Creating a marketingplan for OpenRA

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noobmapmaker
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Creating a marketingplan for OpenRA

Post by noobmapmaker » Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:52 pm

In the other thread we've discussed the not so fast growing popularity of OpenRA, which is odd because this game is a wonderfull redo of the very popular classics. Many feel that it deserves more players and that something is missing to make that happen.
I am no marketingexpert whatsoever, just have some interest in the subject. Over time I'll be looking up information and add whatever seems relevant. Please feel free to join the conversation with whatever ideas/information/corrections you have got.

The goal of this thread is: to write a marketingplan for OpenRA. A plan that describes in a concrete fashion how we can reach a bigger audience and convert their interest in more users in the most efficient way.

In the other thread I wrote this:
Some levels of attaching a user to OpenRA:

1) A person has to learn that OpenRA exists
2) A person has to download the game
3) A person has to try the game
4) The player comes back more often
5) The player tells others about OpenRA/Invites others
The scope of this marketingplan is mainly about 1-3, I think. We want to let a larger crowd know about OpenRA, and we want them to give it a try and preferably make them stick. And that's about where the scope ends. Because that's where the quality of the product is decisive. The quality of OpenRA is excellent, but I do think more could be done to make new players stick (mentioned: tutorials, badges/ratings, tournaments, etc) or advocate the game (invite-bonus?). I think it's good to mention such ideas but it feels like they are a step further in the proces.

SWOT analysis wikipedia

Strengths:
- It's free
- It's constantly developed (gets better)
- Dedicated community
- Many supported platforms
- Attractive to Modders
- New Mods to be released: TS & Crystallized Doom
- Nostalgia in a fresh modern jacket
- ...

Weaknesses:
- Free (when people pay for something they're more inclined to make their investment worth it)
- 2D games are a thing of the past (?), people want 3D nowadays
- ...

Targetaudiences

Statistics/charts from 2013 ModDB (81+% men, aged between 15 and 34, Europe/US)

Which groups are most likely interested in OpenRA?
- Gamers (RTS)
- Casual gamers to some extent
- People who have played C&C back in the days
- Modders

Demography:
- Men (and women) aged 10 - 40 (?)

Geography:
Currently we mostly see Europe and US based players. I see no reason why the other continents wouldn't enjoy OpenRA. Perhaps have (content in) more languages? (Chinese, Russian, Arab, Spanish)

Marketanalysis
I've been googling a bit, but I find it hard to find very relevant information. Who is good at finding relevant information?

How is the market?

OpenRA is a free realtime strategy webgame. Needless to say there is ALOT of competition. Some freemium games, but also complete good games.

Top 100 countries by game revenues - a possible indicator which markets are most interested in (online) gaming.


How is the competition?

- ...

Reaching our Targetaudiences
First we'll have to establish which targetaudience(s) have most potential to join OpenRA. Then we'll connect channels to them and what message.

Targetaudience: Real Time Strategy Gamers
Channel:
- gameportals for free games, the strategy section
- relevant lists (Top X games)
Message:

Targetaudience: Casual gamers to some extent
Channel:
- Facebookgroups
Message: Check this awesome game, watch this tutorial and play a quick game online or vs AI

Targetaudience: People who have played C&C back in the days
Channel:
Message: C&C is back, but better!

Targetaudience: Modders
Channel:
Message: OpenRA has a nice modding community and modding is easy & tons of fun!

