All purpose Sales and Sales Rumours and Anecdotes [2021 Edition]

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by BRiT, Feb 5, 2021.

  1. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    more subs, more engagement. The latter being more critical than the former.

    MS seems to be banking on subscribers spending more money than they normally would because they play more. Which I think may be true. It doesn't need to be a strong split in favour of spending more, it just needs to be biased slightly more towards spending more than less. Or slightly biased towards people playing less than they get value for (the all you can eat buffet model / workout gym model)

    I look at it like a roulette table, red and black is not 50/50, the house wins because there's 3 spots that the house wins. Over a very long period of time, statically the house will come out on top. I think Game Pass will be like that. They are banking that in a split of people spending less vs people spending more being in favour of being more. And over a very long period of time, the larger the subscriber base, the quicker that becomes true.

    So a good example are a bunch of games that people don't typically play or would buy, now they might be interested in the micro transactions, or the DLC content. Something along the lines of that. It's hard to say without the data MS has, but I wouldn't be surprised if the profits are in favour over the long run and they are just banking on increasing the subscriber base to churn more profit. Eventually this moves to cloud, and I can only imagine them seeing that as being an additional market there for them to profit off.

    Its entirely possible that they cannot bring down the costs enough for subscribers alone to pay for the service ( I really don't know what model MS went with in terms of licensing costs). But they also sell games, DLC, microtransactions, controllers, accessories and other things too -- and expenditures in this area go up with engagement goes up.

    As Apple said during their court case, they are in direct competition with Xbox, because they are fighting for screen time. More engagement = more profit. Somewhere down the line this must be true.
     
  2. DSoup

    DSoup Series Soup
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    Ok. So more subscribers = more revenue. Easy. So let's look to some theoretical future where GamePass now has twice as many users as a it does today, so has twice the subscription revenue* (noting that it seems really easy to get cheap/free subscriptions so maybe not).

    Now put you place in the shows of an independent develop who puts games in Game Pass. Compared to what you are being paid today (wether up-front, or on a bonus basis), what would you expect from Microsoft to include your game in this now twice-as-large subscription base?
     
  3. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Nothing substantially different. You actually might be in a weaker position of negotiation. If MS was desperate to fill out their game library and wanted your title, you are in a position to negotiate.
    If MS is super successful and doubling in size each year, you're may get a worse rate than a better one.

    Typically so much money is spent on marketing, and marketing to convert to sales. Now you have this game pass title that's drawing 40m players to try your title out, getting 1/400 of that in sales is already the target amount of units sold for a very successful indie. To get 40m eyes on the product is amazing in it's own right, even 1 million players trying it will lead to fantastic results. You may not even get an upfront fee from Microsoft at that point in time, or have favourable rates for hours honestly. You may actually, oddly be forced to give it to them for free, and you benefit only from the amount of players playing it. Sounds crazy, but as the numbers get more ludacris, this is more than possible.

    Some % of that will convert to actual sales somehow, perhaps you have some small $1 DLC for skins. You get 40M players, perhaps 1/10 users pay for a micro transaction. Bam, 4M in revenue - cut = 2.25M. That's massive for an indie. That's not even counting the sales that you could accrue from competing platforms like Sony and Steam. So you basically gave the game away for free to build up a community and profit from the other communities. Also entirely possible. If indies weren't so desperate for cash, perhaps this wouldn't be the case. But the reality is, we make shit all. Many games make very little, that's why you find so many of them on humble bundle.

    MS may actually bring forward that type of case to their meetings.
     
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  4. DSoup

    DSoup Series Soup
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    Why? I can't imagine many developers are thinking about including titles in Game Pass without wondering about lost sales. What's your thinking for what the monetary compensation is covering?

    I reckon the only people not concerned about lost sales are the folks whose games are literally years old at this point. Even then you can get a weird resurgence like Thomas was Alone and other cult hits that only became big years after they were originally released.

    Admittedly I've only had a Game Pass subscription for just over a week but I've seen very little marketing for indiviudal titles in Game Pass. If I'm a developer, why is including my game in Game Pass better than just selling it the Xbox store? What marketing for my game can I expect and where is it seen? What if my game does not have DLC or microtransactions? The vast majority of games do not.
     
