2006/10/30

Publishers are stupid (in Germany at least)

I just don't get it. The marketing people of German distributors are just stupid, plain stupid. I am talking about covermounts. In case you don't know: in Germany most major magazines have one or more full games on their DvD. Thats right, a full game for the price of a magazine. You also have to be aware that German magazines sell far more than any other counterpart worldwide (ok, lets talk western world, I don't know about Asia). The largest magazine has a circulation of well beyond 500.000 sold copies ... each month. And yes, they have a FULL game on top of every DvD.

When this started a couple of years ago (PC Player invented that here I think 1995?) usually older games where on the CD/DvD. That was during a time when a one year old game really looked a year old. The graphic advancement in technology was much faster back then. Today the visual quality doesn't jump tremendously like it did in the past. A game which was high end last year also looks pretty good this year. Even some games 2 or more years old still look decent.

Of course there is money behind it, magazines pay a lot of money per covermount. However it is the publishers decision WHEN the covermount is being released.

What happened this month? Neverwinter Nights 2 is being reviewed and the launch hype is there with widespread advertising (6 page ads? Wtf!). And PC Games has Neverwinter Nights 1 on their covermount while their sister magazine has the Add On on theirs. Do marketing people REALLY believe this helps sales for NWN2? Do they actually PLAY their games?

Someone who doesn't know NWN (yep there are some out there) and actually starts to play NWN won't play another RPG for weeks, if not months. Its that big, its huge, and a very good RPG on top. And he gets it for $5. And he gets a magazine on top. Or is it vice versa? Who knows.

Publishers, listen. Dont covermount your primary IP when your sequel is going to hit the shelf. It hurts. Believe me. Ask your gamers. Ask your audience. Thats a stupid decision you made, and its not the first time you did so. Every year you loose customers, destroy the value of high end games in the mind of your customer.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous23:58

    Sorry to be anonymous but since you dont know me it wouldnt be useful.

    Well, I think in some cases it makes sense. The full versions should give the players a little glimps on the successor. In case the main audience knows the title well and has played it and doesnt really want to play that old crap. So they maybe try it and then buy the sequel. And thats the point. Of course there are hardcores who play it but they arent the mass market.

    So my advice is: Think about selling old CDV games to magazines if you have a sequel or a similar game in your portfolio.

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  2. We do covermounts for CDV games. Research has shown that it doesnt effect the sales of the original if the price is under 28 euro already (ie. Budget).

    However it does effect sales of the sequel. If you would be a new gamer and fan of RPG's and you get NWN1 for free on a magazine, when would you buy NWN2? Think about it and you see that it does hurt sales when the game is most profitable: during its first three months.

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  3. Anonymous15:28

    Well, I personally would play a bit NWN1. If I like it I would for sure play on and dont buy the sequel. But if I think its technically outdated I would stop playing it and go on to the sequel. In the NWN case I would straight move on to the sequel because I personally dont like NWN.

    Anyway - the best would be to release such full versions several months before the release of the sequel. But for sure this depends on the game (for example a shooter wouldnt matter that much as a complex RPG like NWN).

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