Targetaudience: Countries with alot of online gamers, but few on OpenRA (China, Japan, Brasil, Russia, India, South Korea)

Channel:
Message:

What are possible channels to reach them?
- Post on relevant Facebookgroups (gamergroups and such)
- Keep our Facebookpage up to date
- Reaching the top of frequently viewed lists (e.g. Indie Top 100 ModDB, any other lists?)
- Youtube: casts (although... do they reach new audience? Or mostly existing audience?)
- Youtube ads.
- Youtube: ask youtubers with many followers to play OpenRA
- Reddit ads for Reddit.com/r/openra
- Have OpenRA mentioned at online game portals in the Strategy section (example)
- Person to person marketing: Invite-others function. (some kind of bonus for inviting people, a badge? or User of the month?)
- E-mail Newsletter with news, casts, etc and share-button
- Get OpenRA on Steam

What is the best message, based upon their demands and our strengths?
- SoScared's excellent promotional video explains a whole lot of what OpenRA is
- Young gamers don't have alot of money, communicate that it's FREE
- OpenRA is nostalgia, but enhanced: balanced, more modern UI, promotion, etc


Timing
It's best to combine any marketingactions with something special (new release, etc).


Marketingfunds

In general I think we can do alot for free. But once we've established which channels are good to use we could consider to use some funds for ads. This is something for later though.

Tools to make people stick
These are ideas to introduce people to OpenRA & to keep them here. These are all seperate projects (imo) that require their own thread for further details.
- Login for users (make their username 'valuable' by building up their profile)
Achievements, (tournament)badges, ratings, winpercentages
- Tutorials to explain game fundamentals
- Missions that teach game fundamentals
- Tournaments (for noobs)
- Encyclopedia of units, structures and such
- The casts done by our casters (HQ content)
- Newsitems ingame/in client - written in C&C style
- Add videosequences from the old games
- Ladder
- Download replays ingame/in client


---------------------
That's it for now. Just a start to get things going. Feel free to comment on whatever.
Last edited by noobmapmaker on Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:39 pm, edited 17 times in total.
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Graion Dilach
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Post by Graion Dilach » Tue Jan 05, 2016 12:00 am

TS and derived mods will play a role. The moment OpenRA will have a semi-working/playable/you name it TS mod, players and modders will easily come over.

The TS/RA2 community is partially ran around the fact that the games are easily moddable and their modding communities are still kicking in a way - the other reason is by the multiplayer community, but those probably can't be won over due to the balance changes the mods will feature in the long run IMO so those are kinda a wasted effort to even care about.

Crystallized Doom will definitely play a role here - right now that one seems to be the third-party mod flagship in terms of both activity, feasibility and releasibility at the first TS build's timeframe. (ReWire goes nice, but I doubt it'll be playable around then, and the other isometric mods are likely not even be close to have atleast a public beta release neither).
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Murto the Ray
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Post by Murto the Ray » Tue Jan 05, 2016 12:34 am

I said this in the other thread but ill say it again:

Tutorials are needed to get players involved in the multiplayer aspect of OpenRA, the AI aren't challenging and there isnt really a nice, friendly way to get into multiplayer other than being shouted at because your a noob etc.

A log-in system will help players stick in OpenRA IMO as you could add achievements around the system + other things to help players stick.

Canavusbis
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Post by Canavusbis » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:15 am

I think OpenRA suffers from the fact that it is free - hear me out. When somebody buys a game, they put an investment into it, and chances are they will play it unless it /really/ sucks. In this case, OpenRA is a free game, the biggest investment is a couple of minutes and the bandwidth to download the game.

When I introduce people to OpenRA, they often find it cool, play it once or twice, then leave. It doesn't seem to have a hook for most people unless they experience nostalgia. The few people I know who played the original games loved it, and still play occasionally.

It doesn't help that the community tends to get really frustrated over new players. Tutorials are almost never an acceptable replacement for games, the player will know how to play at least, but will be bad until they have had several games to get a feel of the game. Specialized newbie-friendly servers may help mitigate this, if there are enough experienced players willing to mentor and enough newbies who are interested.

