Does email marketing still work?

email-marketing-does-workYou know in this day and age, one would think that with all the laws and spam filters that email marketing would just go away.  Well, that is totally untrue.  Email marketing does indeed still work.  I can prove it by all of the credit card charges to Macy’s and Lands End by my wife after receiving a wonderful email message from them.

Sure, it is harder to do things right these days, and even more difficult to construct an email that is enticing and considered NOT spam by the end users.

In my next few posts I will be reviewing a few email marketing services that do work and work without the worry of being called a spammer or having to deal with whitelists.  Yeah, I’ve written about getting blocked when sending more than 500 emails using Hostgator, so don’t be like me and think that all of your emails are not getting out.  Stay tuned!

Rehabilitating a SEGA Franchise Page 2

sega-headquartersNext, the visualization of what we’re going to develop. A lot of these IPs will need a facelift for the modern age. To be clear, I’m putting my personal tastes aside for the most part because these games will need to appeal to the broader audience for the best chance of success, not the clique of hold-out SEGA fans. But you can also look at it like if you do well by them, you’ll do well by the rest of the public because they are vocal and love to spread the word.

 

The financial plan for these IPs is Low budget, small team, digital only releases… reason being is you only have to go look at the hottest selling Indie titles on XBLA, PSN, Steam, and Mobile devices to see that these small self-published teams made some of the best selling, most popular games in the last 10 years with a fraction of what we’d be spending if we act like a AAA publisher. The proof is everywhere. Our rebirthed classic franchises will be reimagined by small teams, either internal or outsourced to credible indie studios, and sold on this basis. My design philosophy is the less you have to work with, the harder you will try to make it the best it can be which rang true for the old days of 8 and 16-bit games being so limited by the hardware they ran on.

 

Sega-SG-1000-Console-SetNow, what IPs are we going to revive? Well first of all, we’re leaving Golden Axe and Streets of Rage out of this and I’ll explain why in a little bit. What we can work with here for our low-budget, small dev team, 2D digital titles are Alex Kidd, Alisia Dragoon, Altered Beast, Kid Chameleon, Fantasy Zone, and Alien Syndrome. Alien Syndrome had a moderate revival earlier during this generation on PSP and Wii but it wasn’t the best use of the property and the name recognition was not even acknowledged.

 

Now, of this bunch, Kid Chameleon will be the most ambitious. Looking at the sheer size of the original, you’re obligated to deliver something as big or bigger and, to update the premise for the modern age, the setting is moved to cyberspace rather than a building-sized VR arcade game. You stylize the aesthetic to something marketable today and reuse & redesign some original assets to keep that association with it’s roots. It can even act as a half-sequel/half-reboot. Why not have the new "Kid" be the son of the original who is now the one with the power to send his son into cyberspace to take up his mantle as the Kid Chameleon? We can go in several directions here, I’m just delivering one possible scenario.

 

The same goes for the rest of the IPs mentioned above. Alex Kidd has the ability to come back as an adapted-for-the-modern-age platformer comparable to so many other great Indie platformers out there that sell so well.

 

Fantasy Zone can be adapted for the Bullet Hell genre with new quirky aesthetics and online play for two.

 

Altered Beast and Alisia Dragoon have SO many core elements that have suddenly become popular again. With Altered Beast, it’s the transformations and over-the-top moves. Alisia Dragoon, it’s the p
suedo RPG elements and raising a pet companion that fights with you.

 

Alien Syndrome could again be in 3D like it’s earlier reboot but we restore the gameplay back to the static Top-Down perspective as a dual-stick shooter like Robotron and Smash TV but with 4 players local or online. I’m skimming over these, we could be here all day picking them apart one by one but I just wanted to give general examples that are currently selling right now for everyone else making these kinds of games today. You get the right endearing personality to sell these in adverts and trailers, you’ll work over enough people to pony up for them.

 

At the end of it all, given there were no hiccups, development went well, and reception was great, sales should be up, expenses should be down, and we’ve rehabilitated our dead franchises back into profitable IPs.

 

In PART 2, I will be touching on STREETS OF RAGE and GOLDEN AXE.

Rehabilitating a SEGA Franchise

sega-headquartersI wrote a Note last April about SEGA’s $86 million fiscal loss that year and a plan of taking complete advantage of digital distribution channels with new franchise entries made in 2D on low budgets. Fast-forward to now, and I have a more fleshed out perspective and understanding of selling something a SEGA fan or gamer in general would want at a low affordable price that reflects high quality on those low budgets.

