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February 19, 2006

Comments

Action

Yeah, I have an idea. I've been thinking about the same thing recently. We're getting ready to release an interesting game.

To hype it up, we were going to say that only a few copies can get sold every day. The way we intend to explain this limitation is the fact that we allow folks that buy the game to become a member in a forum (of sorts). So to ensure that the forum doesn't crash under heavy growth, we limit the number of copies.

Let's be clear here though...the game needs to also be fun.

So let's say you have a fun game....an addictive game.

Here's a thought experiment...
Is there a way to make a meta-game out of buying the game? What if you have an auction system for the 10 copies each day? The top 10 bidders get the game for the day (or week, etc.).

Or how about this...what if the first 10 buyers for the day get some free gift (like another game, or fun cat/animal screensaver).

That way, you can have the "limitation" idea without having to limit the number of sales each day.

We offer free gifts with every purchase. But...maybe having something where the first 10 folks that buy the game for the day get a free gift.

Or...when you release a game...the first 1000 folks that buy the game get some set of free gifts.

Don't know if any of these ideas will work...but I think I'm going to experiment with a few of them.

Later,
Action

RodeoClown

One idea I was thinking of using if/when I ever get around to making my dream game, was to use an invitation-only download/sign up method.

Similar to what Google used with G-mail, where every so often, existing users get a notification of having so many invites to send out to new people. This way you can control the influx of users and allow people to feel like they are part of an exclusive club.

David St Lawrence

I find it hard to comprehend how a commodity product can be made more attractive by limiting quantity.

The reason that Hugh and Tom will pull it off is that the scarcity is real. Only so many suits can be made to Thomas Mahon's exacting standards.

Furthermore, Hugh will be continually making the point that the scarcity exists, so the product does not drop out of sight.

On a commodity product like software, an almost infinite supply of copies are available. Perhaps the only way to create an edge is by continuous innovation and by aggressive pricing.

RodeoClown

If you are making an online product, there is actually a scarcity involved, but it's not the software.

It's server resources - RAM, CPU, Customer support and the like. Things that more customers hurt, rather than help. By providing scarcity on the client side, you can restrict access while you scale things up slowly, taking your time to get it right.

If you don't think this kind of scarcity pays off - look at MMORPGs that are now 'selling' access to their beta programs.

Tony Edgecombe

I think the lesson to learn from English Cut is how they have approached a problem meeting demand. The problem they have is they don't have access to enough people to make the product.

What they have done is rather smart, they have looked at the problem and said how can I turn this to my advantage. In this case they are trying to develop a perception of exclusivity and scarcity for their product.

The lesson to learn for your own business is to develop the skill of turning problems into opportunities.

Luke Crook

Enzo Ferrari said that you should make one less than you think you can sell. Of course he sold Ferrari's, not XBox 360's.

Cliff

It's possibly better to take the idea as a wider concept.
What they are doing is charging a premium for a high quality product.
If you are amking a game that few other people are making, you are already in a situation of limited supply. Not of untis, but of products.
There are only very few people making serious hex-based wargames, so shrapnel and matrixgames can charge more than people do for Zuma.
There are VERY few people making political simulation games. So I get to charge a few dollars more than most people for that game.
And there is basically nobody except maxis making life sims, so I hope to do well there as well.
If your making match 3 puzzle games, you are in a situation of drastic oversupply, and youll be lucky to sell anything.

Winter Wolves Games

Charging higher prices translates also in casual games. Check Mahjong infinity and other games at BFG, they sell it at $29 (even higher than my niche games that go up max to $24.95)...

Jesse Smith

I think you could think of support contracts as being a way of "limiting supply". Many business customers will pay a yearly fee for the peace-of-mind of knowing that their support requests are prioritized. So in effect, you're selling a scarce resource (customer support time available in a day).

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