Market research before creating your game.

So, you know how to create games, you have plenty of ideas, and now you want to finish one game and sell it. You’ve come to the right place to get started on that. The first and most important thing to focus on is marketing. Marketing comes before creating your game, it comes even before thinking about your game.

Most people think that marketing is about advertising and press releases, but that’s only a tiny part of it. Get this into your head: Marketing is everything, and everything is marketing. Marketing is the kind of game you create, for which platforms, your price, your customer support, your demo, the graphics, game loading times, … everything!
Marketing focuses on the customer, it’s how (s)he experiences your products and services. If you want to sell a game, you have to start asking yourself the right questions, marketing questions. I’ll provide you with a list of questions you need to think about, this is crucial if you ever want your game to sell.

Know your customer

  • So, who is your customer?
  • Who are you going to sell your game to?
  • Which platform(s) does (s)he have?
  • What kind of games does (s)he like?
  • Why does (s)he buy games?

Know your competition

  • Who is already selling products to your customers?
  • What’s their price, quality, …?
  • How many competitors are there?

Position yourself in the market

  • Does your game offer something different than the competition, something better?
  • Is there a reason why someones should buy your game instead of that from the competition? Don’t focus on price but on value.
  • What extra value does your game have?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How and where will they find out about your game?
  • Will your game be lost in all other games, or can you stand out from the crowd?
  • What will you do to convince a player to put down what (s)he is playing and pick up your game?

If you asked yourself these questions, and seriously thought about them, researched and evaluated the competition, then you’re ready for the next step: become the customer. Don’t see things from your point of view, but get inside your customers head, think like him/her, and see things from his/her side. Go over the same questions, but really try to see it from your customers point of view. Be honest in your answers.

If you’ve evaluated all of the above, take a look at the following formula:

revenue = number of customers * revenue per game

So there are 2 ultimate questions to see if you can sell your game:

  1. Can you get enough customers to buy your game?
  2. Can you get enough revenue per game to make a profit?

I cannot answer these questions for you, so you have to be honest with yourself and try to answer them as good as possible. If the outcome is not positive, switch game concept or platform or … whatever. But don’t create a game that you can’t sell.

5 thoughts on “Market research before creating your game.

  1. RimZi

    Nice article. However, I think I might add some thoughts. You’re writing about selling games. That’s not entirely necessary. For instance, your game might be free or freeware.

    You might sell games, but then there is a problem of distribution (you must if you want to sell off-the-shelf games, or if the online option caters for you better). Then there is such a thing called “piracy”, or illegal distribution of games. Combating it is very costly.

    But I suppose you need money. Then there is the gaming-as-a-service model. Just look at the likes of “Second Life”. The game client is FOSS (free and open source software). And you can connect to servers also for free. But the company behind “Second Life” generates huge money. How? The catch is paid services – offering players to buy “virtual real estate”, “clothes”, etc.

    So, what matters most is the business model, not the marketing. Why, of course, market research is important, but to start business, you must have an extensive idea how _you_ will get money.

    I hope my thoughts are clear.. must brush my English 🙂

    Reply

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