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Game Publishing in Australia: the tyranny of distance

One of the interesting things we face with game publishing in Australia is lack of local market and local support.  It’s not like we don’t have a great board game community, we definitely do, but even if everyone in Australia were avid board gamers, that still amounts to a fraction of the market of France, Germany and the USA. This means that we will almost certainly be publishing overseas as actively as we publish locally. By publish, I of course mean publicize.

Live Marketing

Additionally, publicizing your game and getting some market awareness is challenging. More so is the large dependency on social media.  Things like Twitter and Instagram work best when you are posting to them when people are paying attention. If you have a post that hits twitter at 4am in the USA, by the time people are awake and looking over Twitter, you are way below the scroll line. It’s a similar problem with all ‘most recent first’ social media.  It’s very similar for Kickstarter. If you are running a campaign in the USA, you need to be responsive to comments and queries in the USA time-zones.

For Twitter and Facebook scheduled posts are probably the way to go, but if someone asks you followup questions on your posts, you aren’t awake to respond.  There are people you can hire in each time zone to manage your social media presence but for a small publisher that’s not usually feasible.

Manufacturing

Actual manufacturing isn’t much different than anyone else. A lot of it is done in China now due to cost and the quality of Chinese manufactured goods increasing. In that respect we actually don’t have it too bad, and in fact it’s better than our USA based counterparts. We are in a similar time-zone to China. Getting quotes, questions answered, or promotional items made there means we are online at the same time.

Shipping isn’t as bad because it’s all done from China either direct to customer with things like Ship From China, or it’s sent to USA based distributors. But with games like Troll Bridge, efficient packaging and portability become important. Card games like Kickin Your Ass aren’t as bad being smaller and lighter but they go to the same place from different manufacturers and that place isn’t our house or office.

Presence

Another issue about being so far away from things is convention attendance. There are several significant ones in the USA, Gen Con, Origins, PAX, etc. Then of course Essen. For us these are all overseas long haul flights and tend to get quite expensive.  We do have PAX AUS locally and several smaller local conferences but they aren’t the large exposure that you need to get your sales numbers up.

As we go through this journey we’ll figure out how to deal with all of this. If you have any suggestions we’d love to hear them. We have a great community here in Australia and we look after each other. I’m sure, like Australia Wine, the world will be seeing more Australian board games hitting the charts. Maybe if we did games about Boxing Kangaroos or Dingoes.  Hmmm maybe the Dingoes could steal things… but what?

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