Boomer
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Ageod release promotion (or lack of it)

Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:30 am

Bit frustrated. I was going to post this in the Thirty Years War forum, but I feel it covers a larger problem for all the current releases.

Where's the promotion for Ageod titles? Back when Civil War came out, hell even Rise of Prussia and Pride of Nations, they all got decent coverage and reviews in the media. Thirty Years War has been out now for over a month and there are ZERO reviews of it that I can find. GameWatcher and Wargamer did early build previews, and there's 2 or 3 LPs currently on youtube (only two that I can find in English), and that's it. Metacritic doesn't even have a listing for the game. I want to make informed decisions when buying games, but with Ageod games it's becoming nearly impossible.

I know this is a niche market, but this is getting silly. I feel like a few steps backwards are being taken for every step forward in game publishing, especially when it comes to strategy and wargames. It just doesn't seem right given the modern age of social media for a well known publisher like Ageod to be so left out. It's just not right to see 10,000 reviews and LPs of Minecraft on youtube, and only 3 for TYW.

Anyone else feeling frustrated by this? Sure, times have changed and people have gravitated towards mobile/social/casual gaming, but there still seems to be at least a small market for strategy titles like the ones Ageod releases. Is the lake drying up, or are people just getting too lazy to be involved with the marketing and sharing of game media? TYW is a less well known conflict, but if the future Napoleon release gets a similar treatment, we'll definitely know there's a problem.

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ERISS
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Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:33 pm

Ask to the journalists, it should be their job to report, not the job of the dev.
The dev: "I'm fair: My game is the best, buy it."

Boomer
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Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:22 pm

I didn't say it was. I'm not trying to throw blame around. I'm just wondering what is causing lethargy to be taking over this genre. Seems no one wants to play these games, let alone review or cover them any more.

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Franciscus
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Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:53 pm

You may have a point...
Nevertheless, Matrix/Slitherine are now, AFAIK, the sole responsibles for marketing/PR of Ageod games. Are they doing a good job ? Not for me to answer.

Regards
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ERISS
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Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:57 pm

Companies regrouped in Slitherine, and maybe too there's now not enough money for a good PR knocking at the newspaper doors. Too TYW is not made by Ageod, even it's using the Age engine..

Baris
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Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:34 pm

As far as I read 'War in the East' positive comments from steam, people with similar hobby tend to give positive comments for turn based historical wargames, but it is still limited. I think more AAR will make them consider to buy a game rather than a review. They already know genre but strategy input shown to players with AAR could be important for both outside genre and new players.

BWise
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Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:46 am

Putting the game on Steam should help. I actually forgot that this game was already released.

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Pocus
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Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:38 am

Hi gents,

Here is a reply from Marco Minoli, the marketing director of Slitherine (who is at Essen for the Spiel 2015 Convention) so I'll relay his message.

Boomer, thanks for your post and, believe me, we share some of your frustrations.

Press coverage for wargames has become very hard to get and the game we play from a marketing/promotional perspective is dramatically different from the game we played back in the days when Pride of Nations launched (although we didn’t launch that specific title). Not only most of the mainstream gaming sites lack journalists that are able to play our games, but the return on a review about wargames is so small that most editors will simply ignore anything that has hexes (or regions) and counters.
As a publisher we strive to find other ways to advertise the games, we try to give news on the site, involve the community, play the games on Twitch, use all the possible methods to push the games, including social media, where we invest a lot of money.
It’s a tough world out there and that is why we are investing a load of resources, both financial and human, to get to the stage where we can go back to create greater interest for our games. We are working on a completely new engine for AGEod games, that will allow us to break new ground visually and hopefully attract the press and the social media trend setters. The goal is to take the whole wargaming sector to a new level, with better graphics, better UI, more intuitive controls, a more streamlined user experience and such. That in the view that players (and more press, of course), will find it easier to approach these types of games and we can get more coverage.
Nevertheless, this process is long and painful; it is impossible to go from where we are to where we want to be by small steps, so there has to be a time of transition and that is where we are now. It’s not because of this that we just sit and wait though! We try to find other avenues to get the games covered properly and we work hard every day to improve. As part of a community, we also rely on you fans to bring the news out there and hopefully you are vocal enough to spread the word on our behalf, where we simply cannot reach,
As a side note, it is worth noting that a game like To End All Wars, with a broader subject and appeal in a year of anniversaries, has been vastly covered by specialist press(http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/to-end-all-wars), while with games like Thirty Years War it is much hard to get wider press attention, simply because most of them (and mainly their readers) simply don’t know what we are talking about.
Image


Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

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ERISS
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Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:52 am

[quote="marketing director of Slitherine"]We are working on a completely new engine for AGEod games, that will allow us to break new ground visually. The goal is to take the whole wargaming sector to a new level, with better graphics, better UI, more intuitive controls, a more streamlined user experience and such. That in the view that players will find it easier to approach these types of games.
Nevertheless, this process is long and painful]
Excellent news! I was just thinking that last Ageod games seem like zombie games, they are forced to life by necromancer devs who try to hide this under nice clothes.
It should be big work to make a new generation of Age engine.
What I fear is that it will be made for mainstream Steam consumers, streamlined to beautiful skin on just bones. From zombie to skeleton.
You don't sit and wait, but that's what I'm doing, waiting for patches (RusG and España).

