The sale, and the results

Now that some time has gone by, and the numbers have been looked at, we have reached a conclusion about the sale.

The thing is, a one day sale can never give us useful information. The one day sale was a HUGE success. We turned over more stock in one day than we usually do in 6 months. The problem is, we made less than we would usually make in a month.

But that sale was never part of the calculations. The real test came after.

We looked at the sales figures from resellers. These sales figures spanned a number of weeks, and gave us a much better idea of how sales long term would go, when prices were lower.

The first week of sales was, as expected, higher than usual. Week two, sales dropped back to the same sales levels as we were getting before the sale was announced. Week three, sales levels stayed flat, at around the level of before the sale was announced.

This was the important test. What happens over an extended period of time, and the result was, the same number of sales, less profit per sale.

And so, I think we can say that we gave it a shot, we gave a fair ear to the people that demanded lower prices, and the result was, it is not economical for us to do so. Sales spike, obviously, but then go back to normal. A person coming to the site seems no more or less likely to make a purchase based on the lower prices.

On the plus side for those that wanted lower prices, we now have the rental scheme in place and at least one reseller implementing it, and so, some games are now available at the lowest prices ever!

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28 Responses to “The sale, and the results”

  1. Max says:

    I gladly pay the current prices as long as it ensures that LGP stays in business and provides good games for Linux for the next few decades.

    I’d even say that i hate those leeches that want to have everything for free.

    On the other hand i also hate people that try to enrich themselves at every possibility.
    For example it kind of pisses me that the Killing Floor mod for Unreal Tournament 2004 went commercial on Steam after years of building up a community and so on.
    I’d never pay for a project which does that.

    Seeing what the Natural Selections developers did is an entirely different matter.
    They developed Natural Selection as a mod for Halflife and it was/is great and got a huge community over all these years.
    Then they started developing Natural Selection 2 as a commercial game, which is not wrong in any way. I already preordered it to support them, because they said that a Linux port would be likely to happen although not 100% guaranteed.
    If they would have commercialised NS1 though, that’d have been wrong.

    Sure, it’s the right of the Killing Floor guy to just start selling it unless he stated that it’d be free anywhere on his website or somewhere else, but it’s still morally wrong.
    I also disliked it, when the same thing happened to Red Orchestra.

  2. Ernst says:

    Huh, your resellers had a 6 week sale? Why didn’t you say so?! I only know about the 24-hour sale. And that was announced way too late, I missed it even though I subscribe to this blog.

    • Yeah the 24 hour LGP sale was designed to be a ‘flash sale’ – no announcement in advance, one day only. we announced it through our mailing list, and via the blog, if you subscribe to blog updates, no idea why you didnt get an update. That is something only the mysteries of Wordpress knows.

  3. Ernst says:

    PS Which reseller has rentals?

    • Currently I know of Tux Games having rentals. I know of at least one other reseller that will have rentals in a few weeks, and that, if all goes well, will be ixsoft. No other reseller has confirmed downloadable or rental versions to me personally, there may be others planning it.

  4. Andreas Fischer says:

    While I agree with you, that you have to work economically and if it isn’t economical you shouldn’t lower your prices, I still would urge you not to underestimate the non-monetary effect this action had. It certainly boosted your (already good) reputation quite high (at least in my view). So – maybe the right way to go is to do pricing specials like this not on a permanent basis but from time to time. This would keep you high on Linux gaming news-sites.

    Anyway – thanks for the offer. I took advantage and bought some games I might not have bought otherwise…

    Regards,
    Andreas

    • I agree with pretty much everything you have said. Goodwill has no price, and is vastly more important than a couple of extra sales. While I can rule out another sale soon, I will not say we will never have another sale. I feel more important than sales and money though, is to make sure we listen to the community. Sometimes, like this, the answer has to be no, but – as long as I am running LGP, Im always going to try my best to listen and try and work with the community.

  5. Joshua Purcell says:

    I took advantage of the sale, and I think I’m more likely in the future to buy because of the sale and the good product I got. At the same time, i have no problem paying the regular prices for games, as long as the selection continues to grow.

  6. Enrico says:

    Little offtopic: Where can one suggest games to be ported and get feedback/status for the requests?

    Thanks =)

    • Pretty much nowhere. We used to have that facility but 99.99% of the requests were for games that were unfeasable, either because they would be too expensive, or were through a publisher that has no interest in Linux.

      • Enrico says:

        Ah, I expected that :-(
        Is there some list of games which have been tried to port and failed for the listed reasons?

