Raph Koster linked to a Forbes article complaining that casual games aren’t exploiting the long tail.
Indie game developers seem focused on making games that will be accepted by the portals. They think, “If you don’t use the portals, how will anyone hear about your game? Making a game that the portals won’t take is the Kiss of Death. Well, except for all the successful games that don’t use portals. But those are exceptions, of course. They don’t prove anything.”
The portals only take a few types of games. If you make a casual RTS, good luck finding a portal that will take it. They’ll argue that their customers aren’t looking for that kind of game.
Well, who cares if most of their customers aren’t looking for that kind of game? The point of the long tail is that each game is just a database entry anyway. It doesn’t cost any more to offer a wider variety, and you still make the sales. Half of Amazon’s sales come from its major hits, but the other half comes from everything else combined. Imagine if Big Fish or PopCap offered more than match-3 and hunt-the-item games.
But then again, the long tail is really only a big benefit to the portal anyway. Being part of the long tail might mean more customers, but as Cliffski has complained many times, if you sell through a portal, the portal gets your customer’s info. You don’t. All you really get is a portion of the sale, and maybe that is a sale you might not have had if it didn’t get the exposure the portal provides.
[tags] marketing, long tail, casual games, indie [/tags]