Had a wide ranging conversation with a very smart friend this morning about FarmVille, speaking at conferences, and different leadership styles.
During the conversation, he shared how early game developers used to complain that mistakes by retailers ruined the opportunities for their games to become hits.
Because of FarmVille and my experience making hit PC games for Westwood/EA, an instant set of connections flashed through my mind.
“Selling games at retail is like a glacially slow version of selling games on the internet.”
The thought process unrolled:
1. Selling at retail is a glacially slow versus using the internet.
2. The slowness and “physical-ness” of selling at retail creates it’s own set of problems (shelf space, inventory, cost of goods).
3. Debugging the problems with your product at retail are exacerbated by the problems created by selling at retail. (Do players not like the game or did the retailer forget to put it on the shelf?).
Now about selling social games online.
1. “Instant on”: player sees and clicks a link to your game on Facebook and starts playing instantly with no obligations.
2. If the player likes your game, they keep playing. If not, they quit playing. We know how as game makers how many people are playing the game each day.
3. Without looking at any personal information, we can know when people stop playing the game and can make daily adjustment to add fun, remove boring parts and fix bugs.
4. When a player spends money in your game, it shows up in your bank account that day.
Seems obvious to me. Hope other people see it too:
Don’t waste another minute selling games at retail.
Seriously…stop it. Right now.
Do you see it too or am I off track?