Click here to find 5 extreme marketing blah blah blah

If you’ve clicked here actually looking for 5 extreme marketing blah blah blah’s, there is no help for you. Go away.

If you’ve come here to see a person coming to a realization via the land of Oz then “this be the place Captain!”

I am officially giving up on the marketing nonsense.

Everyone is happy to pump out their marketing tips but having spent the best part of 2 years trying to put almost all of them into action I’ve come to the conclusion. They are all full of **it!

“Ye travelers on the interwebz be too savvy for the old ways Captain…”

And by this I mean, people don’t give a damn about your 50% scroll popups, exit-intent call-to-actions or the video ads you’re pumping out flooding the borders and baselines of every website willing to take your money.

Remember the days when all you needed was a big rounded edged button saying “BUY NOW MOFO!” and it worked? Funny right.

Marketing is no longer about getting the attention with a snazzy button, popups, freebies, prizes, (add an infinite amount of items here).

This is the only marketing tip you need. You ready?

Your content is your marketing.

BOOM. Your head spins, explodes and brain matter splatters on all four walls right?

Why couldn’t these marketing “experts” (term used loosely) just say that and save me 2 years?

Forget everything, focus on your content because THAT is the only way to get peoples attention.

I’ve come to consider marketing like this…

I am watching the game on TV. An ad break starts. My attention goes to my phone or tablet, whichever is nearest. Or the bathroom if no technology is nearby (grabbing tech on my way of course). I look at what is being said about the game online and as the ads end, I go back to the game.

I don’t want my marketing to be the ads in this scenario. I want my marketing to be the game.

So rather than trying to ram a sales pitch down some average Joe’s throat via ads, pop-ups and other “please look at me” avenues try to turn your sales pitch into content your target audience wants to invest their eyeballs into.

This doesn’t mean stop buying exposure. It just means making sure what you’re exposing doesn’t turn people off. Like that one time you… with the jacket… in the park… the court case…  remember?

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

The illusion of sales

All present and future game developers know this.

Consumers wait for sales.

Unless you are a big swinging… pendulum of a developer, or have a well marketed… media darling of a… sleeping with Gabe Newell kind of game, you’ll be sucking on the sales nipple from launch to living in your parent’s basement.

This is not a slight. Needs must.

It’s a consumer driven market and every Tom, Dick and Harry have lined up to shuffle craptastic shizzola onto every App store because “look Ma’ I’z got a job, so I canz liv in da basement.”

/Sarcasm

Anyway, to the point.

These sales you’ll be hoping to live off are not actual sales. They are “calls-to-action” done by platforms to draw in consumers who have been trained to expect massive reductions and free sh*t.

So here’s a reality check.

The price your game is at, during a sale is the true reflection of product value on the market. So, as every other mother flicker is putting the peddle down to F2P even your $0.99 price point is looked at with the “hmmm, should I buy a can of diabetes OR a 20-hour single player game” hesitation.

/Metaphor.

The platforms are the guards, and games are the inmates. The guards dictate when you can get a conjugal visit and because only so many inmates can have bang bang at once, you’ll have to wait your turn.

What this means is that you either stick at full price RRP and hope for the best or succumb to the guards and fragrantly wave the %OFF flag in an inmates circle jerk.

The irony here is that the circle jerk will get you a better return. Sleeping with Gabe Newell ain’t sounding so bad now, is it?

So, as a developer, you’ll likely be hoping the handful of major sales during the year can make up for the vast majority of the time your little sweetheart is stuck at full price.

/The punchline.

Consumers know the only time to buy is when your game is on sale, or in a bundle, or F2P. It sucks right?

The only exception, you are the big swinging… orangutan on a rope tire and can make gaming media dance so you get the exposure needed.

So go sleep with Gabe Newell quick.

We should have, as right now we’re stuck doing the inmate circle jerk.

It’s probably why they say the games industry is a messy business.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Warning to rookie journalists

Some rookie journalist for an unknown site reached out to me the other day asking about Oointah. It was 100% phishing, but still, they found us. I was excited.

Initially.

I asked him to get back to me with some real meaty questions about game development, Steam, and all the other usual confrontational “stuff” Jim Sterling goes after (or goes after him as the case may be).

I didn’t think there would be much value in doing a shallow, surface only interview. If the questions were uninteresting, there would be no interest in Death by Game Show or Oointah. It needed balls for people to read obviously.

So with carte blanche to ask anything this is what the journalist comes back to me with…

When is the expected release date?
What is mobile gaming changing for game developers?
What is the expected price?
What platforms will it be coming out on?

What the f***!

Carte blanche. Carte blanche on the questions!!!!

My excitement was gone.

Expected release…  January 2016!  It’s been out for years.  Nice research fella.

I did want to write back slamming the lack of originality or inventiveness. Suffice to say, I didn’t and won’t. It’s bad enough I’m doing this.

