Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tasty Minstrel

Michael Mindes over at Tasty Minstrel games posted an interesting defense of a decision to sell one of TM's products, Terra Prime, at half-price through a game enthusiast site called Tanga.  I hadn't heard of Tanga before, but I've looked into it just a little bit, and it sounds like an interesting idea - kind of a Home Shopping Network for games and related stuff along with a community component.

I'd suspected that Terra Prime wasn't doing as well as Tasty Minstrel's other release, Homesteaders, because Michael has started giving out only Terra Prime, not Homesteaders, for his free game Friday giveaway.  He confirms this in his post, indicating he's still sitting on 800-1000 units in inventory with very slow sales.  I'm not sure how many he ordered to start, or what his cost structure looks like.  I know he used Xinghui for manufacturing, which produced cheap but apparently flawed products, and for a game like that to make economic sense, he'd have to have made at least a couple thousand of them.  The print run was 2,000 for Homesteaders, so it's probably the same for Terra Prime, although I can't find where Michael's mentioned the figure specifically.

This was both disheartening and inspiring. Disheartening in that he seems to be living one of my worst fears with this, which is having a significant portion of his product currently unsold and selling very slowly.  Inspiring in that he actually has moved maybe 1000 or more copies, half of those through distribution, within half a year.  That's pretty great, although it would be better were it to continue.

I'm guessing he doesn't suffer as big a markup through Tanga as through retail, although I haven't found anything with their terms yet.  Regardless, at some point, it's going to be worth it to move/liquidate some stock and recoup some of the investment, and the exposure from Tanga may (as Michael guesses) move sales elsewhere as more games get out in the hands of players.

Food for thought, and thanks to Michael for being willing to discuss his business openly.


  1. Yeah, selling 1,000 has been great and without some of our other issues, this would almost be the break even point. For more info:

    My total revenue through Tanga was just slightly lower than the revenue if those sold through retailers. However I ended up with several months (at current slow rate) of sales on one day with Tanga.

    And yes... I made 2,000 Terra Prime also!

  2. Thanks for the info, and congrats on nearly breaking even - I hope your efforts continue to pay off.