Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thinking of charging for your own games?

Think what you've got what it takes to sell your own games? This is the perfect opportunity for you to get your feet wet in the industry. Caspian Prince of Puppy Games is letting everyone affiliate sell his games for 100% commissions (he gets nothing) for the entire month of april. Or as he calls it, "free money!"

Offer is for selling these three games:

These are some award winning retro games by Puppy Games available through BMTMicro for Linux, Macintosh and Windows. I think one was even in GameTunnel's well-known game of the year lists, and Ultratron was ported to be a Xbox game for sale. You'd be nuts not to try this... it's almost as if you made them yourself, you keep every cent of the profits from selling.

Related link: 101 guide to sell casual games. Hell, every previous post on here is somewhat related. Do some reading and I'm sure you'll be able to make some extra money this month selling puppy games.

Two things you should know if you're into selling games:

The game links above (Droid Assault, Ultratron & Titan Attacks) are all "nofollow". That means the search engines won't give those linked websites any bonuses in the rankings. Why? Because I'm probably going to try affiliating these games... and I don't want to make any more competition for myself!

Blog readers are more than welcome to compete though, I'd love to hear how you folks are doing in the comments later! The Puppy Games link above is permanently followed, because this is a pretty cool offer for Cas to make. Thanks for the "free money" opportunity!

And the second? Think about out why Cas is doing this offer of his. I'm assuming it's in hopes of getting more affiliates who make him sales. Some of them might keep promoting his games once Puppy Games is back to the 30% affiliate rate.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sell Xbox Games

Microsoft's Xbox Community Games, a service for the Xbox 360 that allowed game developers to sell XNA games on the Xbox 360 live system, has finally released some sales statistics to developers. How much money can you make selling xbox games if you aren't on the livearcade?

Most of the developers I've seen had disappointing stats, however there were a few that stood out worth mentioning. Microsoft also mentioned that several xbox community games sold over the US average salary total in the last four months, which is about $32,000. Not bad if it was for selling an xbox game you made in a short period of time.

Remote Masseuse, a "game" application which used the controller's rumble pack to let people massage themselves, had: 55,000 trial downloads. 3,500 purchases. 3.6% conversion rates for selling xbox games. Priced at 200 microsoft points.

Aaron's Ping Pong, a xbox game selling for 200 points had: 13,448 demo downloads. 877 games sold. Conversion rates of 6.5%.

Groov had 12,000 free downloads. 2,500 xbox games were sold. This had a whopping sales conversion rate of 20.8% which is well above average for almost any industry, especially selling games.

There are many more developer stats for selling xbox games available now if you look around. Developers don't have to provide sales statistics, but thanks to everyone who has. Is it worthwhile to try to sell an xbox community game? That's up to you. I'd say it's still a great option for something you didn't spend a lot of time making & can market.

Here's some other developer stats from selling their xbox games: Snake360 - 37,701 demo downloads. 1,456 bought. Conversion rate of 3.9%. This xbox game was for sale at 400 points. Solar, released last week, sold 1,500ish copies at 200 points and a 18% converting rate. I won't be updating this entry but feel free to comment with other posted results from selling xbox games.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

101 guide to sell casual games

Most people will tell you simply to join a game selling program like Reflexive Amazon's GameCenter Solution and put up their affiliate links. Or maybe you'll be told to do the same with Plimus, BMTMicro or other payment providers. There's plenty with casual game affiliate programs.

They'll tell you to throw up some screenshots, a description, and two links - "download demo" and "buy game". Sure, that can work, but you'll usually need a lot of traffic to leverage or an audience who already wants to buy casual games.

This blog is about other methods. Sure, that will be covered too, but I'm writing for the newbie audience. The ones who'll need a 101 guide about how to sell casual games on the internet. Let's assume for today that you don't have a website of your own somewhere. You don't even need one.

Don't just try to copy a portal if you have no intention of being one yourself. There's free services like Squidoo who let you host single pages and you can even use them for shameless marketing. Some programs like Playfirst and Gamecentersolution might not let you join without a website but others allow those pages. Demo? Screenshots? You don't need to give players those either to sell casual games if you know what you're doing. It's the hardcore market that expects those. Some copywriting and marketing skills are a major plus.

