Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More on game box art

The post I referenced earlier has been transferred to a discussion on BoardGame Geek, where, unsurprisingly, people have strongly held conflicting opinions which they express in snarky ways.  If I can distill the various viewpoints down to basic conflict, it's this:

  1. Exterior artwork, and to a lesser extent, interior artwork, is vital to the marketing success of a game.  A game will not sell in a game store unless it has an appealing box.
  2. Exterior artwork is irrelevant to people buying online, and because much game shopping is now done from online stores or through recommendations rather than by browsing in a store, the role of good exterior art is much diminished.
So, these diametrically opposed views are interesting but not so helpful.

For me, though, this will likely be my one shot, lifetime, at game publishing, and something that I'm going to dump a bunch of money into, so I think it's important that I do it right.  Really good artwork will probably add $500-$2000 to the production cost of my game, which at the numbers I'm considering comes out to maybe $0.10-$0.40 cents cost per copy (although if the game is a smash hit and I need to order a second print run, the art is free).  Worth it, or just more money I get to invest in a risky venture?  Hard to say at this point.

Other interesting points I took from the discussion:
  • Good art can actually make people more likely to demo a game with their friends, which might lead to more exposure
  • The art on the side of the box can be as important as the front cover, since boxes are often stocked vertically, edge out
  • Stores are often pressured by small/indie publishers (like I hope to be) to buy multiple copies of a game direct from the publisher, when actually they'd prefer to buy only a couple at a time, and it's easier for them to order from a distributor than to maintain all these separate relationships.  It sounds like distributors are a necessary part of this whole process, and any hope I had of selling direct to game stores (at least until I get bigger and more established) is probably not realistic
  • Some places where I don't live have awesome game stores that make me quite jealous

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