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#AskJoshHarcus Episode 8: Indiepocalypse, Micro DLC, and Video Game Marketing


In this episode we talk about Indiepocalypse, Micro DLC and marketing campaigns that I have really enjoyed.

 Taighlor asks. "What game that you know of had the best marketing promotion events and why?"

Answer: Great question, I am a huge fan of mobile games so I would say the game the best marketing has been Crash of Clans. I have been playing Clash of Clans for two and half years and they've done an amazing job with marketing their game and getting people in. They did a big promotion during the Superbowl, they've used Liam Neeson in their ads and continue to feature many big name actors in their ads. They have a great wiki that has all their strategy and they've done an amazing job with building up their content including their fans. So overall marketing they have done the best.

However, if we're going to identify one video game marketing campaign that was great, it'd be the recent CoD: Advanced Warfare promotion. I was actually involved with this Call of Duty campaign and they had you fulfill different missions and then they would give you a care package if you completed that kill streak. So that was pretty cool. I think that was part of the coolest marketing campaign I've seen as they used elements of the game to try and bring people in real life. That was an awesome marketing campaign. 

I'd have to chalk it up to those two: Clash of Clans takes it for overall best marketing strategy and then Call of Duty takes the cake for having best campaign that I've experienced.

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Question: Karl asks, "Why is the Micro DLC model of gaming so popular?"

Answer: For those who don't know what DLC stands for, it stands for downloadable content. So the question is about Micro DLC or small amounts of downloadable content and why it's popular—first let me back up and explain what that actually means. In the past you would buy a disk, you would install that disk in your computer, it would download on the computer and that was the game that you had. If they came out with a new version, new maps, new characters—whatever, that would be an expansion disk that they usually sold separately.

Then you would buy that expansion or you could buy the pack that had both. Then discs became more obsolete—when was the last time you touched a CD or a CD disk? Probably been a while. Now you can download the game direct from the internet. You could use a system like Steam or Origin and you can actually access games from the Internet and download them.

What that allowed to happen is that it allowed people to say, "You know what? We don't have to give a whole version. We don't have to put a whole version on a CD and make it worth buying a whole entire CD. Instead we could tell people, 'Hey, if you want to buy a character or new feature for a dollar, you now can.'"

From a scalability model think about it this way, if you bought the CD update and let's say the game was like $50 and the expansion was $30—that's kind of the way the traditional model worked. Nowadays, a game is $50 and the individual pieces are maybe $5 here, $10 here but added up, all those additional pieces are another $100+. If someone goes all in and buys all of the micro downloadable content opportunity they can, they are now driving that much more revenue back to the gaming company. The gaming company can say, "You don't have to buy the $10 upgrade for everything you can buy the bits and pieces that you like for maybe $5 here, a couple of dollars there and so it provide them the ability to get more revenue.

Examples of this League Of Legends and Dota which have been the top revenue grossing games for years now. They are at least in the top ten if not the top games right now that are grossing the most revenue and they sell skins—all they sell are different outfits for your characters. Generally, they try to sell things that don't influence game play as much, because that can have a natural negative effect on the entire game and therefore have less people play. How do we keep game play consistent so it's fair but at the same time give people to spend more money and that's where download with content comes into play.

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Questions: Alex asks, "What does it take for indie games to avoid the indiepocalypse and raise to a point where an average consumer can find it easily?"

Answer: First, what are indie games? Indie games are basically independent games creators who don't have a publisher aka Microsoft, Apple or EA that are pushing out the games so that the masses can buy it very easily and know where it is. Some great examples of indie games are like the original Minecraft, Rocket league, Five Night's at Freddy's. All these games that all of a suddenly pop out of know where and noone knows who they are affiliated with.

What happens is people are learning how to code and they are learning how to make games without even knowing how to code. So the influx or the amount of people that are making games continues to increase. Even though they may not have connections at Microsoft or Apple or with other big name publishers. So they don't know how to get their foot in the door and show their games. A lot of them are making really cool games for themselves and then putting them out there with the use of communities like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. They end up getting their game published because enough people start seeing it and they get their game recognized because they create this little fan base around the game.

Indie game creators will need to make sure they can show off their game so people can identify with it, and people can recognize, that's a game that I would want. If you can do that, and you can start to grow a community around that you're going to already have a user base you can start with that community and then it kind of fans out from there, they tell their friends, their friends tell their friends etc, etc.

Question: Kevin asked, "Favorite video game and why is it your favorite?"

Answer: I am going to do my best at answering this question. I will give you three mobile games I am playing currently and three console games on my PS4 that I am playing right now. Those are really the top ones that are competing for my time and are my favorites. So, my favorite mobile games are Clash of Clans, Alto, which is A-L-T-O, and Catan (which is actually a board game but I have a mobile version on my phone). The next three are on console and they are Star Wars Battlefront, Black Ops III and Rocket League.

I've been really, really, really, loving Rocket League. If you play a lot Rocket League let me know, we should definitely try to play sometime. It's probably the only sports game I've really gotten addicted to even though it's not really a real sport—but anyways that's up for debate. Those are the top six of my favorite games that I'm playing right now.

Thanks so much for watching this video, I've actually really enjoyed the questions today. It's a lot of fun to combine my love of video games and business so feel free to ask me more video game questions and we can keep this conversation going. Use the #AshJoshHarcus either on Instagram you can tag me @joshharcus on Twitter.

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