Jump to content

Recommended Posts

17 minutes ago, Raptorx7 said:

Where can you learn about Combat Mission other than finding the website or coming upon someone mentioning it in passing on a website?

Combat Mission is not an easy game to find for the press because it isn't available at your usual suspects, ala "Steam", or other popular digital distribution platforms. The game is niche of course but than again Command: Modern Air and Naval Operations has sold 10,000 copies there and has got a mention, even if it wasn't one of praise. If you look at Diplex Heated's Youtube Combat mission videos comment sections (Which get about 50,000 views and are asked for on his channel), half of them are saying how awesome the game is for the most part and the others are saying "Where can I find this its not on Steam"?

Just curious where the sales figures of Command: Modern Air and Naval Operations came from.  If they were able to sell that for $80 I think there's an even stronger argument that we're way undercharging for our games ;)

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

Just curious where the sales figures of Command: Modern Air and Naval Operations came from.  If they were able to sell that for $80 I think there's an even stronger argument that we're way undercharging for our games ;)

Steve

Uh oh I awoke Steve with Steam!

But no seriously I use SteamSpy to check out this kind of stuff, its really interesting to see how well these niche games sell on Steam. Heres the Steamspy page on Command- http://steamspy.com/app/321410

Although I think that second number after the first owners indicates refunds, also people who own the game on Matrix may have asked for Steam keys so those numbers are probably a little off no matter what. Another caveat to this is that Command has gone on sale before for 40$ instead of the usual 80$.

I should have prefaced that I am not looking for a Steam fight here, Ive been down that road before! ;)

Edited by Raptorx7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, [MyIS] Buffpuff said:

I'm sure Steve could chime in here and say they've saved COUNTLESS dollars in that particular decision. On top of that these games are, at least in my opinion, a niche market.

Steve sure can and sure will :D  Marketing is a black hole for profits.  Especially back in the old days where there was just about zero way to track ad effectiveness.

The problem with a $3000 ad is that's coming out of profits.  Let's say a game nets $5 profit.  That means the ONE ad has to sell 600 games just to break even.  If you figure in something for opportunity cost it could be 700 or 800.  What are the chances that an ad in something like PC Gamer is going to get us that many sales?  Zero.  And I mean no chance in Hell.  First of all because single ads do nothing, and that means you'll get nothing back.  Instead you have to run a campaign and spread out the losses and gains over many ads.  So let's say 3 months in the top 3 places at $3000 each.  That's $27,000 and the number of units to break even on that would be 5,4000 or maybe 10,000 units with opportunity cost (we could make a whole iOS game for $27,000).  The campaign will probably result in an overall higher number of sales, but it's still got zero chance of paying back on the investment.

With Steam there's the need to get back the 30% they take for providing the service.  If Steam could push significantly more units than we could do on our own (i.e. significantly greater than 30% more) then it makes sense, otherwise it doesn't.

I don't want to get into yet another Steam discussion because it's boring ;)  What I will say is that before they made certain changes to their policies we would never think of going onto Steam.  Not even if drugged, kidnapped, and given a choice of Steam or playing Russian Roulette for real.  Yeah, Steam was that bad in our opinion.  Since a bit over a year ago they FINALLY changed those policies we're at least willing to think about it. Still "no" for the near future as we're still not convinced it's going to benefit us.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

Steve sure can and sure will :D  Marketing is a black hole for profits.  Especially back in the old days where there was just about zero way to track ad effectiveness.

The problem with a $3000 ad is that's coming out of profits.  Let's say a game nets $5 profit.  That means the ONE ad has to sell 600 games just to break even.  If you figure in something for opportunity cost it could be 700 or 800.  What are the chances that an ad in something like PC Gamer is going to get us that many sales?  Zero.  And I mean no chance in Hell.  First of all because single ads do nothing, and that means you'll get nothing back.  Instead you have to run a campaign and spread out the losses and gains over many ads.  So let's say 3 months in the top 3 places at $3000 each.  That's $27,000 and the number of units to break even on that would be 5,4000 or maybe 10,000 units with opportunity cost (we could make a whole iOS game for $27,000).  The campaign will probably result in an overall higher number of sales, but it's still got zero chance of paying back on the investment.

With Steam there's the need to get back the 30% they take for providing the service.  If Steam could push significantly more units than we could do on our own (i.e. significantly greater than 30% more) then it makes sense, otherwise it doesn't.

I don't want to get into yet another Steam discussion because it's boring ;)  What I will say is that before they made certain changes to their policies we would never think of going onto Steam.  Not even if drugged, kidnapped, and given a choice of Steam or playing Russian Roulette for real.  Yeah, Steam was that bad in our opinion.  Since a bit over a year ago they FINALLY changed those policies we're at least willing to think about it. Still "no" for the near future as we're still not convinced it's going to benefit us.