In the same way that I study and analyze the professional wrestling business from a promoter and booker’s perspective and learned by listening to stories by the great minds of the business via shoot interviews on the internet, I took on the task of a fantasy business plan for SEGA’s dead franchises and how to make money with them today. They currently sit on a mountain of dead IPs that only see the light of day as non-stop digital re-releases on every platform available and, for their extremely low prices, they do okay. But how many times can you buy a digital copy of the Streets of Rage trilogy before you want to see something new out of it? Or Golden Axe, or Vectorman, or Toe-Jam & Earl?

sega-gamesIt starts with re-educating the public. The vast majority of gamers today, regardless of age, do not go out of their way to specifically learn anything about SEGA. They’re not a major entity in their eyes. They’re only followed by their fans which tend to be older and are dwindling in number each year. So because they don’t know anything about the company, they don’t know anything about it’s franchises that put them on the map.

Also, the company does not have a face. There’s no single person that speaks for the company like Reggie does for Nintendo or Kaz for Sony; no one individual with a style and charisma that embodies what SEGA is about.

When you have a figurehead, the people have someone to endear themselves to. Because of this, they couldn’t even talk about their own upcoming Sonic Lost Worlds that they’re banking so heavily on, Satoru Iwata from Nintendo cut the promo FOR them.

roSo this is where it starts, you need a voice for the company to re-educate the public on the company’s history and these franchises we’re going to revive. TV time would be far too expensive and not see enough returns so the best route next to that is making your own videos for your YouTube page and main website and also spreading those to the gaming news outlets and sites of the platforms that will be carrying your new games.

to be continued…

Fun IPad Apps and Games for Kids for June 2013

I love having an IPad and I love browsing around the AppStore to find some apps and games made specifically for the IPad.  The toughest thing is finding a fun game that the kids will I will both love.  I did find a few, but some aren’t actually games, but fun educational toys that are fun to play as well.

One thing to note, yes, many of the Apps are free, but also many contain in-game purchases.  Make sure you turn of in-app purchases (unless you don’t mind the kids maxing out your credit card)

  1. battle-nationsBattleNations – Totally fun game to play with the kids.  What I find great about it is that you do a few plays, then come back later to see how much progress your land has made.  Yes, you do get to battle enemies with guns, but there are no actual bullets or grenades fired directly, and most of all, no blood.  Which makes it kid friendly for me.  Plus the graphics a totally crisp and incredible.  You can tell this fun game was made specifically for the IPad. Battle Nations – Z2Live, Inc
  2. doodle-buddy-ipad-game-for-kidsDoodle Buddy – Totally fun painting program for kids.  My 3 year old has a blast with it.  Comes complete with “rubber stamps” that also make noises when you draw with them.  You can even import your existing photos too!  Perfect for drawing mustaches on faces.  This is also a great app to use a stylus with (I have a RocketFish stylus).  You can save your creations and even post them to Facebook.  One of the best Free Apps out there in my opinion!  Doodle Buddy – Paint, Draw, Scribble, Sketch – It’s Addictive! – Pinger, Inc.
  3. ipad-apps-for-kids-doodle-buddyToontastic – Hands down one of THE BEST free apps for the IPad.  This program helps teach kids the basics of cartoon story movie making.   The animations are top notch, so are the graphics and the ease of use.  This app is soo much fun.  My son and I spent hours making silly pirate cartoons.  It is amazing that the quality rivals that of anything coming out of the real cartoon shops.  Very cool and fun indeed. Toontastic – Launchpad Toys
  4. gleeGlee Karaoke – Ok, I must admit…I’ve never watched the show.  Yes, it is hard to believe, but it is true.  So I was not biased in downloading this app.  There was only one reason why I downloaded this app…Autotune.  The technology that so many horrible singers use today to keep their flat singing in check.  This games lets you sing along to tunes, but the key is to try to stay as close to the real notes as possible.  If you can’t do it, well, don’t worry, Mr Autotune will fix it.  There are limited things you can do in the free version, but it is still lots of fun with the kids. Glee Karaoke – Smule

If you have any more IPad games or apps for kids (that are also free), please send them along. I would love to update this list in the future!

PS4 Ready for Preorder!

sony-unveils-the-playstation-4-1OK, enough of this Wii U or XBOX 720 stuff.   I’m totally psyched about the new Sony Playstation 4 which is ready for preorder at Walmart.  The new Playstation 4 is bound to apeal to a different crowd than the Wii U, especially to those who dig Max Max.

This is what we have to look forward to with the new Playstation 4.  From a design standpoint it looks pretty cool…unlike the Leapster look of the Wii U.  This thing looks more like a PC thin client or even a router.  Ok, yes, that doesn’t seem much cooler than a Ti/99 4a, but still, atleast its design has something to do with the 21st century.  The Playstation also comes with what resembles a tv remote control.

Watchdogs-for-PS4This thing is totally wireless and contains a specialized Playstation Lan adapter.  I guess you could technically take this thing to Panera to steal some bandwidth to play games.

