[MUD-Dev] Marketing Resources?

Mike Rozak Mike at mxac.com.au
Thu Apr 28 19:21:11 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

Michael Hartman wrote:

> Is it wise to open up your web site 6-12 months before release,
> and then every few weeks add a bit more to the site to keep people
> checking back (new race this week! or new class this week!
> etc.). Or does releasing information that far in advance result in
> the game seeming old and passe by the time it actually comes out.

> It seems like building hype and getting the community started
> around a game is a vitally important aspect of having a good
> release. The question then is how best to accomplish that.

Is an early announce such a good idea?

  1) You get a lot of initial buzz when your VW is newly added to
  MMORPG.com (or whatever), but subsequent updates don't get as
  much. Your 50'th update of the week is pretty much ignored.

  2) When you put a web site up ahead of time, you may make promises
  (or statements perceived as promises) that you can't keep.

  3) You will get a lot of feedback from users who comment about
  your MMORPG as they imagine it to be from your limited
  descriptions. They can't comment on your real MMORPG until you
  have a public beta. I don't know how valuable such comments are.

  4) If you do manage to build and maintain a community long before
  launch then you get hoards of players trying to log in on the
  first day, half of which won't be playing in a month. The result
  is that the servers crash all the time in the first month, not
  only because they're overloaded, but also because they're new and
  untested. I think you'd want a slow launch, and only hype things
  up once things are stable and existing players are happy.

  5) Your competitors get to see what your VW looks like 2 years
  before it's done, or at the very least the get a
  warning. (Assuming you do the standard MMORPG trick and put up
  screen shots as soon as you have a single avatar running around in
  a treeless world with one house.)

  6) If you put up a web page before your public beta, the main
  feature you'll be competing on is "my screenshots look better than
  yours". You can describe your really cool crafting system, but
  until players can try it out, they'll look at the screenshots
  instead. (I'm being a bit cynical here.)

There is one very good reason to pre-announce: FUD = Fear,
uncertainty, and doubt. If a potential player knows that MMORPG A is
coming out in October, and MMORPG B in December, and they think
they'll like MMORPG B better, they'll wait until December to buy
MMORG B. If they don't know MMORPG B is coming out, they might get
bored in October and might by MMORPG A, despite it not being their
ideal MMORPG; When MMORPG B comes out they'll still be playing
MMORPG A and won't buy MMORPG B (for a few months, at least).

Mike Rozak
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