  5. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    MS team will come to you with fairly precise data on what to expect if you go with them. They'll break down what they think you will make on the low and on the high and the extreme just based upon their past history with new title releases etc. Marketing are all things that can be negotiated, if you don't have a publisher, then you can negotiate for MS to market on your behalf.
    They'll choose a target number that will maximize revenue, and see if you're comfortable with how that pie is cut up. That particular pie may be cut up with MS not paying you that's all I'm saying.

    If you decide to go indie with no marketing support, your expected sales is pretty nil.

    https://vginsights.com/insights/article/infographic-indie-game-revenues-on-steam
    So if you have a big game that becomes a breakout hit on gamepass you make nil lets' say. But now because of that momentum your selling big numbers on playstation or PC. That's a possibility. You needed Game Pass to bring that game forward. Just like certain indie titles started as PS+ launch titles, it's entirely possible some companies are willing to drop revenue in favour of being viral and make the money up on the trail end of things. The larger game pass gets, it just feels like it's more in favour of MS to have the better end of negotiation.

    The game I'm working on, if it ever gets completed, I would be focused on getting it on Game Pass as that will have the best chance for the most number of players to play it on any platform today. Sony has the numbers in pure size, but Game Pass has the players who have already paid to try new titles - I'm likely to get more bites there.

    It's a fairly sad state of affairs on indie:


    really, it's pretty rough out there. The competition is super high, and you're just hoping one day to make a viral game. It's like 0 or max.

    An indie would be lucky to get on Game Pass I think even if for free. Game Pass is still curated, so they're not going to accept anything. It'll be tough to break in, and likely tougher to negotiate something substantial I think. Unless you've built a substantial product. Most well built games will make it through ID@Xbox let's say, but not all of them will make it to game pass.
     
    #325 iroboto, Jun 1, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2021
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  6. DSoup

    DSoup Series Soup
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    I'm sure Microsoft will give you a guide. Will it mach the research done by the developer/publisher?

    You mention marketing again but as I asked above, what marketing of GamePass titles are Microsoft doing? Where is this happening?

    Steam is vastly more saturated than the Xbox store, with around 300-500 titles being added to Steam every month. :runaway:

    Are there any examples of where this has happened?
     
  7. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Their research on playing time specifically for their platform is the source. It'll outdo what you could get yourself or via a 3rd party.

    Something like this:

    or this


    And it's put front and centre for Xbox Game Pass for new releases on the console.

    Its like... sadly the best support I've seen for indies. If you manage to get on E3 stage that's a pretty big deal. Most games, once they make it don't need constant marketing support. They put your game forward once or twice and then it's done. They'll announce it as being part of Game Pass and that'll just get more eyes because it's a new 'free' title for players to try.

    I forget which interview, but it came up that marketing for free game on gamepass; I think them bringing it up was enough for me to believe it must have been signed. I can't find the interview I read that from, but I recall reading it thinking, yea, I'm more than willing to bet an indie took that route.
     
  8. Silent_Buddha

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    Unlike Steam, since the content on Game Pass is curated and the number of titles that are allowed onto the service each week is limited, Indie titles that make it onto Game Pass are featured at the top of the front page.

    Steam can only do this for a limited number of titles due to how many indie developers self publish on the service. While this is a boon in that it at least gives a developer a chance to find an audience, it makes it difficult for developers who aren't featured on Steam's front page to get discovered.

    Steam is constantly working to address visibility through analyzing what people are buying, browsing, and putting on their wishlist to individually tailor the titles that are featured on the front page, but it can still be hit or miss for most developers.

    How important is this? There's a developer blog that talks about sales of their titles both before Greenlight (very high discoverability), after Greenlight (lessened discoverability with accompanying loss of sales, but Steam sales could still boost both), and how it is now that developers can easily self publish on Steam (greatly lessened visibility, lower sales, and Steam sales may or may not get your title featured).

    Visibility for indie titles is even worse on EGS despite there being far fewer developers willing to put their games on EGS.

    For Game Pass, any indie title that is fortunate enough to make it onto the service gets featured on the front page with equal exposure to any AAA titles that make it onto the service for that given week. This massively increases their exposure to customers who may (or may not) find their game interesting. For customers who try and like their game, it can be a profoundly profitable experience with increased sales on Steam and any other storefront where their titles are available.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  9. AzBat

    AzBat Agent of the Bat
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    Don't forget Game Pass Quests & the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox. Without those I wouldn't have found 99% of the indies I've played on Xbox.