        Oh, and I wanted to suggest/request Drakensang: Great RPG, very few bugs, very moderate hardware requirements and some OSS-stuff used (Nebula Device, SQLite). Any comments? :-D

        • Heh, I could give you a list of games we’ve tried to get, it would be a long and distinguished list {:-) However I won’t cos companies tend to get grumpy when they get bad press, and Id rather not alienate possible future business partners {:-)

          Im not familiar with that one, but we have just done one RPG and we have a couple more in talks, so, we’ll probably stick with those for now…

          • wasdf says:

            Hi

            hm you dont know drakensang, but surley morrwind :)
            what about that? :D

            another question

            now that sacred gold is out for a while, what are the chances to see a sacred 2 port? ascaron entertainment kinda got bankrup :/
            they did a port to xbox and ps, so maybe not toooooo much work left?

          • Nath says:

            The Nebula engine has been ported to Linux in an older version. I think the current version still compiles but the OpenGL renderer isn’t updated to the current version. So there is some work to do. That could be done in an open source project though.

            If the engine was ported, I don’t think Radon Labs would object to a port of Drakensang.

  7. RK says:

    Alas, it seems you’re drawing conclusions inappropriate to the data available. Having a sale is a whole different kettle of fish – both economically and psychologically – to having consistently lower prices (which is what I’ve been advocating, FWIW).

    But perhaps, if there had been *any* publicity *whatsoever* that, via resellers, the sale was going to last longer than the single day, there might have been more medium-term interest. As Ernst mentioned, and AFAIK, the only mention of resellers taking advantage of this was a “maybe they will” message *in the comments* of the sale announcement blog entry.
    I only found out that TuxGames had been participating when I followed a link about rentals to their site – the rental announcement coming the day after they ended their sale.
    Like I’ve said, your user interfaces suck. ;P

    • Actually your method would have brought in inappropriate conclusions. The fact that the sale was not publicised for resellers via LGP meant it was MORE accurate in predicting average customer purchase patterns. This was VERY deliberate. What is the value of seeing sales levels when the visitor levels are higher and the user levels are higher when people are clicking on a ’sale’ link? Very little value in those numbers.

      • RK says:

        Interesting. So the resellers’ offers were intended to target the casual browser, who just happened to stumble on their site during the period? But doesn’t a reseller announcing that it is having a sale, as did TuxGames, invalidate that experiment?
        Also, running such a process immediately after a (relatively) well-publicised sale period I would expect to also skew the results downward – a lot of people who might otherwise have been idly looking at the games (with a view to buy) instead will have just bought them. (Are normal retail sales in a post-sale period generally down in any market?).

        Also also, in the case of TuxGames at least, sales may have been lost by the sale ending earlier than expected, with no prior announcement(?) of such – a lot of people (me included) will often put off a purchase while there’s still “plenty of time” to do it. And when a company goes back on its word (like a 6-week sale period becoming 2.5 weeks), I’d be less inclined to make my postponed purchase with that vendor.

        To really test the theory, maybe organise a stealth-sale with some/all resellers? At a particularly nondescript time of year, and with no announcement or “sale” markers on the sites?
        …and I’d probably still pick fault with it. ;)

        • {:-)

          Yeah it wasn’t perfect, but, it was the best we could do.

          To be completely honest, the sale WAS going to go on for longer at Tux Games, but, we screwed up, and the LGP download system was about to go live, and we couldnt continue to sell the games at the sale price cos the download games would have been priced based on the sale prices, while Tux Games would be buying them from LGP at full price. That was the real reason the sale had to end, or Tux Games would have been making all sales at a loss. And seeing as Tux Games and LGP are separate companies, I can’t just ‘make that work’ without giving TG preferential treatment that would annoy the other resellers.
          So yeah, we royally messed that one up {:-(

  8. Torbj├Ârn Andersson says:

    To be honest, I don’t know if the sale will make me buy more games in the future than I would have done otherwise. It did make me buy some games a lot earlier than I would have otherwise. I didn’t buy them until then because the DRI drivers for my graphics card are suffering from a bad case of the gremlins, and the Gallium3D drivers are still far away.

    But LGP isn’t releasing games that interest me fast enough to cause any serious damage to my wallet, so I probably would have bought them eventually anyway. Of the known yet-to-be-released games, the only one I’m really looking forward to is… no, Michael always gets so depressed whenever that one’s brought up.

  9. Vadim P. says:

    ‘I’ve looked into it, but haven’t been able to find anyone knowledgable in Linux. It’s certainly possible, though, and I intend to keep looking.’

    I’ve recommended the person to you, hopefully you’ll work something out.

