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Industry Insights: From The Industry Side

Inside the Making of GamePlay

by Aldo Ghiozzi
January 2, 2002

Editor's intro: Aldo does marketing for game companies, and in addition launched a project called "GamePlay" that tries the same tactics that have proven successful in the computer game field. So we did a quick interview with him to find out what this weird concept was.  

Editor: I like getting free games with computer magazines. It'd be cool to get something similar for RPGs, which is why I'm giving you carte blanc to rave about your latest project. Please summarize what GamePlay is. I know it's like a computer demo disk, but for tabletop/pen-and-paper RPGs...

Aldo: Demos have become required for the success of any software title in the computer game industry. GamePlay parallels this model by getting hobby game company product demos into the hands of thousands of consumers through distributor and retailer partners. These free CDs are sent through distribution as a standard SKU [Stock Keeping Unit, the unique ID that all products are tracked by] for retailers to pre-order and have available to their consumers.

GamePlay will contain a variety of free playable demo game materials; quickstart rules, sample card games, tabletop games, mini-modules and much more. GamePlay is not a magazine on disc, it is a hobby game demo CD where consumers can grab fully playable game demos from hobby game companies --- all for free!

Editor: RPGs are a low-technology form of entertainment, and evidence suggests that net-based RPGers aren't the majority of the market. Can you discuss the technological requirements with this-- is it useable by most gamers?

Aldo: The first GamePlay Demo CD only had a compatible interface for PC users. Beginning with #2 (available March 2002), the CD will be HTML-based, thus giving an equal experience to both PC and Mac users. Beyond this, the CD has the capabilities to do whatever efforts the individual manufacturers want to make.

Most companies submit PDF files, but Interactive Imagination, for example, included an incredible Flash Demo on how to play Magi-Nation. One board game company is creating a Quicktime movie to put on CD #2 to walk consumers through a partial game and the rules.

Currently, many publishers are baffled as to what to create on the CD because it is a new concept for the marketplace, but since the first CD has come out, manufacturers are asking questions about what they can do...and my response to them is...whatever you can create!

Editor: Contrast this technological barrier with the people factor and getting buy-in to the idea.

Aldo: I don't think I fully understand the question, but I believe you are asking about how the consumers play a role in the CD. I would hope that the same thing that is commonplace in the computer game market occurs in the hobby game market --- once one friend plays a demo of a computer game from a demo disc, they both tell a friend about it and give the CD to them to try it. Everyone loves free games!

In terms of getting buy-in, are you asking about advertisers buying into the concept? [Yes.] I would hope that manufacturers believe the delivery method to be innovative and effective; something beyond a traditional print or internet ad. Advertising is meant to draw a consumer in and no print ad can accomplish this like getting a consumer to actually interact with a manufacturers product.

Editor: Right now you are taking what companies send you, you mentioned PDFs are most popular. What do you see as the the potentials of the medium?

Aldo: Part of this goes back to what I mentioned above about the computer game industry...No computer game company makes a game these days without a demo. Demos are the lifeblood for the success or failure of a new product. Things should be no different in the hobby game market. Hopefully, as each manufacturer raises the bar in their way of advertising on the CD, the innovations could constantly capture the minds of the consumer with the particuliar manufacturer.

In addition to this, since the CD is free, it essentially has the potential to grow into something that reaches more consumers than any other promotional vehicle in the marketplace. Because GamePlay is free, retailers can consistently use it to promote the hobby and games risk-free to the consumer. Very few people will turn away something for free, and if there is a chance to draw in just one more game consumer, GamePlay will be the best way to accomplish this.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Best,
Aldo Ghiozzi
Impressions Advertising & Marketing

(Copies of GamePlay may be requested at your local retailer, or you can order a set from the above website for a nominal fee if you wish them sent direct.) TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

What do you think?

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All Industry Insights

  • Gareth-Michael Skarka interviews China Mieville, April 24, 2002
  • lizard's Condensation of All Game Fiction, April 18, 2002
  • Sandy's "God or Whore?" GTS'02, March 26, 2002
  • Allan Sugarbaker with GAMA Trade Show '02: An Inside Report, March 22, 2002
  • Aldo of Impressions on the GamePlay CD, January 3, 2002
  • Gareth-Michael Skarka interviews Ken Hite, February 8, 2002
  • Gareth-Michael Skarka interviews Tim Powers, January 18, 2002
  • Aldo Ghoizzi on Inside the Making of GamePlay, January 3, 2002
  • The RPGnet Awards Cabal presents the RPGnet 2001 Awards Results!, December 5, 2001
  • Ken Whitman teaches us with A Note About Creating a Good Promotional Campaign, October 12, 2001
  • Sean Jaffe on The Fallout, September 27, 2001 [about 9/11]
  • Sean Jaffe on Interesting Times, September 21, 2001 [about 9/11]
  • GodLike: Dennis Detwiler and Greg Stolze, September 14, 2001
  • Jared Nielsen on Tribe Gamer, August 31, 2001
  • Mark Bruno teaches about Copy Editing, August 16, 2001
  • Ratings not just kid's stuff for RPG industry, reported by Matt Snyder, August 9, 2001
  • GenCon '01 News, reported by Matt Snyder, August 3, 2001
  • Origins Report: Would you send your mother to buy from them?, part 4 of 4
  • Origins Report: Booth Babes, part 3 of 4
  • Origins Report: Overview, part 2 of 4
  • The Origins Awards, part 1 of 4, reported by Jason Paul McCartan
  • Gary Gygax Interview, part 1 of 3, by Scott Lynch
  • Why I Write Gaming Materials by Greg Stolze, November 16, 1999
  • Blowing out the Nostalgia Candle by John Wick, October 19, 1999
  • Interview with Sean Pat Fannon, Shards October 5, 1999
  • Portuguese is not Spanish! by Thad Blanchette, September 14, 1999
  • Intuition and Surprise by M. J. Young, July 27, 1999
  • Fear and Loathing in the Wizards of the Coast Game Center by John Tynes, January 26, 1999
  • Breaking In,, on how to break into writing for RPGs, by Steve Kenson, December 22, 1998
  • ALT.RPG, first of a series looking deeply at what gaming is all about, by Matt Miller, September 1, 1998
  • The Night They Tore Old Mecca Down, GenCon report by Randy Porter, August 20, 1998
  • GenCon Fun: con, city, and even housing tips from Randy Porter, June 30, 1998
  • GenCon Lore Vol 3: Program Books, update on GenCon 98 attendance, by Randy Porter, June 23, 1998
  • The Missing and the Dead, update on GenCon 98 attendance, by Randy Porter, June 2, 1998
  • The Definitive Count on who is and isn't attending GenCon 98, by Randy Porter, April 28, 1998
  • How to Scam Games Part II by Steve Johnson, March 24, 1998
  • The Perils of Penniless Publishing by Aaron Rosenberg, February 3, 1998
  • Polyhedral Dice & Mirror Shades, by Greg Costikyan (or, the death of paper).
  • Ken Whitman: A Love Hate Relationship by (of course) Ken Whitman
  • Interview with Sean Punch, GURPS line editor, by Bob Portnell, October 1997
  • YOU DID WHAT? Perspectives On Becoming A Full-Time Writer In The RPG Industry, by Steven Long, September 1997
  • A Resurgence of Role Playing, by Gary Gygax, August 1997

    Other columns at RPGnet

    TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg