While some marketers are turning to games like Gears of War 2, the new expansion to the World of Warcraft mmpog or Red Alert 3 as a diversion from working on their marketing campaigns all day, it might be a little too easy to overlook the immense profits present within the niche.
A recent CNN report profiled Steve Demeter, creator of Trism, a game for the Apple iPhone. Priced at about $5 per download, the game which is similar to bejewelled, has generated $250,000 in profits in its first 2 months, giving aspiring game developers an easy distribution channel through the iPhone and the app store.
Likewise, TechCrunch recently reported that PlaySpan which deals with virtual currency for online games has raised $16.8 million in series B funding. The company said to be founded by a 5th grader is focused on providing virtual goods for online games like Eve Online, EverQuest and EA games.
With these news items making headlines regularly, it shows that the profits within the game industry are open to all, even if you’re a 1 or 2-man startup, planning to compete with or cooperate with the big games companies.
In particular, integrating advertising and affiliate offers with a game, can provide an opportunity for internet marketers to move into the entertainment space easily.
A couple of pointers should you decide to go into the game development arena:
- Flashy graphics do help, especially in making a first impression. What generates game “stickiness” is solid gameplay and an innovative concept. Some of the most successful Facebook games are simple, but elegant in their design and gameplay. Focusing on creating something that people want to play over and over again is the first step towards success.
- Determine your niche. There’re probably already tens of similar competitors for whatever racing, shooting or fighting game you might have in mind. What separates one successful application from another is a thorough understanding of what users want, rather than the myriad of clone applications and result “clone wars”. Understanding your target market works well in game development.
- Think of a marketing or branding funnel. As the Star Wars franchise has shown, merchandise can generate as much if not more profit, compared to a movie alone. Likewise, building in multiple streams of income and product possibilities into your game, can open up various possibilities too.