  10. liam dawe says:

    Well at least you tried with the sale, more than other companies would do!

    Now get back to porting us some more games!!

  11. Maxim says:

    Hello !

    I think your conclusions from the “sales day” where incorrect.
    As you stated the sales day was a major success in terms of number of titles sold – most of those titles where already months if not years in LGP stocks, this must prove that once the cost of those titles are lowered then more people will buy them.
    I myself bought 2 additional titles that I wouldn’t otherwise buy in their old price.
    You also mentioned that the first week after the sales day the sales where also high from the resellers prospective, but not after 2-3 weeks afterwords – this is because most people already bought the games they wanted on the sales day and in the first week after, so obviously the demand has got much lowered for those titles.

    So MY conclusion is if all LGP game prices where lower all the time (not 9 Pounds but much lower then the current 25-30 Pounds , I would suggest 15-20 Pounds) then the sales will be better, this however won’t drastically effect the current titles as most people who wanted to buy them – already did.

    One of the replies to this blog liked to : http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17492
    I think you should have put it in the blog or in some visible place as I think many people would want to propose titles for porting.

    About the suggestions for games I want to add that it can be a little bit tricky :
    many people want different games and the list is long, but I think you should propose say … 10 games which LGP are highly likely to port and make a poll or something that the future costumers can vote on.
    That way you won’t “go blind” and gamble on games that not many people would want to buy for example (I’m guessing) : NingPo MahJong, Software Tycoon, Candy Cruncher and others .

  12. While I cant say anything about sacred 2, I would expect that the chances of sacred 2 are directly proportional to sales of sacred 1 {:-)
    Just like it was for X2 and X3

  13. wasdf says:

    and thats what i wanted to hear :)
    so how is sacred 1 doing till now?

  14. Max says:

    I’m still waiting for X3: Terran Conflict. :P
    And also kind of waiting for Sacred 2, but Sacred 2 ain’t gonna happen too soon, if it’s going to come along at all…
    X3: TC uses the same engine as Reunion with some minor changes, so that should not be much work, compared to a full port. Sacred 2 has a different engine and so on so it’d take quite a while to port it…

    We also finally reached a point where there are quite some player online in Sacred.
    Yesterday we played with 6 people at once.
    Was actually quite some fun, I and some other guy started to fight a huge Dragon but it was too hard to take and then a second dragon appeared…
    In the end we had to leave them, it cost me like 30 health potions.

    Maybe in the future you’ll have the opportunity to expand to make ports happen faster which would then boost sales…
    If a port was released shortly after the “real” game, then probably more people would buy it.

    I’d still love to see Dungeon Siege 1 for Linux, but it was developed by Gas Powered Games which is owned by Microsoft…
    I’m still kind of wondering why Microsoft supports the Mac but doesn’t support Linux.

    What I’d really love to see is some hardcore tactical shooter like Operation Flashpoint or Armed Assault. Although I wouldn’t like to see a Operation Flashpoint 1 port, hah.
    Would also be nice to see some serious MMORPG like Mortal Online or Global Agenda which both use the Unreal Engine. But those ports would have to be made by the developers themselves…

    Also both, the server and the game of Sacred crashed on my PC today.
    I have no logs of the server crash and the logs of the game crash got lost.

    I think seeing some stragety games would be nice, there are almost none.
    There is the whole spring project which has kind of a crappy interface.
    Then there’s Knights and Merchants which is great and then there’s Glest which has no online players.
    Did you ever check the attitude of the Sins of a Solar Empire developers towards a port? I’d also love to see some Medieval strategy game with a nice economy part and many little details like Settlers: Rise of an Empire.

  15. Maxim says:

    Hello again

    What Video Card do you have Max ?
    I use ATI Radeon 4750 HD and sacred also crashes sometimes on me, and one time when I wanted to start an online game the game stuck at the import characters screen and all I could do is reboot.

    I didn’t like so much dungeon siege 1, it was a nice game but not that good, it was more hack-n-slash game but not nearly as good as Sacred1 or even Diablo1, it’s major point was “party” but there wasn’t many skill customizations you could do – well it was a different system.
    There are many much better RPG games LGP could port.

    BTW Michael – in the past few months we sent you a LOT of sacred bugs (the bug I didn’t sent you but happens to all of us is that once you export a character you cannot delete it in-game but only via the .lgp/sacred/ folder).
    So how is the fixing going ? when a patch would be released for those bugs ? and could I install the patch taking the fact that I didn’t use the installer to install sacred but extracted all the files manually ?

    Thanks.

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