My frustration comes because I know curiosity lives on Steam. I’ve had great conversations about the gaming industry with players on the platform covering everything from Early Access to Greenlight, to market saturation and mobile ports.

Why couldn’t they be journalists with interesting questions and opinions?

And here’s my point. If any journalist, big or small want to ask any REAL questions reach out to us.

Peace, as the hipsters say.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

How late is too late?

Believe it or not, even though Death by Game Show has been an unparalleled disaster we are silently trying to turn it around.

Some people say that if it crashes and burns, leave it and move on. Yet I’m a firm believer that from ashes a Phoenix can be born.

What horseh*t.

What I’m actually a believer in is, not leaving things fudged up.

Almost anything, with the right TLC and jiggery-pokery, could become “something”. What that something is, is up to the market and how you market it.

Perhaps if we add zombies, goats, a top down twin stick shooter mechanic and repeated the same sh*t everyone else does it’ll work.

“Or make it a survival game where you chop down trees, kill pigs and make weapons to fight other players doing the same thing” shouted a team member.

Yes. Death by Game Show will become a top-down twin-stick survival game about making weapons that you can gank players with as they dress up as goats and zombies. Perfect.

Sarcasm aside, there is an audience for side-scrolling strategy games. Lemmings, Worms, Swords and Soldiers, Reus and others have proven this. Death by Game Show just needs to pivot and find them.

The journey continues.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Why are we forced to cut words to fit character limits?

We always try to reply to constructive reviews on Steam for Death by Game Show.  We find people’s feedback invaluable.

As we bundled the game last week for the first time we’ve found a host of new reviews.  Many negative sadly saying the game is too hard, too simple, too chaotic, too boring and too much text but not enough explanation.  You can imagine our heads are a little like a pinball bouncing about with the contradictions.

Yet, I focused on one review and started to write a reply. I wanted it to be a sincere response explaining why the game is chaotic and why many people who like it seem to stop playing between 1.5 and 4 hours into the game.

Several paragraphs in and it was a succinct but explanation full response to an angered and frustrated player.

I had explained that the chaos of the game is representative of how the lead character sees’s the world, full of noise and only when thinking (aka stopping time) and strategizing can they succeed. I also admitted the game gets much harder and varied after 1.5 hours. Sadly, some people get frustrated and stop playing due to the difficulty curve.

Yet each time I tried to submit I was told by Steam’s platform it had too many characters.

I shortened. Nope. Shortened again. Nope. By the end, it was a husk taking only the key points without any sentiment. Somehow my sincerity was reduced to a wedge of text that sounded more like an excuse rather than what I wanted to say. Why are these systems in place?

The only logic could be that they’re trying to cut down what people say to each other online. Turning our wonderful languages into a series of short catch phrases and abbreviations. What’s next, no words – just emoji’s?

If language allowed the human race to evolve, what does the loss of language represent? No doubt, less expensive reading glasses.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

How the market lives through thumbs

Every product that comes to market lives and dies by the simplest of measurement, the thumbs of TL: DR.

Only 30% of you got to this paragraph but if we added a giant great big thumb up and a counter saying 1,152 next to it that percentage of “giving a sh*t” hikes to 50%. Over time that’s a significant jump.

Ironically, I’ve likely lost you again already because “stuff” flashed, beeped or popped up and it’s no doubt really (un)important to you and must take focus.

Notifications, alerts and other incoming traffic is a consumers life blood. Just like a thumbs up or down is the life blood of a product. Everything is a beat, a flow, and if you’re not rapid, you cannot keep up with the pace consumers have set. Simple.

This is where today’s marketing and products live. In a marketplace so saturated with desperate attempts at buying your attention via white hot bullsh*t that if we don’t make your life better, simpler, or entertain within 0.4 hours it’s over.

This is why Early Access on Steam is so popular. The illusion of progression and pace. A product (allegedly) on the move. It’s the same with all MVP’s as they are abbreviated. A minimum viable product that just does enough to get beyond that 0.4-hour hurdle before looping back to repeat exactly what it just did.

I can hear the cries of the crowd, “Nooooo, we don’t buy into BS” but that in itself is BS. You, like I, are manipulated so heavily by marketing and products that we act in a way that deserves sectioning.

The madness isn’t forced, it flows with consumer demands. It’s our own choosing, we want more options, quicker, cheaper and most of all simpler. We don’t want to read, review, examine or research. We just want a big thumbs up and a “buy now” button.

However, sometimes a thumbs up don’t mean good and a thumbs down don’t mean bad. It’s just opinion and like *ss holes everyone has one.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Should have made a walking simulator

Different tastes and opinions make for a more interesting life. For the most part, it’s easy to see why certain tastes and thoughts bubble up into trends but there is something which continues to boggle my noggin. Walking simulators.

It was as if the market all cried out at once and decided they loved the walking about in Skyrim, just not the NPC’s, combat, crafting, looting etc. You know, the game portion of walking around looking at the pretty scenery.

