So I’ve been helping out at CGC Games for almost a year now. As a small indie company (studio? organization? group of friends making games?) we all have to do lots of different things to pitch in. One thing that we all work on a little bit, is talking about the game (Terrene Odyssey) in hopes that people will support us–aka sell the game. Here’s some thoughts on how that turned out different from how I expected it to (and here’s some from the creator of SCALE).
1500 Games to Sell
One of the wonders of the industrial revolution was that people discovered that making things in large scale increases the efficiency of production. Manufacturing games is no different: the larger a batch we order, the less expensive each of them is. Typically 1500 copies of a game tends to be a pretty good middle point between “reduce price per copy” and “lower total cost”. Like most games studios, CGC Games doesn’t get most of its funds from outside fundraising sources, so we have to profit off our projects to have money to start our next ones. Having boxes of games sitting in storage is pretty much the opposite of profit (unless you’re storing them in your garage or living room, but then you’re still paying–only in sanity rather than dollars).
So we have a bunch of games, and we want to sell them sooner than later. Simple: talk to store owners, distributors, friends, and family, get the word out–tell everyone that there’s a new game that’s really cool and that they should be a part of!
That is literally how a product gets sold to people. What could go wrong?
Well, it turns out that 1500 is a pretty big number. By comparison, I only have about 450 friends on Facebook (luckily I’m not the only person working on sales). Furthermore, it’s not only boring for everyone listening to me, but also for myself if all I talk about is the game. As much fun as Terrene Odyssey is, much of that fun is digging deeper into the strategies or talking about crazy games that have happened, not so much talking about what the game is over and over and over.
Get a life
Not sure if I hinted at it well enough, but it’s actually kinda taxing taking on the role of “guy who is really focused on selling this game to as many people as possible” for a long time. Taxing on friends who might start to feel like you’re only connecting with them to sell the game to them, taxing to a mental state if worrying about the finances gets to you, and taxing to the self because you’re not learning anything new. I think the key is remembering that every person is more than just one project and taking breaks from that every now and again. Games are cool, but they’re only parts of the whole a person’s life.