Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Regular reports on Factorio development.
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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by sniperczar » Sat May 04, 2019 1:23 am

starholme wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 10:24 pm
geomod87 wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 9:10 pm
A popular news outlet you should look into would be Arstechnica.com. They do a "war stories" series about the challenges of game development. They also cater to the exact content you mentioned in the blog post. Definitely could be a valuable partner in getting the factorio story out there.
I second this! Ars Technica is the ONLY news site I've ever paid a subscription for. I check it at least every couple hours when I'm awake. They do some good reviews, and have a large audience that would be right up your alley.
This is what I came here to say. Ars is the highest quality science/technology site I read on a regular basis. Title suggestion: "Squashing bugs and scaling up"

I would love to see Factorio featured in some education magazines or blogs as well. I think there is an untapped opportunity in how well Factorio teaches programming fundamentals. You start with defined inputs/outputs, work within constraints (power, space, throughput, biters), develop optimizations, and then you are naturally pushed towards modular/interchangeable and scalable designs (the game's "code"). The people who fit the traditional gamer/programming student audience have probably been exposed to the game at some point. There is still a wide audience of hands-on learners and tech savvy educators who try to find new teaching methods. These are passionate people who would look under the surface and appreciate the learning opportunities of the game. I hope someday my kids will have assignments to solve a problem creatively in a game like Factorio and we can discuss it at the dinner table :D

Regarding paid streamers - I think the type of content that is lacking is very early game concepts for individuals who have never even seen the game before. There is a lot of content for intermediate or expert players but I think any expansion to new audiences is going to have to be at the level of someone who has never even played the style of game before, like a console player who has never held an xbox controller in their hands. The new demo is good, but having someone spend a few hours getting their first few labs set up may be needed to make the viewers feel comfortable with all the concepts of the game. Rushing through the early game to show off the "fun" parts like trains and fluids is entertaining for intermediate players but could be intimidating or confusing for someone who only tunes in for an hour or two each night. I think one or two nights of content from a *completely* new player could be helpful but I don't think someone who has played in the past is going to go through fundamentals at such a low level. I'm not sure if doing a lot of streamers at once or one or two each week over a longer time would be a better strategy.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by Omarflyjoemacky » Sat May 04, 2019 1:52 am

geomod87 wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 9:10 pm
A popular news outlet you should look into would be Arstechnica.com. They do a "war stories" series about the challenges of game development. They also cater to the exact content you mentioned in the blog post. Definitely could be a valuable partner in getting the factorio story out there.
I surf Ars daily. This is a great idea.

https://arstechnica.com/author/kyle-orland/

He's the guy you want (I imagine).
"And then Bender ran."

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by Omarflyjoemacky » Sat May 04, 2019 2:04 am

Drison wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 11:19 pm
From kovarex:
The famous quote of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and also "No bullshit policy" is something we take very seriously all the time during the development since the early days. Things like pricing $30 instead of $29.99, no sales, no micro-transactions, game stability over features, no selling-out to big companies that would use the game as cash grab while destroying the brand (we actually declined to negotiate "investment opportunities" like this several times already, no matter what the price would be), the same would be when it would potentially come to any exclusivity deals, which is its own subject...
Kovarex, I love the work you guys do, but as a gamer, and a "big company" corporate overlord, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with your statement here. Specifically your denigration of adding new features...

First, let me say that I love Factorio, and have played countless hours (I was playing long before I had an account on this forum). But I believe major elements of your approach to 1.0 are seriously flawed. This isn't intended to be personal, rather, its about business. In terms of my background, I've run a $20M per year software engineering/development shop for a major US-based company (but never done games so take this with a grain of salt).

The problem I see for the Factorio team is that I believe Factorio has already largely reached a market saturation point - I've yet to be in a group of 5+ gamers where at least one of them hasn't heard of Factorio. While it seems that your strategy is to bring the game to more "mainstream" publications and sources, in an attempt to covert those likely non-simulator/strategy gamers to Factorio players, I think that's a risky approach. To me it seems that you've spent nearly a year putting all your eggs in to the big 1.0 "platinum plated" release basket. It's great that you're focusing on stability, and working things to assist new players in getting in to the game, but at the same time have you considered that you're largely neglecting your established fan base? The people whom have hundreds if not thousands of hours in the game? Whom have researched everything and played through multiple times? Please consider, will a new campaign or tutorial really be new content to those players? I'm sure they'd love to have new vehicles, new biter types (flying?), new buildings, new weapons, new biomes (space stations/platforms anyone?). I know I'd love to see some of that.

