home about ideas indie games non-digital games other creative outlets contact
Business & Marketing Plan for Style Rules For You: Jenn Sandercock

Welcome to my Style Rules For You Business & Marketing Plan...

This page contains the business and marketing plan for my Style Rules for You project. The initial idea was inspired by idea 13 of my game idea a week project. You can also use theselinks to look at the overview page and the game design document.

Style Rules Header

Target Market and Audience

Women in their 20s and 30s. The initial version of the game is directed at the Facebook development platform. Facebook has wide and international market, with approximately 200 million female users. There are over 7 million Australian users, of which 3.9 million are female. The age bracket of 18-34 year olds represents 57.4% of Australian Facebook users. Although there are fewer male users on Facebook, the game could be expanded to apply to men at a later date. Future expansions could adjust gameplay so that it can extend to other development platforms such as Steam, Nintendo WiiWare, XBox Live Arcade and Playstation Network.

Genre Analysis

This game fits into the genre of fashion/clothing games. Due to the proposed development platform of Facebook, the game also fits into the social networking game genre.

Social Networking Games Other games in the social networking game genre include Fashion Wars (a variant of Mafia Wars and not related to dressing a model), FarmVille , Pet Society and Café World . Social networking games are highly popular, for example, FarmVille has over 74 million users. These games rely on asynchronous gameplay and friendship networks to function. The player is not able to continuously play the game to the finish, and must wait for certain real-time events to occur. These games do not rely significantly on player skill, but encourage the player to do simple tasks which they can only finish after waiting some amount of time.

Fashion-related Games There are many fashion games available for free download. However, these games are nothing more than a mannequin or model that you place clothes on. There is no feedback given, they offer no challenge or variety and have no other gameplay variations.

There are currently only two major fashion related games available to buy in shops, Imagine: Fashion Model and Style Boutique, both for the Nintendo DS. These games are aimed at teens and pre-teens, rather than mature adults. There are no reports of further fashion related games being released soon. In Imagine: Fashion Model , the player is a fashion designer, rather than a model. However, overall, the player leaves with the feeling that their opinions do not matter and that the game is not truly testing their ability to design good clothes.

In Style Boutique, the player is a fashion boutique owner who must choose clothes for the customers who enter the store. The emphasis in this game is more on how to sell products and remember brand names, rather than developing true style. If the customer doesn't like the suggested clothes, there is minimal feedback to the player. Often the response is "that's wasn't what I was thinking" or "can I see something else?" No further qualification is given, which can frustrate players, particularly when choosing an entire outfit since no indication is given as to which items out of the many are not suitable. The customers that the player serves are superficially different in their facial appearance, but have almost identical, thin body shapes, even though the customers are supposed to represent the entire population. Due to this the game implies that being skinny is the only way to look beautiful. Style Boutique also offers downloadable content (including real-world clothes) periodically, for example, some of Beyoncé's clothing line will be available for download in the near future.

Originality - Original Selling Points

In terms of attractiveness to players, the key selling points are:

Competitor SWOT

StrengthsWeaknesses
  • Simple prototype is easy to set up, and can be added to easily.
  • Gameplay is varied and challenging, due to the different mini-games.
  • Gameplay can be continuous or episodic.
  • First fashion game with realistic models
  • Gives players a sense of accomplishment because they are learning a skill.
  • No current equivalent on Facebook.
  • Can be played individually or cooperatively and competitively with friends.
  • Team member reputation is not big currently
  • Limited budget and staff
  • No implemented prototype yet.
  • Clothing database with associated rules may be hard to set up.
  • Friends and social network not necessary to play the game, meaning unlikely to benefit greatly from viral marketing. However, it has been predicted that this form of marketing will decline in 2010.
  • Payment not mandatory for Facebook version of game means difficult to directly benefit from game usage.
OpportunitiesThreats
  • Body image is an important current issue.
  • Can be extended easily by adding clothes.
  • Many franchise possibilities.
  • Easy product placement within game facilitates retailer sponsorships.
  • Key game assets can be commercial products [potentially purchasable via link to sponsor].
  • Can be updated every season.
  • This is a new brand, that can have a unique position.
  • Builds on an unexploited niche in the games market.
  • Helps cement Melbourne's reputation as a fashion destination.
  • Difficult to attract notice of the target demographic.
  • Potential copyright confusion with TV shows: "What not to Wear" and "How to Look good Naked".
  • Although game emphasis is on style (not fashions and trends) without regular updates, the clothing game assets could become dated.
  • Facebook games market might become saturated.