Boomer
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Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:08 am

Glad to hear that reply from Slitherine. At least I know I'm not crazy for sensing that lack of coverage.

At least one idea - The old text gaming blogs are slowly dying off. However, Youtube and Twitch gaming is really big right now. Slitherine and Matrix channels on those sites are pretty sparse. It could really spread the awareness of new titles if some more 'let's play' gamers on those sites could be motivated to do more wargaming of Matrix/Slitherine/Ageod titles. Sure, they might not be the most exciting to watch, but at least some short preview/review videos would go along way to increase product awareness. Youtube and Twitch are basically cheap/free publicity if you use the right channels.

wosung
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Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:17 pm

Pocus wrote:We are working on a completely new engine for AGEod games, that will allow us to break new ground visually and hopefully attract the press and the social media trend setters. The goal is to take the whole wargaming sector to a new level, with better graphics, better UI, more intuitive controls, a more streamlined user experience and such.



This is good news!

(And ironically this news snippet is just burried in a thread about promotion difficulties... QED).

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ashandresash
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Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:23 pm

Pocus wrote:Marco Minoli, the marketing director of Slitherine:

We are working on a completely new engine for AGEod games, that will allow us to break new ground visually. The goal is to take the whole wargaming sector to a new level, with better graphics, better UI, more intuitive controls, a more streamlined user experience and such. That in the view that players will find it easier to approach these types of games.
Nevertheless, this process is long and painful; it is impossible to go from where we are to where we want to be by small steps, so there has to be a time of transition and that is where we are now. It’s not because of this that we just sit and wait though!


Really glad to read it! I love Ageod games design and most of their mechanics, but it's a real thing the current engine has reached its limits.

Feel free to update us with your "work in progress" ;)

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ERISS
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Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:44 pm

ERISS wrote:From zombie to skeleton.

To be constructive, what I would want:
Not really streamlining, but an excellent UI and ingame explanations

_ better Windows integration:
. freed from WinXP3 to run good,
. options already ticked or at least proposed (such as run as admin)

_ better scaling of texts:
. able to choose each font ingame (size, bold)
. ingame windows automatically fitting the texts (such as making a lifter appear if overflowed)

_ complete further the pdf rules,
so each details are in, explaining how the engine actually works

_ able to make the rules appearing:
. with keys (ctrl+shift?) on an area/item, it makes the concerned rules appear to be read (we still can read the pdf if we want)
. there should be several levels of appearance we can chose for each rule: adviced play, basic explanation, detailed operation, historical background. These are ALL important.

_ able to run on more than one processor

_ an easier way to mod (at least for proposing texts)

_ ... to be completed/edited

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Franciscus
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Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:41 pm

My completely personal 2 cents:

While I agree that UI improvements and better explanations in-game are welcome - and I will add support for multi-platform gaming (i.e., Mac and Linux versions of all games), I am not so sure about the need to "break new ground visually" (whatever that means).

Ageod games have already some of the more beautiful maps and unit art in this wargaming niche market, and there are lots of examples that show that in the end what really matters is gameplay experience.

Two non-Ageod examples of games that certainly do not "break new ground visually" but give some of the best gameplay experiences I have had recently in wargaming:

- Schwerpunkt´s WWIIE: A very good map, a clunky interface, boardgames-like rules and unit counters, but a gameplay experience miles away and above (IMHO) from the painful experiences I got trying for example WITE

- Rule the Waves: a user interface from windows 3.11 days, a tactical map with blue for ocean and yellow for land :mar: but one of the most addictive games I played recently.

"Our" games are niche, and I doubt that "flashier" graphics will change that...


Cheers
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Boomer
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Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:38 am

To be clear, I wasn't making a criticism of Ageod's engine or its lack of 'changing with the times.' Saying that a new engine is being worked on was their own admission. I have both positive and negative thoughts about a new engine, but if promotion is going to be done internally and with little effort, it's not going to matter much what kind of games they are - same results will apply, new engine or not.

I can already see the huge debate happening for that one as well. 'Streamlining' to most veteran players simply means 'dumbing down' and new players who respond well to the simpler features of the new engine will be cast off as mouth breathers. Practically every game genre has gone through this fight before. Wargaming happens to be one of the holdouts of this trickle down effect from an industry that already sees games with more than 5 keyboard commands as 'nebulous and overly cumbersome.' Just press X repeatedly for the WIN.

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ERISS
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Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:26 am

Boomer wrote:'Streamlining' to most veteran players simply means 'dumbing down' and new players who respond well to the simpler features of the new engine will be cast off as mouth breathers. Wargaming happens to be one of the holdouts of this trickle down effect from an industry that already sees games with more than 5 keyboard commands as 'nebulous and overly cumbersome.' Just press X repeatedly for the WIN.