I think at some point very soon the Factorio team would be best served stepping back from the gold/platinum/diamond plating of the existing, already highly functional baseline and instead work on new features. Just think of how many current players would love to see that? Even if you don't care about the revenue you could rake in by selling some of that as DLCs, new content for long time/dedicated players would be a nice reward for the community that has stood beside you, told all their friends about the game, bought their friends copies, etc..

Bottom line, in my "big company" job I often see dedicated, talented software developers, when left unimpeded, getting too deep in to the process of polishing and perfecting, and thus missing out on the big picture.
I suspect they already have a few DLC ideas solidified. I can't see how every player wouldn't purchase a DLC for $10. Finished Loaders, flying biters, electric trains, different terrains, bridges, underground rail, faster belts, weather systems, etc. Sure many of this stuff is already in mods, but what if it was twisted up by WUBE? I'd buy their take on things. Many users, myself included, would also buy a physical copy of the game. Another easy way to collect $50-$100 per player.

This damn game... after more than 2200 hours, I'm playing for fractions of a penny per hour. I'm happy supporting WUBE through Factorio 2 any way I can... :)
"And then Bender ran."

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by zOldBulldog » Sat May 04, 2019 2:15 am

To this one I can only say... well done. Kudos.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by WookieInATopHat » Sat May 04, 2019 3:26 am

I might suggest to make the marketing focus on a similar vain in minecrafts push that it's educational b/c it really is.

You learn in a real sense why a something as simple as a slow down in production of coal can bottleneck your entire process.

Or after finishing the game for the first time as we all have trying to find the optimal ratios.

IDK im not a marketing expert but it could be an interesting direction.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by pr0n » Sat May 04, 2019 3:27 am

Breaking mods at this point in the name of something as inconsequential as a confusing name that's worked for a very long time seems silly. I hope enough mod authors are still around to work through it.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by xeln4g4 » Sat May 04, 2019 3:34 am

Omarflyjoemacky wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 2:04 am
Drison wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 11:19 pm
From kovarex:
The famous quote of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and also "No bullshit policy" is something we take very seriously all the time during the development since the early days. Things like pricing $30 instead of $29.99, no sales, no micro-transactions, game stability over features, no selling-out to big companies that would use the game as cash grab while destroying the brand (we actually declined to negotiate "investment opportunities" like this several times already, no matter what the price would be), the same would be when it would potentially come to any exclusivity deals, which is its own subject...
Kovarex, I love the work you guys do, but as a gamer, and a "big company" corporate overlord, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with your statement here. Specifically your denigration of adding new features...

First, let me say that I love Factorio, and have played countless hours (I was playing long before I had an account on this forum). But I believe major elements of your approach to 1.0 are seriously flawed. This isn't intended to be personal, rather, its about business. In terms of my background, I've run a $20M per year software engineering/development shop for a major US-based company (but never done games so take this with a grain of salt).

The problem I see for the Factorio team is that I believe Factorio has already largely reached a market saturation point - I've yet to be in a group of 5+ gamers where at least one of them hasn't heard of Factorio. While it seems that your strategy is to bring the game to more "mainstream" publications and sources, in an attempt to covert those likely non-simulator/strategy gamers to Factorio players, I think that's a risky approach. To me it seems that you've spent nearly a year putting all your eggs in to the big 1.0 "platinum plated" release basket. It's great that you're focusing on stability, and working things to assist new players in getting in to the game, but at the same time have you considered that you're largely neglecting your established fan base? The people whom have hundreds if not thousands of hours in the game? Whom have researched everything and played through multiple times? Please consider, will a new campaign or tutorial really be new content to those players? I'm sure they'd love to have new vehicles, new biter types (flying?), new buildings, new weapons, new biomes (space stations/platforms anyone?). I know I'd love to see some of that.

I think at some point very soon the Factorio team would be best served stepping back from the gold/platinum/diamond plating of the existing, already highly functional baseline and instead work on new features. Just think of how many current players would love to see that? Even if you don't care about the revenue you could rake in by selling some of that as DLCs, new content for long time/dedicated players would be a nice reward for the community that has stood beside you, told all their friends about the game, bought their friends copies, etc..

Bottom line, in my "big company" job I often see dedicated, talented software developers, when left unimpeded, getting too deep in to the process of polishing and perfecting, and thus missing out on the big picture.
I suspect they already have a few DLC ideas solidified. I can't see how every player wouldn't purchase a DLC for $10. Finished Loaders, flying biters, electric trains, different terrains, bridges, underground rail, faster belts, weather systems, etc. Sure many of this stuff is already in mods, but what if it was twisted up by WUBE? I'd buy their take on things. Many users, myself included, would also buy a physical copy of the game. Another easy way to collect $50-$100 per player.

