Bejeweled 3, FarmScapes and Cradle of Rome 2

8 12 2010

When we finished working on Dress-Up Pups I didn’t expect to get in competition with such strong match-3 franchises. Within one week you could try 4 high quality match-3 games: our Dress-Up Pups, Cradle of Rome 2, Bejeweled 3 and FarmScapes. Though we have to compete with strong franchises it doesn’t mean we don’t stand a chance*.

Cradle of Rome 2 is a big disappointment for me. Maybe I would enjoy it more if I haven’t played Cradle of Rome 1, but I have, and CoR 2 was nothing new to me. Also, matching mechanic seemed aged.

Bejeweled 3 looks pretty nice and has few new twists. I enjoyed it much more than CoR 2. I also noticed all the hard work PopCap put into promoting B3, giving out netbooks for best photo of your jewels is one example of that. Because of that it was funny to see that PopCap was late to deliver B3 download on their own site. GameHouse and iWin (maybe other sites too) offered the game on Dec 7th, but PopCap was late for some reason and delivered download links a day later.

Playrix launched their newest match-3, Farmscapes, exclusively on their own site. Initially I was disappointed that I had to go through another “I want to be a HOG but I am match-3″ scene, but luckily it was short and part after that was a bit more of point and click adventure than HOG. Still, it was surprise that I had to wait so long to play regular match-3 mechanic, but overall I liked the game, probably the most out of 3 mentioned titles.

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Know the Holidays

29 11 2010

Have you heard about Black Friday? Or Cyber Monday? I’m sure you’ve heard about xmas though :)

The world has a lot of holidays and you can’t keep the track of each of them, but it’s good to know at least the most common one (for the world) or the most money squeezing ones.

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Basically, people go out to retail stores and malls to buy things. Cyber Monday is online world reaction Black Friday. People spent their money from home.

It’s good to have the list of those holidays and make your marketing up to date. We indie’s don’t need to follow big companies, but at least we can try to get best examples of them. It’s also good to know about holidays because they may get in face of your game launch. I started the launch of Dress-Up Pups last week. I was about to send press release about it until I realized that it’s Thanksgiving day and either nobody is at work or gives a damn about my games. If I sent my PR that day it would probably got lost in dozens of emails by Monday morning when everybody gets to work.

That said, today is Cyber Morning, if you want you can take advantage of it and save 25% on your order of Anawiki Games :D

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Is casual games market still growing?

8 10 2010

I hear a lot about drop in revenues from casual games. That’s something I didn’t experience myself (luckily), but it’s something worth taking into account. The fact that I’m making more money this year than I did last year may be just fooling me.

I typed “casual games recession” in google and one of the articles that appeared on the list: Real Games executive tells how the recession will affect casual games. It’s old article from February 11th, 2009, but at least there’s a possibility to check whether it was true or false.

One thing that I noted I wanted to repeat is this line:

“The market has the opportunity to be ten times the size it is today,” Barbour stressed. “Why don’t we do something to build the bigger market?”

That’s the words of John Barbour, CEO of Real Games (at least of the time of writing mentioned article). Mister Barbour, what can we do to make it bigger?

So we’re certainly not 10 times bigger today. I hear that most portals noticed a drop in revenues, not only we’re not in bigger market, but  we’re in smaller. I make more money from my games than I did, but I don’t feel like market in general is growing. There are places dedicated to casual games that please me with their revenues and places that make me disappointed.

I just hope that we, as casual game industry, stopped price wars, and prices will eventually rise.

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Don’t make cheap games

19 01 2010

In one of my favorite newsletters I read an interview with Bob Cox. It was quite interesting reading and I found a nice bit I would like to quote here:

I read (I can’t remember where) that it’s as hard to sell a pair of shoes as it is to sell something more expensive. The work is the same, but the sales commission is much greater.

Unfortunately we developers have little influence on the price of our games (except for our own sites). Keep in mind that it is better to make a bit better game to sell it for a bit more than make it look cheap and sell it cheap. Your efforts to market the game will be as hard or harder to promote cheap looking game, but revenues will be much smaller.

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