All in all, the major demographic is likely people who are new to the franchise. We need to find a way for them to invest in this game. I believe hamb's upcoming Sole Survivor mod will be a major step forward for OpenRA, as it is much more simple to play and its cousins (LoL, DotA) seem to be incredibly popular. It is likely to be more enticing to newcomers.

xan2622
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Post by xan2622 » Tue Jan 05, 2016 6:05 am

Canavusbis wrote: I think OpenRA suffers from the fact that it is free - hear me out. When somebody buys a game, they put an investment into it, and chances are they will play it unless it /really/ sucks. In this case, OpenRA is a free game, the biggest investment is a couple of minutes and the bandwidth to download the game.
I disagree.

When people buy a game, it's mostly because they have read many reviews about it, heard about it through friends, and watched many gameplay videos too.
They are teased and are excited to play the game which, nowadays, often features really beautiful graphics, HD and high FPS rate.

Westwood games are old, 2D. I think that the ones that still play them are mostly nostalgic people.
Who would buy a 2D RTS game in 2016? Almost no one, IMO.

Even brand new 2D games that are featured on Steam or KickStarter interest (IMO) only nostalgic people. Take for example, Midora (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ep ... escription), it interested people who wanted to play some kind of Zelda game again.

Years ago, I wanted to sell my old PC games (I still have some boxes and original CDs) to a Game Store which sells used games. The guy refused my games because they were 2D and sold in a box (I think Baldur's Gate was one of the game I planned to sell, at this time). Even a nice game like Baldur's Gate didn't interest this guy because he knew nobody would have bought it afterward. Recent games feature fancy 3D graphics and big explosions, fast gameplays, which Openra doesn't (yet).

Canavusbis wrote: When I introduce people to OpenRA, they often find it cool, play it once or twice, then leave. It doesn't seem to have a hook for most people unless they experience nostalgia. The few people I know who played the original games loved it, and still play occasionally.
We can't be sure they only play OpenRA once or twice... but I agree on your nostalgia argument.

Canavusbis wrote: It doesn't help that the community tends to get really frustrated over new players. Tutorials are almost never an acceptable replacement for games, the player will know how to play at least, but will be bad until they have had several games to get a feel of the game. Specialized newbie-friendly servers may help mitigate this, if there are enough experienced players willing to mentor and enough newbies who are interested.

All in all, the major demographic is likely people who are new to the franchise. We need to find a way for them to invest in this game. I believe hamb's upcoming Sole Survivor mod will be a major step forward for OpenRA, as it is much more simple to play and its cousins (LoL, DotA) seem to be incredibly popular. It is likely to be more enticing to newcomers.
I have great hopes about some upcoming mods that are being ported to OpenRA in the next months (years).

Beautiful mods = the player's retina is delighted = the player is teased = the player wants to play longer (and will probably share his/her experience with friends).

lucassss
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Post by lucassss » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:15 am

If you want, I can post about OpenRA on my facebook and on some gaming groups that I know. I'm Israeli so I have access to an audience that you probably don't.

eddie
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Post by eddie » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:11 am

OpenRA is attractive to casual gamers, too. OpenRA allows you to play short skirmish matches against bots. Those bots may be too easy for dedicated gamers who play OpenRA in online multiplayer games. However they are fun and challenging for casual gamers like me.

Do your numbers include offline skirmish matches? Is there a way to find out how many people play OpenRA offline?

As someone said before OpenRA needs tutorials. I don't have much time to play games. Therefore I want to start right away and have fun. However it is frustrating if you don't know how to play the game and have to go by trial and error or have to read wiki articles online. Small tutorial missions which explain to you how to play the game and when to use which unit are necessary imho. I haven't played Dune 2000 much yet because I just don't know how to. I started two or three skirmishes, lost those games as I did not know anything about the tech tree, the units and how to use them. So I never tried again.