This damn game... after more than 2200 hours, I'm playing for fractions of a penny per hour. I'm happy supporting WUBE through Factorio 2 any way I can... :)
This is exactly the reason why people hate big company, DLC policy and so on ... you are totally missing the philoshopy that was behind this game from the beginning. Kovarex explained it perfectly and the fact that he refused "big offers from big company" make all your post totally pointless. And i am sure ... considering factorio numbers in term of sales, can give you an idea of how BIG a BIG offers was about. But still ... There are people with different ethic principles, just bear with it. I personally think this is one of the reason behind factorio HUGE success. You consider polishing the product a non fundamental step ... i consider it a total form of respect toward customers. If you can have one if not the most mod friendly game ever made it's because of this (polishing). When kovarex will make its next big thing he will certainly meet success again because of the way he dealt with customers here.

On one point you were right though...my hours count on factorio made me play for fraction of penny per hour as well (and many are in this situation i think)...so definetly a price increase at launch will be more than fair because during these years there was a CLEAR improvement in the value of the product.

Electric train DLC? Serioulsy??! C'mon man ... that would bring hate toward the game and made its 98% positive review drop down badly. Is this what you want for Factorio? Do you think factorio customer are same as brainless Battle royale players? Reputation is important. They can go up in price and none would disagree with it ... instead ... make customers feel like milking cow and you are done, and this is exactly what you are suggesting here.

More on reputation ...
See previous post of bw_mutley and you know what i am talking about.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by catma » Sat May 04, 2019 4:10 am

Here is a marketing plan; make seasonal varied factorio competitions to weed out who can do engineering in real time. Maybe get NASA involved to foot some of the bill or something.

-The winners get bragging rights helping them get some brownie points to get into high-end schools and universities, such as the MIT, based on actual real-time engineering capacity.

-Winners with an engineering type diploma get their names in a honor list, so that no one else can brag on their resume about this --- because it's VERIFIABLE.

-Sell tickets to attend in person.

-Also give prizes for innovative usage of factorio...

-----What if someone used factorio mods to replicate a famous engineering disaster, and explain it thru trial and error at fixing it rather than static text?

-----What if a study proved technical college students do less drugs if they are gifted a copy of factorio at the start of summer break (because drugs slow down your factorio-fu, mon)??

-----What if someone used factorio mods to teach math classes???

Well, you get the idea.

P.S.: You're TOTALLY entitled to selling real-world items as factorio mechandise more. The T-shirt isn't enough, and some of us want the factorio lego set, the factorio cereals for our kids, factorio-branded tool boxes and hammers and screwdrivers and wrenches, Factorio themed cards we can play poker with, and the factorio anime series!!! THE ENGINEERING NERDS ARE FOAMING AT THE MOUTH DEMANING IT ALL!!!

P.P.S.: 2 of my friends own 500$ in Star Trek mechandise each, but have actually spent more time doing factorio angel + bob + spaceX mods than watching Star Trek (including all reruns) by FAR.... consider that, and kickstarter the merchandising projects separately if you're not sure which ones are worthy!!!

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by ironchefpython » Sat May 04, 2019 4:43 am

Regarding breaking changes to the modding API, while this ship has already sailed for 0.17.35, perhaps in the future you can consider retaining deprecated synonyms for the renamed values and keeping them around (with a warning) for the duration of a major release. Perhaps you can even put "player" back in and un-break mods, and then officially remove it in 0.18?

Please make like easy for mod authors, they provide an enormous amount of value for your users.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by Lubricus » Sat May 04, 2019 6:34 am

I don't think magazines are relevant any longer. Most people find games through twitch and Youtube. There are other video and streaming platforms that is popular in China so you should try to reach out and give free copies of the game to Chinese "content creators" to.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by Haxses » Sat May 04, 2019 7:19 am

Hi! On this topic of Marketing I've wondered a couple of times how all of you manage to continue churning out content for so long on a one time purchase game. I love Factorio and the fact that it just keeps getting better and better is amazing to me. I agree with a lot of your statements and furthermore I believe in paying what something is worth for it. Honestly I have gotten WAAAAY more out of Factorio than I payed for it years ago and am still getting more out of it. If there was some way to financially support Factorio in a way that didn't feel bad for those who are not able to I'm sure plenty of people would be willing. How to do that I'm not 100% sure. I would happily pay for DLC but I'm not sure that really fits the current Factorio model. I know one thing 7 Days to Die did was sell shirts as a kind of way to accept donations in a fun way. Maybe something like that?

