So who is your competition?

This is just so simple and so obvious and yet everybody seems to forget it.

In computer games publishing there is a tendency to see other publishers as the competition. As the enemy even, especially if they have a similar game title.

And looking at the pronouncements of the platform holders there is little doubt that they view each other very much as competition.

Yet this is a very narrow view of the market and can cloud your decision making, reducing your marketing effectiveness and thus your profitability.

You see, you are not competing against something, you are competing for something.

And that something is sales.

And to get those sales people need to spend money, the money that is left over after they have paid for rent and food; the money that is known as ‘discretionary spend’.

What you have to always bear in mind is that you are competing for discretionary spend against all sorts of other goodies your potential customer can choose to spend it on. Like going to the cinema, mobile phone top-ups, beer and girls.

Once you have this clear in your mind you know far better how to go about getting that discretionary spend for your product. This means that the more you know about your potential customer and how they spend their money then the more of that money becomes yours!

But you are not just competing for their money, you are competing for their time.

It takes a lot of time to play a game, if they are going to get value for the money that they have spent. So in the summer they are outside more and you sell less games, but in the long summer holiday break sales pick up because they have a lot more free time.

Of course, famously, they buy less games when they discover girls because their time is taken up with romance. But once they settle down with a partner then they have time again to spend on games.

So is that worth a comment? If so, click the link and let everyone know.


  1. Remember that there’s also a very strong market to sell to *girls* as well as boys – potential customers (in video gaming as least) can be either sex.

    However, I agree on time; it’s an underlying factor behind today’s article on the BBC site about teens trying to fit it all in, and failing…

  2. I hate to nitpick like this, but it’s one of my main pet peeves in writing. When the amount of something that you are referring to is made up of distinct units (such as games), you use ‘fewer’. It’s only when the thing that you are referring to is not a collection that you use ‘less’.

    Fewer competitors, less competition.
    Fewer extra dollars, less discretionary income.
    Fewer sales, less profit.

    I know it’s a bit presumptuous to correct grammar in other people’s blogs, but I really enjoy what you have to say — and you appear to enjoy saying it — but little sloppy mistakes like that cause me to drop into proofreading mode.

  3. The time thing has really hit games over the last couple of years as people are spending so much of it on social networking.
    However I can see the current social networking craze as being a bit of a fad. Unless they become even more game like than they already are.

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