Key Income Possibilities

Due to Facebook deployment, the game itself will be free to play. Players can use microtransactions to buy clothing items. However, the main source of income is likely to be from partnerships with clothing companies to use their clothes as the game assets that people use to create outfits.

Business Partners and Publishers

Currently, there are no business partners involved in the project. However, there is great potential for future partners and sponsorship. These partnerships will be thoroughly investigated once a prototype version has been made that can be shown and demonstrated to work. There are a number of avenues that will be considered, including: stylists, clothing designers and retailers, and government bodies.

Depending on the partnerships developed, the gameplay, franchise options and game release details may need to be adjusted. If the game became significantly bigger or needed significant development in order to be released, then we would investigate getting a professional game development studio to complete the game. Daniel Visser of Wicked Witch Software has expressed an interest in participating as a developer.

Stylists For the prototype, a professional stylist will be consulted regarding the specific rules that will be used in the game. There are several well-known TV presenters that address body shape and clothing issues, including: Gok Wan (How to Look Good Naked, UK version), Carson Kressley (How to Look Good Naked, US version) and Trinity and Susannah (What Not to Wear, UK). Partnership deals with these stylists would involve negotiations to include the stylist's name in the game title, for example "Trinity & Susannah's Style Rules for You".

Clothing Designers and Retailers The core gameplay involves players placing clothes on models and their avatar. These clothes could represent real-world clothes and therefore could be a potential source of advertising income for the game. As well as having the clothes in the game as key game assets, it could be possible for players to link to an online store where they can buy the real-world clothes to be delivered to their home, or include links that allow the player to find out where they can buy the clothes in a local shop.

The types of companies and people that could be approached include: clothing designers, retail clothing shops, department stores and shopping centres. It would not be suitable to use one clothing designer exclusively because designers and specific fashion trends in general can have a specifically shaped clientele in mind, and so their clothes, or a particular seasonal collection, may not suit all of the body shapes in the game. It would be much better to approach many individual designers, or a retail company (such as a department store or a shopping centre) that has access to a wider range of clothes from many designers. The benefit to these companies is that women will buy clothes that they will be satisfied with, meaning they will be inclined to return to that shop even after the stop playing the game. Note that, if the clothes will represent real-world clothes, then it is likely that a fashion shoot would be needed to take images of models of different body shapes in the clothes.

Government Bodies The Victorian government is committed to programs to improve body image issues in youth . It is possible that this game could receive funding or participate in this program and other similar programs.

Game Marketing

The target market may not necessarily be regular computer game players, meaning traditional forms of marketing computer games may not be suitable for this game. One marketing method may be to generate media exposure in newspapers and women's interest magazines. Other possible methods to market the game to potential players may depend on the partnerships obtained.

Franchise and Expansion Potential

The game itself is both highly franchisable and expandable. The game could be franchised depending on the partnerships formed with stylists, designers, retailers and government.

The game is easily expandable, since the gameplay does not need to change. New clothes and/or new rules can be added to the database and new databases can be created. The preliminary emphasis in the initial game is on body shape as the key defining factor in clothing choice. However, bodies can also differ based on height, weight, hair, skin tones and age. Game expansions could consider all these factors, as well as different fashion styles, make-up, accessories and hairstyles.

The franchise and expansion possibilities can be extended over a large period of time. It is envisaged that the team will grow to meet these demands and provide continuing customer support, post game release. The following timeline indicates how these possibilities could be rolled out over a number of years.