Honestly I just feel a little guilty at how little I've supported Factorio for how much enjoyment I've gotten from the game :P . I was going to buy a second copy I could give to a friend when I realized literally every friend I have owns it already! Honestly I'd buy pretty much anything (within reason of course) just to support you all a little more, but it would be fun if it was something that got players excited too.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by RobertTerwilliger » Sat May 04, 2019 7:44 am

Personally I never read magazines and seldom read online articles.
I discover new games from YouTube letsplays. And what can I say: Factorio is much less played now, than it was before. After Steam release it was a huge hype. Probably the same will be after 1.0 release. Or may not. Anyway, YouTube is a massive media portal, and don't underestimate it. Probably you should encourage some youtubers before release? Or it will be passively-made by virus marketing for free? It's up to you - I'm not a marketologist of any kind. You asked our media sources. Here's one.
Holding formation further and further,
Millions of lamb stay in embrace of Judas.
They just need some bread and faith in themselves,
BUT
THE TSAR IS GIVEN TO THEM IN EXCHANGE!
Original: 5diez - "Ищу, теряя" (rus, 2013)

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by Cleany » Sat May 04, 2019 8:14 am

Kovarex' statement on marketing is fantastic, marrying the realities of life with good sense and a disgust for manipulation. Total respect.

Anyway here's my marketing suggestion:

Advert/concept.

Multiplayer map with megabase constructed by multiple players.
Camera pans from the outer walls where biters and spitters are attacking (perhaps some artillery stuff going on).
As camera moves inside the base, you see more players, busy building etc.
Camera moves and focuses on different elements of gameplay showing players, factory/spaghetti, circuits/automation, train networks, bots and storage, fancy/clever curcuit things (counters, video), etc
Camera continues to pan out showing more elements and players
Camera moves to show huge area, text overlay/slogan:
"This is our factory"
"This is our sandbox"
"This is our home"

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by nosports » Sat May 04, 2019 8:17 am

so here are my two cents....

I don't know about marketing, but with this game it was about absolutely right for me....
I won't buy a game out of curiosity, but with the demo on hand to get a nice grip on the game it was a no brainer for me.....

I personally won't buy a game which forces me to wait to finish an advertisment.
An advertisement needs to be there (clearly spread the word what else) but it should be not invading

Also i would think that you could uses some mods (with allowance of the mod owner) in showcase movies at yours to show the buyer that the game is far from finished when lifting the satellite; i would make this an even priority because this game has a very huge emphasis on modding so don't waste this opportunity

I hope the renmants are pickable also by robots so that it could be used as resources (or recycling)

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by Koub » Sat May 04, 2019 8:37 am

I personally choose 90% of my games from the Steam recommendations carousel (and keep buying games I will probably never play because I always come back to the same games I have loved playing).
Also, when an early access game makes it out of beta, Steam sometimes has a header saying just that (above and around the carousel). This is immediate exposure and feels OK to me (I don't feel harassed when seeing this as opposed to advertisements in general).

I think most of your player base has known Factorio with either Twitch/Youtube let's plays/reviews on one side, or by word of mouth from friends on the other side.
Reviews and Let's play from a Youtuber, especially from a youtuber who has as main interest a game in the same segment as Factorio (the kind of "if you like this game, you might like that other game too") should help reach a much broader population.
Most of such channels I have subscribed and am regularly following are Kerbal Space Probgram oriented, but have already widened their videos to other games not including Factorio - yet :
Scott Manlet
Marcus House
Mark Thrimm
Matt Lowne
If they are interested, they might broaden your exposure by quite a lot. I'm sure finding popular streamers of games in this topic and sending them a couple keys would be profitable.

Also viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34996 is relevant.

I remember watching a Google talk from Zach (from Zachtronics). If Kovarex can find a way to make a Google talk, it might also lead to quite some exposure. Also Factorio has been the second best game in Steam reviews ever since it was released in early access over 3 years ago. This is an achievement on could build upon.
Koub - Please consider English is not my native language.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by Homepage » Sat May 04, 2019 9:11 am

I'd like to suggest talking to these guys about marketing in Czech Republic:

https://www.televizeseznam.cz/porad/new-game

I think they will gladly discuss a Czech game.

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by Nashable » Sat May 04, 2019 9:23 am

This is not intended to offend Factorio fans (of which I’m one)

Dev team please seriously consider hiring a PR agency and Marketing agency to support your 1.0 release. Based on the blog the worst thing you can do (apart from nothing) is source your audience targeting from the core people who not only bought your game but read your dev blogs every week. As you mentioned it’s your 1.0 release, you’ll never get this moment in time back.

