thread: 2012-03-21 : Monster Mania Con: barriers to interest

On 2012-03-22, Julia wrote:

It seems to me that it would be likely that the buyer of a $5 DVD has already seen the film and just wants to add to his collection, or is making a cheap impulse buy, or both. Would you consider a horror rpg at a horror convention an impulse buy? Can you realistically be profitable by slashing prices? And profitable could mean, "cutting your price and taking a preliminary financial hit in order to make inroads with the consumer, with the hope that you can make repeat customers." Sure some of those repeat customers will probably come back looking for more $5 games. Is slashing prices and taking a loss a risk worth taking for unproven long term gain? And there's always the stigma of a cheap thing. Cheap doesn't always mean "good." It often means "crap" or "disposable" to a consumer (if my $5 DVD breaks or is a poorly pirated copy, no big deal. I've seen the movie a dozen times). Lowering the price might be a good thing in the long run, but the price should be still be sustainable and not counterproductive.

At a convention you have less than 15 seconds to make your pitch—to even convince someone to spend 10 minutes with you in a demo. You have much more time to make that pitch and answer questions on a forum, blog, podcast, website, etc. People who read your blog know you love horror movies, but people read your blog generally read it because they want to read what you say about RPGs, not horror fiction and media outside the context of gaming (well, maybe some of us do). So how much outreach to the "horror community" did you do before you went to the convention?  Did you go to their online communities and affiliate yourselves with them? (Hi! We're horror fans, too. We write rpg's. We're going to be at Monster Mania Con demoing some of our horror games. Do you have any questions now? Who's going? Those of you who have been, what should I expect? I'd love to meet you. I see that you like [your favorite horror movie], too. My game follows a similar thread in that...)

Let's call Monster Mania "Rome", horror fans are Romans, and gamers are Greeks. Now it may be that you're of Greek and Roman heritage, or maybe your an ex-patriot Roman living among Greeks. Whatever. When you go to Rome, do you show your Roman roots when you sell to your fellow Romans or do you act like a Greek who wants the Romans to buy your stuff? I'd bet that the Romans would be more likely to buy things—new and different things at a reasonable price—from other Romans, even if those Romans have been living abroad for many years. Before you ever went to GenCon, how active were you at the Forge?

If you didn't make in-roads before you went to the convention, it's not surprising you got an icy reception. You didn't have enough time to convince them that your cool thing was something of value to them. Maybe you also came off as gamers who wanted a piece of the horror action rather than horror fans wanting to share their gamer action with other horror fans. I don't think selling your game for cheap would have made a difference if people still saw you as not one of them.


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