Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Capitalizing on the portal effect

My website looks more like a games portal than many indie developer sites. the reason for this is simple, I have more games. Depending on your screen resolution, you currently see images of GSB, GTB, Democracy 3, Redshirt and Kudos 2 on the front page. This is a huge advantage for an indie. It basically means I have five times the chances to capture a gamers interest if I can get them to my site. If you have ONE game, and you run an ad, or have some PR that drives traffic, you need to be 100% sure that visitor is interested. Sometimes they don’t like the look of your game, and they leave. In my case, if they see that big GSB image and think ‘meh’, they might be attracted to Redshirt, or to Democracy 3. That makes the site less leaky, and that’s awesome.

This is why it makes sense for indie like me to fund a game like Redshirt. I’m also hoping to fund another game. It basically doubles my output, and means each year Ideally I get two new games up there. This means halving my leakiness, and potentially doubling the return-per-click on any marketing efforts. My stats show me a lot of people bought redshirt after visiting my site direct from the main menu of Democracy 3. And vice versa. This is awesome. It’s also another reason why Steam is a billion-dollar success.

I tried to do a free thing for indies to get the same effect. It’s here. it didn’t take off. Indies are very interested in ‘someone else’ doing stuff like this, but by definition, we are indies, we like to work alone. This is a pity, but it means it’s even more important for me to continue building my own mini-portal of positech-published games. I reckon I need a game a year to stay even, as older games will eventually lose their appeal.

The maths of this are very interesting. Even assuming the ‘I was here for X but bought Y’ effect only works in 25% of cases, then previously me bidding $0.30 for a click means I can suddenly bid $0.37 instead, if I have one extra game. If I have 4 games, then I can double my bid. That’s a huge bonus. It also explains why, if you have a single niche indie game, and advertising isn’t making an ROI for you, that you may lose faith in it. Each year my PR budget goes up and up, and each year the stock of games it’s selling goes up. they are clearly related.

So I’ve just dusted off the trusty old Google adwords campaign for my site which I experimented with years ago, and will try again. Not for any specific game, but for GSB,D3 and Redshirt combined. I suspect it will do well.


One thought on

  1. Important post. We indies need to work together as much as possible rather than spending loads of time trying to get noticed on Greenlight or Kickstarter.

    Perhaps allowing vetted games a slot on your site (for a percentage of sale) might be an interesting way forward?


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