Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What were they thinking?

There’s a new game out there called Hollow Earth Expeditions. It’s a pulp RPG from what I believe is a new company called Exile studios. I happen to be a big fan of the genre so naturally I want this product to do well. I don’t run a business and I know nothing about having a game company, but the guys at Exile Studios seem do be making some fundamental mistakes that even a neophyte like me can’t help but shake his head.
I first heard of hollow earth adventures on one of the many gaming boards I frequent. I went to the website to see what all they had. There was a game but it wasn’t ready yet. The game was going to be unveiled at GenCon. I waited a few weeks and checked back after Gen Con. According to all the sources I could find the game was visually very appealing and well put together. However they ran out of copies almost immediately. Their website has an online store but no game to sell. They either decided not to offer the game in PDF format it just didn’t occur to them in the first place.
So here’s a brand new company trying to break into a small competitive market. They have a visually appealing product which they unveil at the premier event in the business. However, they quickly run out of the product and have no means to sustain any buzz they may have generated with the grand unveiling. There is no option for obtaining a PDF copy, and a wait of several weeks before another run of print copies are ready for distribution, In the meantime though, the consumer is told that if they want to reserve a copy it’s $39.99. I looked at the website a few seconds ago and they are promising more copies arriving the second week of September, today is October 2nd ( it’s hard to put a lot of faith in a company that cant even keep their website up to date this early in the game). I’m not sure about most people but 40 bucks for a new game in an untried system is a bit steep for me especially if I’ve never even held a copy in my hand. For half that price I can go to RPGnow and get a couple of pulp games, supplements and even some cardstock buildings and miniatures. Yes it’s easy being an armchair quarterback, and I’m sure there are probably good reasons for why they did or did not do certain things, but I can’t help but feel they are losing a great opportunity. Like the saying goes “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” I wish them luck.