Friday, January 13, 2012

We don't make bits you play with, we build worlds you play in...


When we first came out supporting Pathfinder, we started doing the same things we did when working on 3.5 OGL. We made small / short PDFs that focused on feats or spells or magic items or whatever.  These things are great to get people interested in you as a company while at the same time generating some quick cash. This is one of the tactics that I used to grow very large, very quickly in the PDF world.  It’s a solid business strategy and it works well. Except that you only have “bits” of something.  Just little bits and pieces of something. Now it is not a bad thing, but it is just a small bits of something, often not connected in anyway. 

When doing NeoExodus for Pathfinder is started with this same plan in mind, make small bits and then build the world.  But it the middle of discussing what people would want to see in the the setting I decided that doing small PDF for NeoExodus may not do as well due to the story we are trying to build with the setting. So we decided to change up ore business focus a little bit.  We made the monsters for the setting short small PDFs (5 of less pages), while the other source material like adventures and sourcebooks would be medium sized (at least 12 pages) sized PDFs.  Making this change made doing NeoExodus a little more risky, but in the longer term for the setting it would be the best business move. 

Right now, with the excitement of Pathfinder picking up, there are more and more 3PP coming into the arena with them focusing on smallPDFs to gain interest in their company.  In this day and age I would not even waste time like that.  If you are a small start up 3PP, I would focus on medium sized PDF and give small short PDF away for free at RPGNow / DriveThruRPG / One Book Shelf, but NOT at Paizo.  The reason for this is on RPGNow / DriveThruRPG / One Book Shelf you get direct access to the email address to people who give free products away to. While on Paizo you don’t get that. Getting the ability to potentially connect with a future customer is AMAZINGLY powerful and should be exploited.  Better yet giving it away from free reduces the risk to the purchaser and if they like it makes it easier for them to be customers in the future.  So when you get to the size of LPJ Design with over 500 products, you can make worlds that people play in, being long term customers and not worry about fighting over the scraps of the bits that people can play with. Only dogs worry about scraps.  Talk to you later…