Long story short: I think casual gamers may be a good target audience, too. However those players need more guidance to not loose interest due to the complexity of the OpenRA mods.

the-zoidberger
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Post by the-zoidberger » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:02 pm

I am no marketingexpert whatsoever, just have some interest in the subject. Over time I'll be looking up information and add whatever seems relevant. Please feel free to join the conversation with whatever ideas/information/corrections you have got.
Hi Guys - I happen to be a marketing expert of sorts and a business owner who has written as well as executed marketing plans. There's a clear goal here, which is great! Awesome start :)
  • Before tackling discussions, I recommend nailing down available resources and checking with the dev's to ensure they're not already planning something. While they may welcome your help, but they might not...
  • Because this is a volunteer-based community, I'm not sure what type of org chart is in place. For any plan to work, you'll need buy-in from all key parties and clear communication regarding who is responsible for XYZ or ABC.
  • Coordinating this type of effort usually requires a command structure. Who approves/rejects ideas? Who allocates funds?

If you're looking for any assistance, feel free to drop me a line. :)

scorp
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Post by scorp » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:01 pm

Graion Dilach wrote: TS and derived mods will play a role. The moment OpenRA will have a semi-working/playable/you name it TS mod, players and modders will easily come over.
This. Timing will be important. Focus marketing attempts on OpenRa when it releases something new, big and exciting.

Matt
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Post by Matt » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:15 pm

http://www.sleipnirstuff.com/forum/view ... 2&start=15 will stell you something about our target group which is mostly western world males.

The trailer created by SoScared https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAK-SwS ... nel=OpenRA sparked a lot of interest. It was brilliant marketing material. Way better than most quickly produced "let's play" videos.

noobmapmaker
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Post by noobmapmaker » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:54 pm

  • Before tackling discussions, I recommend nailing down available resources and checking with the dev's to ensure they're not already planning something. While they may welcome your help, but they might not...
  • Because this is a volunteer-based community, I'm not sure what type of org chart is in place. For any plan to work, you'll need buy-in from all key parties and clear communication regarding who is responsible for XYZ or ABC.
  • Coordinating this type of effort usually requires a command structure. Who approves/rejects ideas? Who allocates funds?
Your input is very welcome! Please point out whatever you think is usefull. One aspect of marketing that I find difficult is to make things measurable. It's hard to thoroughly predict on forehand if something will work and to what degree. That is key to a good plan though, so that's what we'll have to keep an eye on.

As for the points from the quote:
1) Yes, before we actually execute any of the plans the developers must agree. Not only on WHAT but also on WHEN.
2 and 3) There is no real org chart at the moment. For now I made the thread to collect input from whoever has something to say. Hopefully over time the information becomes more complete and then we can act upon the information. Imo there is not much to reject atm, unless its really pointless. There are no funds currently and if they will ever be collected then I'll leave that to someone who has gouverned OpenRA funds before.
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the-zoidberger
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Post by the-zoidberger » Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:30 pm

Couple ideas to chew on...

1) A monthly OpenaRA newsletter that has progress on new releases, top replays, tips, and other content. There can be a "share with a friend" link etc. I used to do quite a bit of email marketing and would be happy to help with such a project.

2) Work the free angle with the younger crowd who is unable to pay for app store games that continually ding you fro another $.99. Advertising to people without disposable income is usually pretty cheap. You might be able to get a new player to download and begin playing for an average of $2.50 or $5.00 a pop.

:)

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Aaron_Lloyd
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Post by Aaron_Lloyd » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:34 am

If someone wants to make some 300x250 ads, we could get some free advertising for the subreddit which could drive people to the game.

https://www.reddit.com/r/subredditads

noobmapmaker
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Post by noobmapmaker » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:44 am

I've added the input sofar and added some things here and there. Everything is open to debate/correction/enhancement etc.
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the-zoidberger
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Post by the-zoidberger » Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:17 pm

What about creating a "Player Bio" section that provides a legit and and/or humorous means to read up on your competition? There could be associated replays and such attached. The old Transformers toys has something like this and it was one of my favorite parts of getting a new toy back in the day.

Image

Since I sort of make my living writing, this would be a fun project! :)

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