Archive for the ‘ Game Marketing ’ Category

Kill them all campaign

Riftforge is an online RPG with tactical combat. The campaign raises $2730 to develop three end-game campaigns that culminate in an epic boss battle.

November 14, 2013 – Riftforge, an ambitious fantasy online role-playing game, has launched an Indiegogo campaign. The $2730 will be used to finish the game by adding two grand campaigns as well as a special super-monster campaign.

Riftforge has been in development for four years, the last two in open playtest mode. It has a quarter million beta signups and over 44,000 Facebook fans. The game features tactical combat in over a hundred handcrafted missions. In addition to the singleplayer content, Riftforge has an active multiplayer Arena.

“We have built a modern game that pays homage to 90’s RPG’s like Baldur’s Gate, the Ultima series, even Final Fantasy Tactics,” said Krasimir Koichev, Riftforge’s Producer. “With the Indiegogo campaign, we’d like to give our fans the ultimate choice: which enemies they want to kill in the epic end-game confrontation.”

Riftforge is the game world’s central location. It is a hub structure that seemingly exists out of space and time. With the new content, players will be able to go through the Rift to explore three new warzones and interact with their inhabitants. True to genre conventions, the majority of those inhabitants are both hostile and dangerous, thus the “Kill them all” slogan.

Riftforge features:

  • Deep and engaging tactical combat, within a familiar turn-based system
  • Three powerful, yet balanced RPG archetypes
  • Rare, elite, and epic units with over 70 unique skills
  • Free-to-play Arena and extra missions available for gold or cash

About Riftforge
Riftforge is a cloud-based roleplaying platform for gamers passionate about tactical combat. The game client is HTML5 and the platform is accessible on all devices with a modern browser.

Indiegogo campaign trailer:

Press release distributed by: GamesPress

Riftforge beta
Facebook fan page


SponsoredTweets Scam

SponsoredTweets offers a unique service summed up as this: Khloe Kardashian tweets about you for $13,000.

Of course, there are other options, like CPC advertising where people would volunteer to tweet your message and you pay them per click.

The bad news? Clicks are mostly bogus.

The horrible news: SponsoredTweets will scam you, siphoning funds from your account.


Kickstarter, gold, paper money

Tobold has a few posts on the subject of game funding via crowdsourcing, in other words, Kickstarter projects.

His main argument is that waiting for a game to be sold on Steam for 50% off offers a lot better value than supporting a project on Kickstarter. It’s true that you can get Endless Space for just 10 euro on Steam. You can usually get an AAA games for as little as 30 or 20 euro (recently released and with 80+ on Metacritic).

With Kickstarter you might succumb to the temptation to get some of the exclusive packages, say $5000 for a star system named after you. What’s worse is that you never know if the game will come out, and if it’s going to be any good.

My counter point is simple: crowdsourcing allows for a better alignment of the interests of a game development company and its future customers.

Right now, a corporate executive needs to greenlight a game project in order for it to get funding. What projects get greenlighted? Usually, the safest bets – the latest installment of a franchise, be it Assassin’s Creed 3 or FIFA 2013. Taking huge risks as professional manager is usually not the optimal path for career advancement.

Kickstarter allows game developers to appeal directly to their customers, bypassing corporate decision-making. Is it better? Well, it’s an alternative, and having alternatives is important.

Which leads us to the analogy with paper money. Even as recently as 60 years ago, paper money was a kind of “promisory note”. The bank that issued them promised to give you a certain amount of precious metal in exchange for your paper money. You had to trust the bank that issued them and banks were hard at work to persuade us their vaults are filled with precious metals.

Buying a game from Steam is like taking your gold nugget to the market and exchanging it for a horse. It’s one piece of value for another, ideally, identical piece.

Supporting Kickstarter games is more like taking a promisory note for your gold. You are hoping the game company has gold in its vault and often, they do! It also allows you to carry a lot more value as mentioned above – you get $5000 worth of game, instead of the universal $50.

So what could be done to address the main objection when it comes to Kickstarter projects, i.e. accountability?

