[stella] Interesting Notes from Randy at Hozer

Subject: [stella] Interesting Notes from Randy at Hozer
From: Chad Schell <gamer@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 15:25:29 -0800
Hi everyone,

I heard from Randy about the Stella discussion on locking out the Cuttle Cart, and it's effects on homebrew sales. I thought that some of this information should be shared with the list. So, with Randy's express permission I'm forwarding the relevant portions.


Forwarded email from Randy follows:

From: Randy Crihfield <randyc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

        I *finally* got around to reading the latest on the Stella List.
Just so you know, I agree with just about everything you said, and I don't
think you were picking at me at all, in any message, in any way.

I will tell you a few things:

1. I have had times in the past where I advertised like crazy, and it
  didn't have a huge impact on my sales.  Everyone who buys carts on a
  regular basis seems to be the same people, over and over.  Either they
  are collectors or gamers. Collectors buy everything and anything. Gamers
  do not, they are very selective.  Jammed did not sell well because Brian
  Prescott sold Crazy Valet first, and once the gamers all had a copy of it
  they were not interested in Jammed, although it is the better version.

2. I agree that when people first started hearing the most about me was when
  I was a frequent in the newsgroups, offering copies of CTCW and such.  I
  will tell you this - hands down, I sell more copies of prototypes and other
  hard to find games (crazy climber, glib, CTCW, mangia, etc) than anything
  else.  People buy these games to play.  I would say, after almost two
  decades, my sales have been like this:

Of any 10 carts sold:

        5 are prototype copies
        3 are hacks
        2 are true homebrews

  yes, this trend goes up and down, especially when there is a long time
  between new releases.  I have sold a heap of Gunfight carts, and when I
  sell any new homebrew I tend to sell others with it (as in, when a guy
  buys Gunfight from me he will often buy Edtris at the same time).  now
  that has tapered off, and I have had HUGE orders (I mean 10 at a shot!)
  for prototype copies from 5 or 6 different people.  That is a lot of
  carts for January, a usually quiet month for sales.

your cuttle cart had a LOT to do with this.  People send me e-mail saying
all the time, "I saw game xxx on a cuttle cart and I just had to have one"

and as often as not they order a homebrew or two at the same time.  The
cuttle cart has increased homebrew sales, not because homebrews are all
that great (and they are!!!!) but because people are playing these games
more and wanting to get them on real carts.  I am even starting to see more
names of people that I have not seen before.  So why all this bickering
about the cuttle cart, when it is surely doing more good than not for the
homebrews overall?

4. I paid out just under $1000 total in royalties last year, with a flurry
at the end. So divide by 5 and you see that comes out to about 200
homebrew carts sold. This does not include the royalty free ones, like
the Ebivision ones I sell (and sell quite a few of) or the ones that have
been released as public, like MineSweeper. This also does not include the
150 Qb carts I made (for PhillyClassic, etc), or the Allia Quest carts I made
for CGE, or the batch of Venture II carts that were sold, etc. There are
plenty of homebrews getting made every year. I think if someone did real
advertising, where I sent copies of the carts to magazines that were classic
game friendly, or where someone just plain mentioned hozer video more often
in the right newsgroups, they would sell even more.

and Chad, feel free to post any portion of this message to the Stella list.
It may help some people if they realize a little more of the statistics and
trends involved in cart making.  I would be glad to give out some more exact
numbers if desired, I have several years worth of data collected.


============================================ Chad Schell gamer@xxxxxxxxxxx Like the Atari 2600? Check out the Cuttle Cart. http://www.schells.com/cuttlecart.shtml

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