Textfyre is still in the process of business development. This means that the business plan is fluid. We have to adapt to new ideas, new market pressures, and of course, we need to generate revenue, even if it’s small.
Secret Letter’s sales have been slow and that’s probably because we need to get it into the target market’s hands. Getting a text game in the hands of a middle-school student is very difficult, but we’re inching closer to seeing that happen. In the meantime, we need to diversify our plans and try to market to the indy/casual/hobbyist gaming communities. So we’ve made some dramatic changes…
All future releases of Textfyre games will have a Hobbyist Edition, which will come with the same End User License Agreement, an Introduction, Hints, and the raw Glulx file that can be played on any existing Glulx interpreter. The raw Glulx file will also be included in all other editions, except for the Classroom Edition, which is a different delivery model anyway.
We still expect to get the games into classrooms on a per-student seat licensing basis, but we need to build the business however it comes to us. We’re going to try to market to casual gamers interested in IF and see where that leads. It looks like The Shadow in the Cathedral is going to do well in this area where Secret Letter has not. I believe the next game, The Empath’s Gift, will also do well in this manner.
I’ve also realized that aiming a little higher with game content is probably a wise move. Secret Letter may be a little too simple in its story-telling. Blame me. I have four daughters and was really basing my instincts on their interests. My two eldest daughters are now reading tween books that are well beyond Secret Letter’s story-telling.
The pricing has come down and we’re okay with that. The gaming market is competitive and online prices aren’t the same as brick and mortar prices. If we ever box up the games and get a chance to sell them in Borders or BN, the price will most likely increase.
The price of the Deluxe version of Secret Letter is likely to come down too. I’m weighing what price point makes sense.
There will be a Deluxe version of Shadow, but probably not until next year.
Version 2 of Secret Letter is due out any day.
I’m glad to see the reviews by Emily Short at IFDB and PlayThisThing. It’s gratifying to see we’re doing good works.