Using the analogy, the result would be to have an exchange rate. But we could do better! Why not start a secondary market.

I’m selling my right to name a star system for $3000, even though I bought it for 5000 a week ago. Why? Maybe I don’t believe in the company or maybe my wife saw my credit card statement. Either way, my loss is your gain. It’s also a way to see which projects are going well and which projects are hopeless.

I know I’d be shopping for a deal on those Bones miniatures that sold out before I could get one of the bigger packages!

Zynga: the Clone Wars

As a follow-up to Stupid Money, an illustrated history of Zynga games and their origins. It is only fitting that these images were compiled by Forbes (albeit in two pages).

Farm Town vs Farmville

Mob Wars vs Mafia Wars

Restaurant City vs Cafe World

Tiny Tower vs Dream Heights

Gardens of Time vs Hidden Chronicles

Bingo Blitz vs Zynga Bingo

The Sims Social vs The Ville


Stupid money

The death of subscription MMOs has been profecized a lot, especially since SWTOR announced it’s transition to F2P.

The explanations mostly focused on things like insufficient content to justify ongoing monthly fees or the competition from subscription-free MMOs like Guild Wars 2.

The real reason, however, is simple. There’s only so much stupid money to burn on making carbon copies of World of Warcraft. Between the demise of 38 Studios which burned 150 million and the 300 million spent on SWTOR, even the stupidest money has no more illusions about making a killing on MMOs.

Enter social and mobile games!

A full 57% of all investment in 2011 went into social gaming and 30% went to mobile games. So what is the result of this overspending?

One result is that copying games is rampant. If it has worked for Zynga, it surely works for startups that have been funded to the hilt. Case in point: Tiny Company ripping off Dragonvale in a way that is very Zynga-esque. They copied all the game mechanics and interfaces but replaced the dragons with monsters, so they are not sued for copyright infringement. FYI, monsters are still hatched from eggs, apparently this was something they couldn’t replace.

So instead of copying WoW at anywhere between 100 and 300 million a pop, stupid money is now betting on copying casual games for only a couple of millions each. Is it the smart thing to do? It’s probably smarter than copying WoW, that’s for sure.

Facebook’s downhill slide

Facebook has been a great story and as human beings we often fall in love with great stories (like Casablanca or The Godfather).

The problem comes when people invest in companies buying a piece of this great story. Unlike watching The Godfather for a n-th time, where the story remains the same, watching Facebook’s shares continue to slide is like seeing Michael Corleone being gunned down by Sollozzo and McCluskey, instead of the other way round.

What happens now? Is Fredo taking over the Corleone falmily.

Without further confusion courtesy of the inappropriate Godfather analogy, I’d like to share this excellent quote from Clemenza, I mean Sharyl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO:

Ms. Sandberg said it would take more time for marketers to figure out Facebook. “It took a long time for the TV market for advertising to be understood,” she told analysts. “We are still in the learning curve.”

Of course, Shotgun Sheryl is right. She basically admits Facebook ads have an abysmally low ROI and it’s up to the marketers to ascend the learning curve. Not to dissect her comment too much but any analogy with TV advertising screams “brand” advertising that doesn’t (necessarily) translate into sales. Also, marketers embraced Google’s search ads and Facebook ads are remarkably similar, except when it comes to results.

The truth is the only ones currently able to monetize Facebook’s users are Zynga and we know how (not) well they are doing lately. Bingo games and more gambling apps will follow.

Update: Social in the enterprise is another matter – see SharePoint with Jabber.

SWTOR free, WoW loses a million

If you follow the news, you already know that SWTOR will become free-to-play in a month and that WoW has lost another million subscribers (down to 9 million globally).

The funny bit comes from Michael Pachter, a consultant and game industry pundit, who projects some amazing stats for this brave new world for no-subscriptions.

Ultimately, Pachter believes that Star Wars now has the potential to “attract at least 10 million MAUs indefinitely, with upside to perhaps 50 million.” He added, “Thus, we believe that contribution from the model shift could be significant for years to come.”

Yes, just imagine 10 million Jedi fighting against 40 million Sith. The force [of imagination] is strong with this one.