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Mass market

You can become rich making tabletop games. Just ask Reiner Knizia or Maureen Hiron. But most likely you won’t make much money. And if you’re making games you aren’t likely to make much money either. In fact, you’re at great risk to lose money, or work for free.

That’s where Nick Bentley has some advice: don’t bet on numbers. The market’s saturated and the chances of a game becoming a blockbuster on its own merits are slim to none.

[…] games that don’t reach mass-market success are weak business. Board games have thin margins and you need economies of scale to make them profitable. In addition, a game without sufficient mass-market penetration is far less likely to be sustained by word of mouth, which means you have to market it, which cuts further into what little margin you have. From a profit point of view, most board games aren’t worth continued publication.

But there is hope, especially if you manage to crack the code of breaking into the mass market. You just have to know how to bet on the best horses and kill all the games that don’t make the top cut.

Linky: Board Game Publishers are Doing it Wrong @ Nick Bentley Games

Dominic CrapuchettesSome time ago I read Derek Thompson’s MeepleTown post (part 1, part 2) where he interviews Dominic Crapuchettes about his games and breaking into mainstream. Here’s a quote:

After [listening to us pitch] Wits & Wagers, the [Target] buyer was very interested – he said, “This was probably the most unique game that has ever been pitched to me. This is something I would like to play. But here’s my problem: If I carry it, it won’t sell. Here are the only things that have sold, based on my experience: One, a Hollywood license. Two, a 2+ million dollar television advertising campaign. Three, a recognizable brand name, because it’s been built up for 3-5 years in other channels, and it’s sold at least 100,000 copies previously. Those are the only three types of games that sell at Target.”

So, does this mean that you can’t break into mainstream without being, well, mainstream? (more…)