I already proposed something years ago:
http://www.ageod-forum.com/showthread.php?20078-Money-for-AGEOD

Too I had asked some times that Ageod sell one old game in GOG store, to make here an advert.
I really don't know why it didn't happened since long.

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Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:16 am

To be completely fair AGEOD games never really got the promotion they deserve and have deserved.
Even in the days of their independence it was hard to notice their games if you weren't exactly following the right and specific websites that were dealing with wargames.
I found them by mistake when I got my hands on a "black copy" of Birth of America. Native Indians, my obsession from childhood era. I was sold at once :)

In my country just ONE AGEOD game was EVER reviewed in a computer magazine called Joker. And it was the old Civil War game!
Even nowadays when they are under Slitherine their games are less known even among Slitherine fans and supporters.
Games like Thirty Years War are not even planned to hit Steam any time soon, but you get a ton of crappy mobile ports with non existent AI and laughable graphic.
It is hard to boost sales if no one knows about you ...

BWise
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Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:02 pm

Civil War II and To End All Wars have pretty good activity on Steam. What is the reason for the delay on bringing Thirty Years War to Steam? It really doesn't make sense for either the publishers or Steam to reject the idea now that the last three AGEOD games are all there.

Boomer
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Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:57 pm

Carnium wrote:To be completely fair AGEOD games never really got the promotion they deserve and have deserved.
Even in the days of their independence it was hard to notice their games if you weren't exactly following the right and specific websites that were dealing with wargames.
I found them by mistake when I got my hands on a "black copy" of Birth of America. Native Indians, my obsession from childhood era. I was sold at once :)

In my country just ONE AGEOD game was EVER reviewed in a computer magazine called Joker. And it was the old Civil War game!
Even nowadays when they are under Slitherine their games are less known even among Slitherine fans and supporters.
Games like Thirty Years War are not even planned to hit Steam any time soon, but you get a ton of crappy mobile ports with non existent AI and laughable graphic.
It is hard to boost sales if no one knows about you ...


I guess the lack of promotion and awareness of TYW game kind of surprised me. The forum 'what next for an Ageod game?' poll had a ton of votes for Thirty Years War, and it seemed like a very popular (and not often covered) conflict to do a game on. Maybe the Ageod fans are just a very vocal minority, but it seemed like doing a game on a war that isn't covered much would have added a ton of interest in it. Then the game was released and there was virtually nothing it terms of blog/review/LP coverage. So far the only ones who even played the game for an LP (at least in English) were Gilmer and Xtrg. Even those two got frustrated by the lack of support, the bugs and CTDs, and both caved and stopped their LP videos. Not a good sign when your game release is covered so little, and even then is given an apathetic shrug from your own community.

Hopefully TYW was just an anomaly and the upcoming Napoleon game will get a more fair shake.

popejm
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Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:11 am

One thing I see Paradox do and others (like Turmoil dev Gamious) Is that they have dedicated weekly streams of their games at a certain time and day of the week. They generally play for about 1 hour. They have video of the devs in the corner. They answer questions. This way people can learn how to play the games, learn about development/goals and builds trust and familiarity with the community. I know you guys are very active on these forums, but nothing beats that kind of connection. I would love to see 2 of you guys from the office play each other for an hour or 2 each week (maybe separate days of the week for each current game).

I think this would go a LONG way to generate interest and get your name out there. If you can't do stuff like that, then maybe retweet when people go live on twitch to stream, maybe?

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ERISS
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RebelYell
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Sat May 28, 2016 3:48 pm

popejm wrote:One thing I see Paradox do and others (like Turmoil dev Gamious) Is that they have dedicated weekly streams of their games at a certain time and day of the week. They generally play for about 1 hour. They have video of the devs in the corner. They answer questions. This way people can learn how to play the games, learn about development/goals and builds trust and familiarity with the community. I know you guys are very active on these forums, but nothing beats that kind of connection. I would love to see 2 of you guys from the office play each other for an hour or 2 each week (maybe separate days of the week for each current game).

I think this would go a LONG way to generate interest and get your name out there. If you can't do stuff like that, then maybe retweet when people go live on twitch to stream, maybe?


This is actually a very good idea.

Europa Universalis IV Cossacks - Dev Multiplayer - Pt. 1


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPu59BSxBvk

RebelYell
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Sat May 28, 2016 4:08 pm

Civil War 2 was promoted by giving a donation to the preserving of the battlefields, similar promotions will get positive publicity with groups like wargamers, history buffs, serving personnel and veterans, these naturally often overlap.

Was it a positive or negative for game promotion, I dont know, but I think it was a good try to connect with these potential new players.

RebelYell
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Sat May 28, 2016 4:22 pm

I dont know what different types of crowdfunding exists these days, I know it is a lot, this is one thing to explore.

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