Make It Big In Games blog has been quiet for a couple of months because most of my time has been spent working on our social networking site, Great Games Experiment (GGE). I have also been working on some new games, but that is fodder for future posts.
- Most importantly you can find and play games you have never heard of. Find new games based on your preferences for games you have rated in the past. There are already over 500 free games (over 2,800 ((edit 3,000)) game profiles) posted on GGE.
- Create your own Gamer profile with surprisingly powerful drag and drop Ajax tools and GGE mark-up.
- Post game profiles for games that you like or help others that have already submitted a game profile.
- Rate and review games.
- Create your gamer friends network with extremely powerful “white-list” friend management tools.
- Personally meet the developers of your favorite games.
- Participate in the development of new games or Beta test games in development.
- Create groups of gamer friends with similar interests or for your tribe, clan, or team.
- Publish your gaming interests to your blog, or favorite social networking site through badges.
Since the MBG blog is mainly aimed at developers, you might want to know how GGE can help you. Since my background is in development, GGE was really created with developers in mind. I have noticed over the years, that making a game is only half the battle. Getting people to notice your creation is even harder. Getting a large number of people interested in looking at your game can be extremely difficult. Sure, you can put up a blog, and maybe ten people will visit it (no, your Grandmother and Aunt don’t count). You can buy Google Adwords, but I can assure you they will not pay back. You can SEO the crap out of your website and, at best get a couple hundred visits per month. But, if we can band together and make a site that is useful to Gamers, we can bring hundreds of thousands or even millions of people within reach of your game.
Having Indie Games listed right next to the Big Games on consoles, hand helds, and PC’s can get people take a look and try them out. We weren’t sure this would be the case, thus the word “experiment” in the name, but it is working. Already small games such as Forces are getting attention they would just not have gotten without GGE. HermitWorks Entertainment is using GGE as a major platform for the launch of their game Space Trader. Gameslol has posted a great blog post about how he sees GGE helping Indie game makers.
One indie game maker and blogger has written off GGE with a scathing and derisive “MySpace meets games… I don’t get it” post, saying that everything an Indie game maker needs to market their game is available on the Internet. This guy didn’t get MySpace. He doesn’t use it. Hey, 60,000,000 users can’t all be wrong. You don’t need to use it to understand it. Sure, all the tools are available on the Internet to build your audience. It happens every day that you hear about some new site creating a huge and growing audience, but will your site do that? Nope.
Many A-list bloggers such as Conversion Rater and Read Write Web have been predicting that niche social sites will be a big deal, and I agree with them. For more of a Developer take on it, Marek Bronstring had some great insite. Once basic human needs, such as getting laid, are taken care of on sites like MySpace and Facebook, social features work well for hobbies and targeted interests of users. So far, even in closed, invite-only Alpha state, we are finding huge interest in our efforts. We already have over 3,000 game listing and are nearing 8,000 users. Our Alexa rating is already dipped below 20,000, and our page views are growing exponentially.
Here are a few more things that GGe can help you with if you are a developer:
- Collect a willing audience that wants to hear about the release of your games.
- Create a private group to discuss your game ideas or present prototypes.
- Find programmers, artists, designers, or others to complete your development team.
- Find Beta testers.
- Promote your game on game profile pages and in Groups.
- Promote your game through Badges posted in blogs and on other social networking sites.
Many people have asked what GarageGames gets out of a free site. For now, the answer is nothing. In the future ad revenue will hopefully be enough for us to pay the hosting and bandwidth costs. But that surely won’t pay for all of the development, plus the future development that will need to be done to go from Beta to Final. Our hope is that the experiment truly works out, and gamers flock to GGE. GarageGames is still making games and we want to have a place to sell our own games. We believe. I hope you can to.