From: Southern Missouri
ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins
Outside of price, what would be your recommendation for how we help a customer like you make up his mind?
I'm very glad to hear that you will be able to give WITW a try after all. I hope you enjoy it!
Well, the problem you have is what a lot of 'deep' games have. Namely, what's best about your game is impossible, or at least very difficult to convey through something like screenshots or a brief video. If I see the newest Call of Duty, or some fancy new WW2 shooter game I can hear the music, see the cool graphics, the frantic action - gimmie gimmie gimmie! What a game like that has to offer comes across right away, and if you're into that sort of thing that's great and you can pick it up.
But what's Gary Grigsby's War in the West? It's a nice map with little squares on it. And it's really expensive. That's basically all an outsider looking in can see at a glance, and as someone with no past history with the series, that's not a lot to go on. I mention this only because one recurring theme I've seen in posters in this thread is how great these games are and how much of a master Gary Grigsby is...and that's great if you're familiar with the series but to a neophyte it's like '...okay...'
So what can you do?
1) More pictures - I would post fifty screenshots or more - anything you can find, and pictures with information. You only need one or two of these: (INSERT GENERIC STRATEGIC MAP PICTURE - because I can't post links) What you really want are these: (INSERT PICTURE OF 4th CA ARMOURED DIVISION STAT SHEET w/ Lt. GENERAL HENRY CRERAR PICTURE) full of information, or menus that show different parts of the game. Take a picture of some obscure Polish battalion in Italy, with a nice colored picture of their commander. 'Holy crap! Is that a Slovakian brigade?' Or Heinz Guderian at the head of an Armeegruppe shattering the Western Allies. Or more stuff like this: (INSERT PICTURE OF AIR WAR INTERFACE) pretty color pictured of an Me262, tons of stats, 'holy ----- look at all those buttons. The air war in this game must be really intricate and not just an afterthought'. If you've got a complex game and you're proud of it, then show it in the screenshots - that has a charm all its own, and an appeal to people like me.
This is pornography for your target audience, and speaking for myself seeing those sorts of things would engage me immediately.
2) A Working Demo - Either in the form of a free scenario that anyone can download (just a handful of turns), or an actual demo. That way people can look at the game, touch it, try it, click on all the cool buttons and decide for themselves. It's less of a leap of faith.
3) Manual - Matrix Game's manuals are great. You should have a link to your's, in its full and unabridged edition, posted right next to the 'Buy Now!' link in the store. All I've been able to find so far is a 'preview' posted on the forums here.
One last thing. It's worth noting that the only reason I'm here is because I saw another Matrix Games title (Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm) on Steam, discounted to a very reasonable price. Had it not been for that, I'd never have heard of Matrix Games, or Gary Grigsby, or these forums. Food for thought. Which isn't to say you need to go put your game on Steam, but I think there's probably a younger generation of Wargamers like myself who are a bit of an untapped market. 20 somethings in college, or just starting out.
To be specific, I found Flashpoint Campaigns on Steam, bought it, enjoyed it. Three of my friends (so far) at least have bought it now too. Unfortunately WitW won't be as easy to sell by word of mouth due to sticker shock, but that's a separate issue I guess.
I'd like to address your points a bit if I may.
1) Nothing wrong with more fanfare. I think Matrix does an alright job of showcasing their games most of the times, but some do not even get the attention they warrant. This could be a manpower issue. You'll notice that some titles are more open during development with many having participation by the programmers, beta teams etc. Others just show up and are ready for sale. IMO, Matrix could do a better job in some cases here. But keep in mind also that much of this responsibility lies at the individual development teams. Some are better than others about hyping their games pre-release. With that said, I agree with you. More is better in this department.
2) There are a few Matrix games that do have demos, but not too many. Of those that do, they are mostly simpler game systems. e.g. Battlefield Academy, Unity of Command etc. It would be nearly impossible to create a demo for a game such as this considering the amount of time that is needed to learn the system. Most people wouldn't invest such time for a demo and it may even put people off. This is where pre-release AAR's come in handy. There is also evidence that a demo on a complex game can actually hurt sales as disclosed by the makers of the original Airborne Assault.
Also, a game like WitW is not exactly your entry level wargame. People looking to purchase this game generally understand that it takes much effort to grasp the concepts and that it is indeed a commitment. Even Flashpoint is a moderate level game as far as complexity is concerned. That being said, I'd love some earlier pre-release videos and AAR's.
Lastly, demo's cost time=money. The payoff has to be worth it.
3) As someone who likes reading manuals, i like this idea. It's not like the pirates don't already have them once released anyways. Would love to hear the reason why they arent.
Always glad to have fresh blood in our hobby. Maybe your friends would be interested in some of the more entry level games of which several do have demos? Hate to overwhelm anyone and turn them off to such a wonderful genre.
This old man is tired so I hope what I wrote makes sense.
**Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul
**A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have-Gerald Ford