At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, professionals from the video game industry are learning and sharing the newest techniques for creating and marketing successful PC, console and mobile games. For developers of casual games that are commonly downloaded and played on a PC, many are exploring creative new distribution models, shifting away from relying on some of the old ways that have been used to market games online.
The casual games business has grown rapidly over the past few years, built on the foundation of the try-before-you-buy model, followed by RealArcade’s software client model, or the popular subscription-based model of Big Fish Games, Shockwave and RealArcade’s GamePass. The true catalyst for growth of this industry has been the try-before-you-buy model that made it easy and risk-free to sample games before you were required to enter your credit card information.
Today, many game developers are aiming to reach a wider audience by turning to new websites that lure bargain hunters in with good deals. After all, in a world with thousands of competing game titles, getting gamers’ attention is the top priority and one of the surest ways to get attention is by offering significant savings.
A few of the key new companies that have developed innovative new concepts for marketing casual games are PlayOn Arcade and its one-cent a minute play, Giveaway of the Day and its freebies, Kongregate and its YouTube-style member contribution format, and Game du Jour and its “one-deal-a-day.”
Philippe Piernot, founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based Game du Jour, is busy this week at GDC evangelizing about his vision for “one game, one day, one incredible deal.”
“For the past few years, the casual PC games industry has rocketed—driven not by hard-core gamers but primarily by ‘grown-ups’ who are looking for quick escapes when they get a break from work or kids,” said
Dr. Piernot. “By attracting bargain-minded consumers with steep discounts on the games that so many people enjoy, our ‘one deal a day’ model will lead us to become one of the leading online game retailers.”
The company just launched in December, following in the footsteps of Woot.com, the big fish among "one deal a day sites." There are a number of these types of daily bargain sites springing up, offering anything from software to golf clubs to electronic gadgets, all at amazing discounts.
While the company aims to be best known for its daily deals, Game du Jour is at its core a marketing partner to game developers, giving those companies the opportunity for a rush of sales and heightened brand exposure during their products’ 24-hour lifecycle at GameDuJour.com.
“Game du Jour is launching at the right time and in the right industry,” said Niels Bauer, president of Niels Bauer Games and developer of Empires & Dungeons, a game that has been featured at GameDuJour.com. “Consumers are scanning for the Internet’s best deals while clamoring for the hottest downloadable games. Game du Jour ‘scratches both itches’ and we’re excited to be a part of such an exciting development in the PC games industry.”