I sort of get it, walking around a lush forest environment with very well scripted VO is like TV that you can direct. I’m just not sure if it’s actually a game. “Go from A to B” and “trigger scripted event” before “moving C to D” and “triggering another scripted event”. Rinse and repeat until you wear down the rails and end credits roll.

The level of interaction is easily compared to reading a book. Holding the book is the equivalent of holding W to walk forwards. Turning a page is like left clicking on those trigger points. Yet we don’t call a book a game because you have to interact with it.

This comparison might be over the top but there is a definite minimalist approach to walking simulators. Often feeling like the developer made the world and then went “ah screw it, let’s just add some VO and release!”

Whether it’s lazy gamers unwilling to actually invest in anything more than the combo of pressing W and left click, or idle developers taking advantage of selling the illusion of games when it’s, in fact, a narrative driven experience. AKA a story, a movie, an episode.

One thing is certain, less has truly replaced more. From the time it takes to complete a game, to the mechanics and interactions entailed. The simplification to appease non-gaming media journalists and frenzied quick play crowds at conferences is beneficial to expand the market audience and to make interactive mediums more accessible.

An interactive story is fantastic, but let’s call them that and not simulators, my brain can’t cope with the contradiction.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

When I was a lad, kids use to play out and old people stayed married. What has happened to this world? Technology.

The blinking light of a notification waiting for view has all the character and personality of the modern masses. An empty glare momentarily on and then just as quickly idle of expression. It just waits for fumbling interaction resulting in irritation or gratification.

The irony here is you’re not sure if I’m talking about a person or a phone…

The mobile phone has somehow managed to turn a once vibrant world of disconnected opinion and clicks of personalities that thrived amongst like-minded individuals and warred with those not fitting their ideals into a slanging match via wifi, that also has wars.

So as that notification light blinks on and off and users do the usual grunt, shuffle and thumb slide before consuming vapid sweet nothings once reserved for landlines and in-person high-fives. The rest of the world devolves attention spans, IQ and diversity. We really have achieved maximum idiocracy.

The next step after zombies is the pain for entertainment purposes. Then again, we already have MTV and the Kardashians.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Steam, huh, yeah, What is it good for…

Absolutely nothing. Say it again, y’all.

I know that is harsh, but it’s crystal clear the uniqueness of Steam is largely smoke and mirrors.

The illusion of millions of gamers having huge libraries of games might make you believe the consumer market is strong but outside of mega sales, bundle activations and key giveaways, Steam is a graveyard of hopes drowning in a flood of desperation and panic.

Ignore what Steam says and know that you are more likely to inspire its audience with games like Genital Jousting than Death by Game Show. Shock value + simplicity = success. Don’t try to add layers of complexity or progression, don’t try to add depth or hours upon hours of content. Don’t even come to market with a finished product.

This isn’t a slight on Genital Jousting, it’s a mini-postmortem on Death by Game Show and Steam. Death by Game Show was all about what Steam said it was in September 2014 and what gamers demanded back then.

In 16 months Steam changed dramatically. We’ve all seen the flood of content it released. An insane 60% of Steam’s content has been released since July 2014. With the growing library of content, the audience no longer needed games which had hours of game time as there were hundreds of thousands of new titles at low to no cost to cover any and all voids. Gamers were spoilt for choice and like mobile gaming, spending time in any game unless immediately gratifying was pointless. So each new wave of games became more and more gimmicky to stand out and quick to please.

The same methods and ideas delivered on mobile have become commonplace in Steam games. In September 2014, the Steam community would have been in an uproar with mobile games on Steam. Now, it’s normal.

By the time Death by Game Show came out the idea of having to learn controls rather than it adhering to familiarity was a bridge too far for most reviewers. The number of times we heard “no jump?” even though the lead character is a 300lbs tub of goo is bamboozling. Running, moving the cursor and clicking was too much work and let’s not get started on attention. Too many clicks to win = overwhelming gameplay.  Although majors get away with it as gamers are more willing to invest in the more popular or mainstream titles.

So at some point between starting development and launching Death by Game Show the market swung. Steam is now a hybrid of mobile ideals and PC visuals. Indie has been fragmented between the two extremes, probably forever lost to simplification and obviousness.  Unless itch.io can once again put indie in the light.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Kickstart Death by Game Show Part Ugh

It’s been sobering and alarming how the Steam marketplace has changed since we plotted the creation and release of Death by Game Show.

The statistic revealing 70% of Steam’s current content has released since 2015 is something any and all PC developers should be noting down at this very moment.

For all developers who have released in 2015 and 2016 to find Steam a barren land, this glut of releases is possibly part of the reasoning. Especially if you didn’t reserve 50-80% of your games budget for bribes, marketing, and sexual favors.

With this brand new knowledge we’re thinking of running a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough funds to wine and dine the gaming media, to bribe them into laughter while streaming and to subconsciously influence via blatant product placement.

It’s that or use Kickstarter to try and move Death by Game Show to console…

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.