Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Still Blog You !

I've been meaning to write a free-style blog post in a while.
The past blog posts have been too focused on mobile game dev and marketing.

A lot of things that one used to gather in a blog post, nowadays end up scattered around Twitter and Facebook (I have FB setup so that my tweets end up in there as well).

Most of the pictures I take are also by cell phone and they end up on Twitter (see the recent images gallery.. but what if I want to see all of them ? mumble mumble !)

As 2011 wraps up, I'm still going forward as an independent mobile games developer. Holding on, but it's certainly a struggle.
Without a monthly salary and with the marketing and PR of your own games in your own hands, anything that you do or don't do has an effect to you being able to live well or struggle to pay the rent (which I now realize is so expensive !).

At the same time, the marketing stuff is so up in the air. Does writing a post in some message board or a tweet somewhere actually make a difference ?
I've seen that having a natural connection to the Italian market (friends and family and translating a game to Italian) does have an effect. My latest game Fractal Combat sold relatively well in Italy and was high in the charts there for the first couple of weeks of the release.

On the other hand, how does one have an effect on the biggest market, the American one ?
Does advertisement space make a difference ? If it does, it's not in the immediate, because it's really hard to correlate any increase in sales when spending hundreds of dollars in ads space.

Ads are tricky, I like to believe that there is a meaning behind spending money on those. The meaning would be that the game gets noticed in some way and that there is some potential butterfly effect.
Otherwise, if one sees the cost of an ad, and the people that click on the ad, then if all the people that click through the ad, actually buy the 99 cents game (extremely unlikely), one would simply make back the initial investment.

So, ads must serve a secondary purpose.. maybe some sort of reinforcement of a brand of a game name that may translate into a purchase at some point.
Maybe one has to launch a heavy campaign that generates interest on all relevant sites all at once in a short window of time.. Or maybe they are just useless 8)

I don't like these things, because they are chaotic and practically impossible to predict !
This is the exact opposite of programming, where everything goes by the rules, and time isn't unstoppable (when programming, one gets virtually infinite chances to try all possible ways to do something in the exact same state).

Then there are the usual problems of working by yourself at home.. mostly discipline. On one side, I practically work every single day, on the other side, it's hard not to give into distractions and focus is really hard to obtain.. also because I have to do some much work that I wouldn't normally like to do !

Recently I've been trying to broadcast some sessions of programming/stage editing.
Nothing special, actually, mostly boring, because it all seems to happen at a rather slow pace. This is the mostly boring programming bits, when stuff just needs to be done. But knowing that someone may be watching (live or later on), keeps me on my toes.
So far, this has helped to prevent me from stepping off and grab a snack or get lost in some strange corner of the Internet.. or maybe do some other interesting programming, that however isn't what I'm supposed to be working on 8)

So, well, this blog post ended up being about work as well.. but it's a post nonetheless !

Have fun !