Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Support your customers using prices and demos

I've found really interesting this article (related to development of a roguelike, Cogmind) about finding the right price for a game.
As developer in my spare time, building a game and sell it seems like a dream. People paying and playing my games it's really cool and satisfying. Not only for the money, it's important, of course, but in particular for the proud to build something that other people finds valuable.

In my experience as developer and manager in the software industry, I'm constantly reasoning about how to show the value of a software to our customers. It's an hard topic and depends on a lot of factors, many trivial (price for example), but other hard to track and identify (the real customers needs!).

Iterating many times on that topic if found interesting what cogmind developer is saying about pricing and customers. When you sell an a big audience a low-priced software, you found immediately with a lot of customers. I've become confided ( I mean, really confident ) that selling a software is not the end of the story. You have to support your customers, otherwise you will not sell your precious and important software anymore. For many developers, young and senior, support customers is a painful process: you have to read emails, answers them, be on the forum.
So, if you have a lot of customers, not so interested in your game, or like the article point out, not so "get used to" your software, you are literally wasting a lot of time on support.

Imagine to answer for the tenth time the same question again (real life experience of myself here). You can build a faq, but literally less and less people read them, even the software manual are forgotten on these days. On the game support, it think is even harder: do you remember last time you read a manual for a videogame ?

I don't read manuals anymore and you ?

There are a lot of techniques to teach your customers how to use your software out there, this is not the point of my post. I think that have an higher price is one of them.. but it's really dangerous. I mean, pricing is hard, really, really hard, in every field, and pricing a single player roguelike, like pointed out on the article, it's even harder.

As final not, I want to elaborate on the demos. I think demos are really useful. As a customer, I want to understand your software, your game. I think should be interesting, right? So why do you want me to pay for it? Why you are not able to provide a demo, I mean a "demonstration" of your work ?
I know using many video tutorials I can easily understand your work, but why provide a way for your customers to play, understand be used yo your game ?
I've found these days that many developers (game or not) are not providing demo, trials or so on.. and I think them are wrong. Many people out there could be your customers, so why wasting this opportunity ?

In the end I think that a good way to support your customers, existing and future ones, are provide a demo (limited in time, in features, on a license key, any way you want!) so you can ease the pain for supporting your customers. What do you think a about it ?

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