While the normal problems facing game designers usually amount to balancing gameplay, accessibility, mechanics and play testing, there is the pesky hidden problem that only presents itself at the very end of the project:
HOW TO I MARKET THIS GAME?
And it’s an important question to ponder, as your game, while fun to make and play, ultimately has a home in the hands of the general public. At least, I assume that is your intent. Then again, any of the ridiculous game concepts I might have mentioned on Delve should never be placed in a genuine human’s hands, unless it’s an asylum and you’re running short on padded rooms. But then again, it’s obvious I’ve already thought of my target audience, so fingers crossed!
But back to actual games worth playing. In my mind, there is a three-step process to this endeavor:
Step 1: Design game
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit!
It’s the second step that always confuses me. I have posed this question to guests who brought their game to market, so some of the pieces have fallen into place. What I’ve learned so far on the basic components amounts to promotion, funding, production, distribution and some business sense thrown in to keep the whole thing running smoothly. After all, this undertaking is ultimately a business venture.
But let’s dig into the components for a moment.
Promotion: Where do you find your audience? How do you know what your audience is?How does social media play into this? Do you need to pay for advertising? Does word of mouth still work in the modern age?
Funding: Are you crowd sourcing? What factors account for your budget? Do you pitch your game to an established company or go out on your own? What will your game cost?
Production: Who makes your game? How many copies will you need? How do you weigh costs of production against price point of your game? How accurate can you be about the time frame to finish production?
Distribution: Can I buy your game in a brick and mortar store? If so, how do you get it into that store to start? Do you sell your game online? If so, do you handle distribution yourself? If so, do you need a really big garage to keep all your copies of the game until they get sent out?
Business Acumen: What skills do you need to make it all work? Is it something you can learn or something you inherently have? Is it worthwhile to have that business degree? How does communication and financing skill help? Can your ability to manage a household budget translate to an international business venture?
All I really know is that I have none of these answers. I am simply a vessel of learning and understanding, awaiting the information to form a conclusion. And I’d like answers, because the residents of Somber Meadows Home for the Mentally Unstable are looking forward to their copies of Lice-Capades.