E.g the people who watch Scott Manley videos have very likely heard about Factorio already and either bought it or rejected as not their type of game.

In terms of marketing positioning what is the emotional payoff of the game? Is it that you feel smart when you solve a problem within the game? A majority of people spend money (on entertainment) emotionally, if you can identify and convey that emotional truth of your product then it will connect with more people

In terms of tactics, you should consider a robust retail/physical release as well. While digital distribution is great, having your game in supermarkets or retail stores will encourage a broader audience to see your product. Especially as Factorio is family friendly and has a building/engineering/educational theme going for it.

Finally think about consumer product relationships. Shooting for the moon but Factorio LEGO sets would get placement in many retail outlets and continue to expand the brand’s reach. Toys are a big deal to retail and even t-shirts with the brand allow you some reach

Great work with the game and best of luck with the eventual 1.0 launch!

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by TheRaph » Sat May 04, 2019 10:38 am

Wakaba-chan wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 5:16 pm
Not like we have tons of cute aliens you may want make plushes of in Factorio, but just looks at this guy https://www.etsy.com/shop/VariousKnitKnacks - I love his splitter keychain a lot: https://i.etsystatic.com/10369983/r/il/ ... 9_sgk8.jpg
Factorio belt belt :D :D :D :D

Vote for plushes !!!

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by eggsome » Sat May 04, 2019 10:59 am

How about a modding competition just before 1.0 launch?
Offer 10k for the best new mod - that will get lots of press in all the right places and worst case scenario you still end up with a bunch of awesome mods that launch with your 1.0 release.
Who knows, you might end up spawning the next DOTA :)

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Re: Friday Facts #293 - New remnants 2 & 1.0 Marketing plan

Post by Vinnie_NL » Sat May 04, 2019 11:34 am

To get more exposure to people who don't already know of the game I think it's good to focus on the educational aspect of the game. A lot of non-gamers see games as simple things on their phone (still waiting for Factorio on Android btw!) and kids shooting each other other in popular multiplayer games like Fortnite. You can improve some basic strategy and communication skills by playing but I think simulation/sandbox games such as Minecraft, Sim City and Rollercoaster Tycoon deserve more attention. And Factorio is on a whole different level because of the whole problem solving part by designing your own solutions in a very accessible way.

This education aspect reminds me of Minecraft which also got used in elementary schools. You would think Factorio is more complicated than Minecraft but the basics are simple. It only takes a lot more effort to learn everything, but don't underestimate the creativity of kids when they play something they enjoy.

I would seriously consider buying a physical collector's edition of Factorio when it's released if that contains a book with artwork and all the FFF's up to that date. At the moment my only physical items are from the Factorio 1M party (1 Factorio t-shirt, 2 Factorio button badges and 1 Factorio paper bag).
And maybe a few more Factorio t-shirt designs?

The following wouldn't really help to get more sales, but personally I would love to see the statistics from FFF223 updated updated for 1.0 so we have an idea of how much the game has progressed during all those years.
From Friday Facts #223 - Reflections on 2017:
Almost 6 years of Factorio in numbers

The initial Factorio commit was done 31.3. 2012, so Factorio is in the development for 5 years 9 months. I did this kind of comparison in fff-88 which was even before the steam release, I hope you don't mind if I compare it with the current state.

Our effort in numbers:

In development for 1106 → 2099 days.
88 → 221 public releases.
14 082 → 34 686 commits in the master branch.
204 917 → 465 550 lines of code, 546 339 → 1 258 939 words and 7 693 483 → 17 517 675 characters, this is equivalent to 15 → 35 average books.
20 791 → 56 947 different sprites with 54 114 147 → 336 907 147 non empty pixels.
1492 → 5034 resolved bugs (only counting those reported on our forums).
3027 → 7670 lines in the changelog.

Results in:

56 500 → 341 000 Youtube videos
403 000 → 1 900 000 Google hits of Factorio.
75 146 → 303 773 forum posts
11 704 years of combined playtime played on steam.
and finally 74 914 → 1 200 000+ copies sold.

This leads me to different kind of comparisons:

2.7 → 0.42 lines of code per one buyer
12.7 → 16.5 commits per day or
2.7 → 6 Youtube videos per one sprite
2.3 years of playtime per resolved bug report
4 months of playtime per one commit
9.1 days of play for each line of code
18.2 minutes for each pixel

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