Experience part I
For a while now, I’ve been thinking about all my favourite games and what they all have in common. Why? Because as it happens, all of them have been commercially successful, and when I say successful I am not talking about selling a couple of million units (though that’s still a huge success), but an explosion of millions.
Here they are in order
Zelda Ocarina Of Time (Nintendo 64)
GTA III (Playstation 3)
Zelda II (Nintendo Entertainment system)
Super Mario Brothers 3 (Nintendo Entertainment system)
Tetris (game boy and many other platforms)
These games dominated the top twenty months and in some cases years after they had been released into the Market. I think it’s important to study success, for how else can one be successful? It is even better when you have multiple examples, as it’s easier to find a pattern of sorts. Of course this is all my opinion, but it just seems logical to me.
I want to make games, books even movies? Who knows? Most of all I want the entertainments products i release to sell a boat load!
Its the dream isn’t it? To work doing the thing you love. So if I am to make my own Entertainment products and sell them, it’s best I study the successful ones right?
I have elected to use games as my case study, specifically the games I’ve listed above.
One thing I’ve never understood is how people disregard the sales of a product. Truth is sales are the biggest barometer of success. The sale of a product is not just something that happens out of thin air, it takes a real life human being to purchase a product. It is a very intimate thing to purchase a product. Especially if the product falls under the entertainment category These days things are so hard financially, you almost have an emotional attachment to what you buy! or maybe that’s just me?
So if the mass market buys into a particular game, then that game has resonated with the most people and its success can not be debated.
If game B sells more than game A, game B is the most successful of the two, it’s no good screaming
“But game A is better!”, as far as business and the mass market are concerned your personal opinion is not worth the oxygen used to express it. Though I do not begrudge you for it.
But here is the crux of the problem. A lot of people/companies mistake marketing as the reason a game (or even a product) sells. All that needs to be done is ship a game, give it a heavy marketing push and viola success!
But we know better don’t we?
My dear friendly reader of course we do! The truth is Advertising only plays one role. To let “Us” the consumer know the product exists! Don’t get me wrong some campaigns are so good it gets a few people to buy the product ( happened to me couple of times), but generally its not many people, it especially doesn’t work on the people that aren’t enthusiasts who just sit on the fringe.
So what keeps a game selling and selling?
Well lets look at the different scenarios an individual may buy a game.
- Going to a friends house, they play a game and loved it so much they wanted their own copy.
- Strong recommendation from a friend or loved one.
- The game is in a series they’ve previously enjoyed.
I’ve bought all my favourite games due to these conditions. There are probably a few more scenarios I could add, but I believe these are the ones most people can identify with. It’s fair to say the first two scenarios could come under the umbrella of personal recommendation.
Games that resonate with the most people do not sell through advertising but through personal recommendation or word of mouth. It’s the biggest seller there is. A lot of traditional gamers (other wise known as hardcore gamers) listen to reviewers for recommendation or have a favourite developer. But the vast majority of people don’t.
We’ve now established some of the influences that leads to a games purchase, this offers the reason why a game sells and sells. But what about the other reasons? the reason that influences the purchaser to go as far as recommending it to friends, the reason that leads the game to be forever imprinted in the players memories and hearts for years to come? The reason that keeps him/her coming back?
We will investigate that in part II!