the same lidded bottles each time to progress, by lining up the bottles correctly in front of three conveyor belts which randomly generate different coloured lids.

AAAAND breathe. Ok it honestly makes sense in game, and its a hell of a lot simpler than I’ve made it sound there, buy it, you’ll see :D. Really should clean up that description before I start sending out press releases.

That’s all for this post people, think the next one I’ll do will be on the dramatic shift between job roles that happens post release, from Games Designer to Marketing Executive.



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