The PS4 is completely PS3 backward-compatible, which I’m sure many of you who thought you’ve wasted money buying all six of the PS3 games…now you can play them again on the PS4.

What confuses me though is that Sony is going with the PowerPC chip…considering that Apple just dumped PowerPC for Intel.  Still, I guess it really comes down to the quality of games available for the PS4.  Oh wait, the PS4 does not have a PPC chip…I must be ripping this article off from an older article. Smile

Anyways, after you preorder, make sure you save a few thousand bucks to pick up a few titles that are out for the PS 4:

Preorder your PS4 at Walmart.com today! Plus, enjoy free shipping!

Blogging from Android

So…finally my new Samsung galaxy s2…
image
Figured I would try out the new WordPress app. So far so good…however the auto correct is a but comical. I guess that is the price you pay for trying to write a blog post with an Android phone.
I will not correct the auto correct changes…I’ll start with some Led Zeppelin lyrics:
There’s a lash who is ideal that glitters is gold. And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.  When she gets there she knows if the stores are all closed, sith a word she cM get what she came for.
Pooh ooh..oh pop pop..and she’s buying mg a stairway yours en.
Nice…

Commodore 64 dev kit for Windows

commodore-basic-on-windowsIf you are like me you have a crazy interest in anything retro when it comes to computers.  The majority of the computers I’ve owned growing up were Commodores.  It started with a Commodore Vic-20, then a Commodore 128, Amigas, and so on. 

Though they were fun to program, there was no real IDE to aid in the development of anything too extreme.  My buddy Arthur Jordison feels the same way.  This led him to develop something that I feel is one of the coolest tools ever made.  The product is CBM Prg Studio and it allows you to develop for 8-bit Commodore machines using Windows.  The CBM prg Studio allows you to type in BASIC OR Assembler and then run it on an emulator like Vice.  But it doesn’t just stop at writing programs.  Arthur actually stuffed this IDE with a bunch of other cool things:

  • Tabbed MDI interface
  • 6502/6510 assembler/disassembler/integrated debugger
  • Sprite Editor
  • Character Editor
  • Screen Designer
  • Code formatting
  • Project tutorials and examples

The best thing about the studio is that it is totally FREE.  Go ahead and check it out and make some stuff with it.  Also, make a donation to that chap…you’ll soon learn that the toolkit is well worth it. 

Developing Commodore BASIC programs on Windows has never been more fun!

Where can I Pre-Order a Wii U?

The answer is not Walmart.com!  I’m pretty fed up with the affiliate program over at Walmart, especially with trying to promote the Wii U pre-order.  Every time I send somebody over there for a Wii U, they get the same message, “OUT OF STOCK ONLINE.”  What a load of crap. 

So, I’ve decided to now see what Amazon has to offer as far as the Wii U goes.  There seems to be good availability of the Wii U on Amazon, and also they are running a program that lets you trade in your old Wii and 3DS for a credit toward purchasing a Wii U system.  Sometimes up to $70, which is pretty good to me!

Whether you want the Nintendo Wii U Console – 32GB Black Deluxe Set or the Nintendo Wii U Console 8GB Basic Set – White , Amazon will most likely have the machine available and ready to be shipped by Christmas.  Plus, these big products usually qualify for free shipping.

Whichever system you decide to go with, make sure you pick up the new New Super Mario Bros. U because it is friggin awesome.  I mean, this time, you can use your own Wii Mi in the game…to play with Mario!  How cool is that?

Furby Toys for 2012– Market Trend Increasing!

Furby 2012 toys amazon I’ve reported in my last post that the Furby toys for 2012 are a hot item.  I wanted to wait a few weeks before I posted a follow-up post, showing indeed how the trend is increasing.  As the Christmas holiday gets closer, I’m sure we’ll even be seeing much more Furby stuff floating around.

So for the past 90 days, the web search interest trend for Furby has steadily increased in popularity, based primarily on news headlines, but that seems to be the driving force behind “hot” items year after year:

So the next natural step for the consumer is to find these items and find them cheaply.  This is easily seen by looking at the currently rising terms used to find information on the Furby for 2012.  In fact, the terms Walmart Furby and Amazon Furby have increased by at the least 200% over the past 90 days.

What does this mean to affiliate marketers?  This means it is time to start plugging your Walmart and Amazon affiliate links for Furby toys.  I’ve already done so, and I will continue to do so for the next month. 

The other rising search stars for the Furby toys is something I typically neglect to consider.  What seems to go with toys, movies, cartoons, or whatever these days is an app companion for the iPad, iPhone or Android device.  If you currently have an Apple iTunes affiliation (maybe through Linkshare), you may want to start some chatter with the Furby apps.

Oh wow, I just noticed this cool little Furby, the FURBY, Raincloud