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

Marketing games in 2014…hmmmmm.

I’m always a bit paranoid about being out of date. I don’t want to be the guy who is putting the finishing touches to his betamax product line just before he hears about VHS. I don’t care so much about coding tech, as I think the costs ofg switching tech to the latest version outweigh the benefits. Especially if you do whatever Microsoft say is cool, which changes every year. Is silverlight still a thing? hell…I remember when VRML was the tech of the FUTURE.

But like it or not, the internet changes, gamers change, and we have to roll with it. Subscription MMO’s are dead. F2P is the default now. That’s a BIG change. iOS games went from being non-existent, to gold-rush, to a great way to lose money in just a few years. Internet ads have gone through so many fads it’s hard to keep up!

So where do we find ourselves? I’d guess we find ourselves in 2014 with these priorities:

  • Video content is king
  • Social media is king
  • Buying your way to attention is getting very expensive
  • Huge centralization of online community control.

I am not a youtube user, on the whole. I watch the odd trailer and technical video, but I never watch let’s plays. I am too impatient for that. I don’t want to hear someone talk about the main menu screen for 5 minutes, I might only *play* a game for 5 minutes. And when I’m relaxing, I’m in a room with a TV on, so I prefer text only. But like it or not, video is huge. As a result, I spent a lot more now on producing video content than I did before. I have an actual video camera (a cheap one, but at least a proper one) and a decent microphone, ready for test-driving tomorrow. I’m going to try and release more and more video content.

Social media is a big thing, but tbh I don’t mind. My twitter account seems weirdly popular, and this blog is even more popular. This has never been a strategy, it’s just me being me, so that worked out quite nicely. I’ve made a bit less use of facebook, reddit etc, because I just have so little time, but I can see they are important.

Simply sitting in a dark room without either of those and just buying advertising space is getting harder. Ad-costs are high. A lot of billion-dollar companies are throwing cash at each other in a mud-fight, and us indies can’t afford to get in the middle. Some of the CPC ads can still be worth doing, but CPM is going up and up. Anyone who thinks $5-10 CPM is ‘a good deal’ is smoking something. It absolutely isn’t, unless you are selling accident insurance.

There are very few places now to be heard. A lot of those big gamer sites you enjoy are owned by parent organizations who own three or four or more of them. Big media companies like buying other media companies. I think starting a new site these days is very very hard. You struggle so much to get the slightest attention. Right now there are probably just about enough media outlets for indie PC gaming to keep up a sense of competition, but if things consolidate more I’d start to worry that we are back to 2 or 3 companies deciding your fate as an indie games business.

Interesting times…

4 thoughts on Marketing games in 2014…hmmmmm.

  1. As a net exporter of eyeballs, who’s charging a $5-$10 CPM? Is that for a pre-roll video interstitial?

  2. CPM?? Isn’t that just a page view with the ad on it?
    How much would a tv spot end up being if you approximately converted it into CPM?
    Like $x/6 mil viewership = y-CPM? I’m thinking a bazillion less?? Maybe a few cents??

  3. What about indie gaming websites?
    Back in the day, GameTunnel was very popular and very influential. These days there’s simply no equivalent, at least IMHO.
    Is showmethegames going to fill that void? ;)

  4. As strange as this may sound you might want to kickstart and add campaign, I’ve always thought indies/enthusiasts could help each other out there.

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