    There's also marketing done in the mobile Game Pass app by spotlighting new indies & all the posting they do to Xbox Wire & all their socials.

    Tommy McClain
     
  10. see colon

    see colon All Ham & No Potatos
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    +1 to this. And like anything else in creative fields, building your legend is as important as building your resume. By that, I mean that if you have a resume of 10 games, that's great. But normies don't know your resume. They only know your legend. "This is the team that made GAMEX", you know, that super stylish indie game we played last month "for free" on gamepass.
     
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  11. DSoup

    DSoup Series Soup
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    Yeah, I'm not sold on this "precise data" Microsoft will provide about my game in their curated ecosystem. Until it's released they are not going to know. They'll have ongoing figures about about people's engagement in general and across certain genres but they won't know if people will abandon existing genre games to try mine, if they'll switch to mine, or stick with what they're currently playing etc. I don't believe Microsoft have some technical crystal ball algorithm that is remotely accurate on a per-title basis.

    I think the indie market is over-saturated and I'm not sure GamePass is going to be a solution for that, nor is paying Microsoft to market your game in GamePass different to marketing it on the store, or asking Sony to market it on their store. True, in a smaller space you may get more attention for Game Pass subscribers. I'll have need to spend more time with the Xbox app, mostly I've been in there to find and download specific things.
     
  12. goonergaz

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    I have to say I'm shocked that the take up of Gamepass is so low considering how much everyone bangs on about how good it is.


    Why do we think that is? I mean, it's almost given away and has had some really big promotions and big hitters on there (GTA/FIFA)...what do we think that is?

    There's a load of holes in the data - it's like everything you can make a statistic tell you what you want it to (either side of the fence). For example, let's say the latest game sells 1:1 digital and physical - does that mean that 50% of all gamers will play it digitally and 50% will play it physically? Absolutely not.

    And let's also remember that that physical games are needed for a segment of gamers who would essentially be frozen out of gaming if we had digital only.

    I don't want to speak for others, but I would say either quality drops or prices rise (if MS decide it needs to make a profit). Like any other service the saturation point is the big question, we know there's X consoles out there but often folk will have more than one console in a household but only require one sub...then there's the end of offers etc.

    We have no idea how much money GP brings in, the % that pay full price or anything, I'm fairly certain MS have done their homework but this is uncharted territory, I do get that it's value for money for a segment of gamers...the big question is how big is that segment?
     
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  13. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    In the end you make the final decision for the success of your own game. It’s entirely up to you to make those calls and believe what you want to believe. The market is way over saturated yes.

    So it’s entirely up to you to decide on how to navigate that knowing it is.

    I just provided an opinion of what I think MS would offer an indie based on the idea that GamePass subs are now 2x. I have no reason to believe they would pay me more.
     
    #333 iroboto, Jun 2, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2021
  14. ThePissartist

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    I can only speak for myself. To me, it's the lack of time to dedicate to games. I hardly play at all and when I do it's usually just an hour here or there.

    The number of games I buy for myself are maybe 1-4 per year and some of those hardly get played (Returnal is a great example). I'm not interested in lots of genres of games, maybe only shooters and pixel art style games.

    My children play a lot of games, but also only a small number of them. They're obsessed by Fortnite, Apex Legends, and maybe Spiderman.

    I signed up to a trial of PlayStation Now (yes, I understand that there are less games on this service) and we didn't use it. I tried some old game that I remember hearing about and then didn't use it again. I showed it to my kids and they didn't download any of the games, preferring to stick to their normal go-to games.

    I don't see gaming functioning in the same way as Netflix. I can watch 15mins on Netflix and decide it's trash, the commitment to gaming is totally different and far more involved.

    I'm absolutely certain that there are people that will love the service, since they can play so many games (if they're into essentially every genre), only I don't think that the average gamer has the time or the inclination to play so much.

    More can sometimes equal less depending on your habits. I can spend $70 on COD and be satisfied for the entire year, or spend whatever GamePass costs and not use it for the year. I'd be interested in playing the new Halo, just not interested in an associated subscription. I'd just buy the game at RRP.
     
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  15. zed

    zed
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    Yes it is Low, I dont game otherwise I'ld grab it as its a good deal for game players (though quality of games will decrease).