That's a Squidoo referral link. Both of us will receive an extra $5 if you use their pages long enough. The Squidoo pages & forum are a great way to learn the affiliate marketing basics, but you'll want to advance out of them once you're ready for a 201 guide to sell casual games.

Find out the audience

Chances are people who like Diner Dash won't also like Master of Defense or Aveyond 3. Many marketers waste a lot of time trying to promote products to the wrong type of audience. Find out who enjoys what you want to affiliate and find a way to get them to your pages.

Search Engines

This blog doesn't exist to sell games - you won't find any on here to buy. However, it's easier to fill it with useful posts instead of garbage... the readers I get are a nice bonus. This blog post was because keyword research said people are looking for information about it, without much competition. Use the same thing to design sites and pages that are meant to try to sell casual games online.

Don't fall into the trap of just finding products and writing nonsense about them - the more specific you are the better. Skip the useless positive reviews with affiliate links, it's already overdone and not doing too well for the casual game reviewers. GameZebo will rank higher than yours anyways. Or if you do decide to review, use that to also recommend other products at the same time... people searching for the casual game usually already have it or know somewhere else to get it, like a discount club.

Social Marketing

This could be promoting them to your friends, or even a message board post like "Popcaps new Peggle game is fun. What do you think?" if you're well known there. Affiliate links work every where, not just on your own site. Be careful where and to who you promote casual games. You might get yourself banned or even lose friends sick of you marketing towards them. One popular method that works is a simple forum signature. Most forums allow you to advertise in them and that's a perfect place to draw in traffic to your affiliate links or landing pages.

Paid Advertising

You can use this to draw more traffic to your pages for selling casual games online but I don't recommend it to newbies at all. You might as well be throwing your money into the wind.


Here's a little secret I wrote about earlier with sell walkthroughs. If the people had to already buy the game to reach wherever they need help with... chances are they'll buy more games too. Why market to random people when you can sell casual games to folks who you already know buy (or pirate) them.

This should be enough to get you started. Good luck selling casual games, more posts will be here soon to help you along the way. Here's one last tip:

Avoid Banners

Most affiliates just throw up a bigfish gameclub affiliate banner, or even worse, a bunch of them onto their pages. Sometimes being subtle with your casual game links will have much better results.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Walkthroughs that Sell

Lately I've been experimenting with some different forms of affiliate sales pages. Do game walkthrough pages sell games to people looking for help with them? I wouldn't have thought so. Turns out I was wrong.

Friends & I created a few minisites for basic game information, and these were intended to sell similar games to the readers that find them using google. However we came into an interesting observation: These game walkthroughs were also selling the games themselves that they were supposed to be about!

They give some basic information on how to play the game that only people who've already played it would be interested in. Another interesting thing about these mini walkthrough pages: no "buy" links, and most don't even have screenshot links.

According to the statistics programs they visit these pages, download demos again, then buy the game. None of these game buyers are probably pirates who decided to change their mind... I wonder why these people go through all that hassle instead of just buying the game from the demo they already have.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone as a strategy for selling games, but it's fun to play around with. The walkthrough affiliate sales numbers aren't yet high enough that it was worth the time they took us to make - months will tell. It could also be a sign that these demos have very poor upselling / landing pages / trial endings or are the types of games people will think about later.

If you've made a game of your own - you should definitely set up some mini walkthrough pages somewhere. It might even sell games, or keep affiliates who do stuff like this from piggybacking off your potential customers. If nothing else it'll keep sites like JayIsGames and CasualGameGuides that throw walkthroughs and hints into their titles of every game they want to affiliate sell further down the search engines.

You could even try selling game walkthroughs of your own - Jeff Vogel from Spiderweb Software does okay with the ones he creates according to recently released sales statistics from him. The walkthrough pages can also be used to sell sequels and other related materials... even if it's just links to things on Amazon.