Steve

Marketing has always been a "funny" thing for me. Sure, food ads are great for when you're hungry. But I don't think I've ever watched a commercial or looked at an ad and said "Man I gotta have that". Ads are good at exposure but there are so many "free" ways to do that these nowadays that going heavy in the advertisement department doesn't make much sense to me other than like you said Steve in that you've got the money to burn in your profits. Obviously your big hitters have the budget for that sort of thing.

 

On a side note Steve I'll say that saying No to Steam isn't a bad thing. If there was a lot of competition for this type of genre then maybe I would think differently. Word of mouth and I guess the word "tradition" has made the company we see today. And that's not a bad thing. I'll stop there before someone tells me to wipe some brown off a certain part of my anatomy. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertising is more about getting someone who doesn't know you exist to at least consider the possibility of buying from you.  Unfortunately that takes a lot of money and the payoff had better be there.

Some people are pretty much immune to advertising, others can be directed to do buy something they don't want or need.  I am one of those that ads don't work on.  I can't tell you how many times I've raved about some really innovative, funny TV commercial and yet never have (nor ever will) purchase that product.  Even funnier are the times that I can remember an ad in great detail but can't remember what product or company it is for.  Advertisers love people like me because it gives them the illusion that they grow someone's market share through advertising.  "Currently 90% of the population won't buy from your company, so here's what we can do to change their minds".

We have the same issue with being in the niche we're in.  We could spend tons of money trying to get a piece of the 99% of the game market that doesn't even know we exist, but it's just not going to happen unless we have a game that's appealing to them.  Since we don't, the discussion ends there.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

Just curious where the sales figures of Command: Modern Air and Naval Operations came from.  If they were able to sell that for $80 I think there's an even stronger argument that we're way undercharging for our games ;)

Steve

They had a very large ready-made audience with Harpoon fans, ready to play anything like Harpoon if they could avoid the endless internecine bickering. Some barbs were thrown but, by and large, they dodges the mess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertising these days is rarely about selling the product (mattress ads excepted),  its more about 'branding'. You're selling people on the notion that people you'd like to be are buying products like this. That's why you see compact car commercials that show thin sexy college hipsters driving on the beach in moonlight instead of... you know... showing the car. Or responsible-but-sexy young parents buying... uh... laundry detergent. Or shoes. A Battlefront 'branding' campaign would be all about how only the hippest, most iconoclastic in-the-know hard core gamer would play their products. Children and dilettantes need not apply. Which of course would make children and dilettantes all the more willing to purchase the game, just to prove their mettle. Selling your 'brand' is an arduous process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

.A Battlefront 'branding' campaign would be all about how only the hippest, most iconoclastic in-the-know hard core gamer would play their products. Children and dilettantes need not apply. Which of course would make children and dilettantes all the more willing to purchase the game, just to prove their mettle. Selling your 'brand' is an arduous process.

That would be hilarious. Or not :)

I wish the word was more out there though because then I would have been playing these games for 10 years longer. I feel like I missed 10 years of my life :D

Now I am really not sure how I would have heard about the games because I am a bit of an odd duck in that the only computer games I play are the CM games. OK I play angry birds a bit and I played roller coaster and zoo tycoon with the kids and the odd acade game with then but that pretty much sums it up so I have never paid any attention to what game was hot or read any game reviews. I am not sure where any advertising would have reached me. But I guarantee I would have bought a copy the very next day after seeing an add :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably for legal reasons but Battlefront missed a chance at branding when it did not rightly push CM 1 as the true computer SL/ASL. Now that there's a slavish SL/ASL computer game out there, Tigers on the Hunt, the window is firmly closed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, James Cobb said:

Probably for legal reasons but Battlefront missed a chance at branding when it did not rightly push CM 1 as the true computer SL/ASL. Now that there's a slavish SL/ASL computer game out there, Tigers on the Hunt, the window is firmly closed.

How well is that game selling? Probably not as well as Combat Mission.

Frankly, I have seen many, many former SL/ASL players say that CM is a much more realistic game system and I think Battlefront made the right decision not to chain themselves to a boardgame rules set.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, you're still selling the 'product', though. Don't think about BFC products but what the ideal BFC purchaser would be (or like to be). Then market that lifestyle to the public. "BFC combat simulations: For anyone who has ever worn a uniform in the service of his country. The combat sim for people who know what its all about."

Edited by MikeyD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, IanL said:

I wish the word was more out there though because then I would have been playing these games for 10 years longer. I feel like I missed 10 years of my life

It's like having been in a coma, right?

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

3 hours ago, James Cobb said:

Not the rule set but the concept. Good PR could hav walked the line and sent the same message; e.g. "Reminiscent of the scale of the boardgame, ASL...".