    I assume its mainly cause ppl as a whole are resistant to change

    I was listening the other day to an episode of freakanomics where they were talking about roundabouts and the USA
    and why the USA has 20% the number of roundabouts of France even though its ~17x larger

    roundabouts are a win - win situation in basically every situation apart from a few out lining traffic situations

    they would save 1000s of american lives each year, plus 100,000s of less injuries, the traffic would go quicker, use less petrol, save ppl money, they are generally cheaper etc, i.e. its a no brainer, like I said win - win
    yet why are they not in the USA? because the vast majority of ppl are resistant to change, "these new fangled roundabouts, I hate them, I dont know them thus I hate them"
    i.e. they survey ppl in the town in the USA about what they think of roundabouts, ~90% hate them, bad idea etc
    then they put a roundabout in the town
    survey ppl in that town 6 months later, ~90% love roundabouts, WTF didnt we do this before (repeat with subsidized medicine)

    perhaps MS should just make gamepass free for a year to everyone, get 250 million ppl signed on, sure this will cost them billions
    but who knows what will happen after this year, perhaps 100 million stay signed up?
     
  16. goonergaz

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    lol, it's like I wrote this. Totally agree...I'd much rather focus on what's important to me...but I can totally see why people who have a lot of spare time might love it.

    Don't get me started on roundabouts lol! I'm not sure I get why they are safer than lights (if that's what you're saying) - but I know a couple of roundabouts locally that are a total mare - from a 'pulling out safely if at all' kind of PoV due to the level of bias traffic - but also you get some people use roundabouts like a chicane not slowing at all, also one right near me where people don't think they have to give way (or even check) for other traffic! /OT
     
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  17. zed

    zed
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    The main reason is theres far fewer accidents and if they happen they are travelling at a slower speed so theres less deaths, injures, damage to cars

    what often happens at lights at an intersection?
    the lights about to go red, some guy coming to them speeds up to make the lights, as they dont want to be stuck there for a minute waiting for the light to change (we've all seen this or even done it)
    runs the light, T-boned from someone else |<---
    "According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), forty percent of all motor vehicle accidents occur in an intersection."

    Now contrast this with a roundabout where you slow down when you approach the roundabout, plus youre looking at the road/traffic and not at the light
     
  18. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    It’s actually quite an popular service considering it’s age. It’s double up period is extremely fast. Unlike gold or ps+, game pass is not required to functionally play the console.

    If they removed the MP requirement on both you’d see a dramatic drop here.

    as for why you don’t see a huge uptick, it’s not a relevant point. There are companies that offer generous share plans and people don’t participate in those even though it’s an obvious immediate net gain.

    playing the stock market with blue chip stocks has largely been in everyone’s favour over a statically long time and people don’t invest either.

    so it doesn’t really matter how good a deal is or a service is, people will not bother.

    Tap water for a majority of the world is perfectly drinkable and safer than most bottled water and yet people keep driving out in droves and paying a 1000% markup for it over tap.

    Peoples choices has no relevance over the actual value of the service.

    Perceived value is something else. That’s entirely per person. Game pass is useless to a person looking to play Zelda titles.

    when people talk about the value of game pass we are referring to actual value. Not the perceived value.

    it’s like saying everyone in the world should enjoy all GOTY titles because it was rated as being GOTY. You wouldn’t make that argument, so in the same way GamePass is not for everyone. But to say it’s not successful would be a fair stretch of the truth considering it’s overtaken it’s competition and leap frogged it in a very short period of time.
     
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  19. goonergaz

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    Reads response, checks post replying to, assumes didn't read...or maybe things are different in the US :p

    I appreciate it's not for everyone, I'm just kind of surprised it doesn't have higher takeup - as pointed out elsewhere - it now includes XBL, so if you already had XBL it's almost a no brainer not to upgrade to gamepass isn't it? An extra £5 pm isn't it?

    I'm not sure why you're mentioning stock markets and things like that - in a company you have a vast range of incomes, interests and an so forth. Here you have a commonality that everyone (with a console and gaming PC) is interested in playing games, that's a lot of people - you can't say the games are not the right type as there's a great variety, so you're left with 2 factors as far as I can see, price or perceived value...but maybe I'm over simplifying it.
     
  20. BRiT

    BRiT (>• •)>⌐■-■ (⌐■-■)
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    No and yes.
    GamePass does not include Xbox Gold.
    Gamepass Ultimate does include Xbox Gold. It also include PC GamePass. It also includes xCloud.
     
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