Of course we couldn't say that in any sort of marketing campaign, but we didn't have to for two reasons.  Many people already thought CMBO was going to be a direct port of ASL/SL because that is what Avalon Hill originally wanted it to be.  So it came along for the ride even though we rather it hadn't because CMBO wasn't, and that caused some issues.  Second, the ASL guys all found us anyway.  At least the ones who were interested in playing something that wasn't actually ASL.

Based on what actually happened, I doubt we would have picked up many more sales even if we had said "Combat Mission is ASL".  So no need to Monday morning quarterback this... we pretty much had what you suggest.  Whatever potential it did to help us it did.

Let's also keep in mind that we sold roughly 10 times as many units direct as we thought we would PLUS we had major retail deals which were pure gravy for us.  We were plenty happy with the return on investment.

2 hours ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

No need to be that explicit. If you just say "squad level" everyone who has played ASL will know that ASL is also squad level.

I think most of our CMBO testers had a background in ASL.  I know several of the scenarios we shipped with were even based on ASL scenarios in spirit (couldn't do them direct simply because the mechanics were so different).

Oh, and if we want to spend money to increase our sales, I've got news for all of you... going after the ASL crowd is the last place we'd go.  We've already tapped it out.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Loving SL led me to CMBO. Then I got into ASL and it replaced CMx1. Then CMx2: CMBN came out and ASL was pushed out completely. -Probably forever.

I'm seeing more and more of CMx2 on YouTube. One of the popular gamers, DiplexHeated, loves CMx2 and his following is being exposed to the game. I see lots of comments on his videos with people saying the game is awesome and asking where they can get it.

It seems like the word is getting out more and more.

Edited by Macisle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve,

Don't know whether you are still running anything like those animated banners that you did for the CMBO Beta, but those lovely panzers charging across my screen left to right with the galvanizing "The enemy is attacking!" got me out of the Panzer Elite Development Group Page (where the banner ran at the top) and over to your site forthwith. Naturally, this reflects what you've said about a niche market. As it happened, I played SL and COI before I found CMBO Beta and also had played a great many CM level games with miniatures. Guess you could say I was ripe for the picking, having been very well primed. 

On a somewhat related matter, have you ever considered doing CM T-shirts? I'm sure you'd sell quite a few here (if it/they was/were good, I'd definitely buy one or more), but it is also excellent advertising since the typical T-shirt with graphics gets some 10,000 views (believe that's right) over its lifetime. A high quality shirt with a catchy graphic and URL or QR code would greatly increase your exposure, especially since we know for sure many here buy games in addition to CM, and some build models, too. This means they go places where--gasp--gamers and potential gamers are found! They also go to high traffic places where it is possible to catch someone's eye, then curiosity leading to a fateful question. Suppose the shirt said "Ask me about Combat Mission!" Who is more credible and enthusiastic than a CMer when it comes to talking about our favorite obsession/addiction?

Regards,

John Kettler  

Edited by John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, John Kettler said:

A high quality shirt with a catchy graphic and URL or QR code would greatly increase your exposure, especially since we know for sure many here buy games in addition to CM, and some build models, too. This means they go places where--gasp--gamers and potential gamers are found!

*sigh* Not in my crowd. They are mature enough and know me well enough not to sneer and call me a war monger, but I suspect that the thought of actually buying and playing a game like CM would send quiet shivers down their backs.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps as an indication of how niche the game is, I offer the following observation. I have just started working in a dedicated wargames shop. They sell Flames of War, Bolt Action and other figures such as that, plus all the ancillaries (paint, dice, terrain, etc) as their main line of product, with boardgames and RPGs as a definite sideline. The customers I've talked to about CM have by and large looked at me blankly, then responded, "Oh, the computer game..." and gone on to express their disinterest, for various sound and valid reasons. So as a niche product, the best simulation of WW2 at the level it's representing doesn't even appeal very much to the figure gaming crowd (which, for the record, is where I started, and I think CM is a million times better than for a large number of equally solid and valid reasons).

Principally, the wargamers who are still shuffling painted minis round on a table seem to prefer that medium because they give greater weight to the direct face-to-face interaction you get across a table, plus the physical/aesthetic skills of actually painting their figures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could not agree more. The same holds true for board game purists. Which, I think, is the cross-over market that Tigers might be trying to sell into (intentionally or not). Just like some folks like holding a book, some prefer having those physical maps and counters. FOW and finding an opponent is not a concern. Remember the wave of solitaire war games? 

I am sure you have seen the way Strategy and Tactics is trying to bundle the magazine and their Hex War apps.  They also sell into broad games with their Decision Games. That model has been helped since artwork/printing and app development have become fairly inexpensive. The magazine has had distribution in Barnes and Nobel mall stores forever.

Kevin

Edited by kevinkin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...