Reply To: Question About Marketing


“… (by Matt ) Thanks for the answer, Ken! I agree that the Sierra advertising worked very well toward the family market, but I still feel that it wasn’t as successful as you claim if the sale target was only 200,000 copies. It did and can still create the same family company and extremely strong company-client relationship, but was there ever thought of exporting that to a greater scale? Again, it’s very easy for us to look at this in hindsight, which is why I pointed out the techniques used by console video game companies at approximately the same time.

Again, thank you for the answer, and I look forward to reading your response to the rest of my questions! (For example, was there much competition between Sierra and console companies, and, if so, how did you address that issue?)


Hi Matt,

In the 80’s, and I think the early 90’s, the number of PC computers sold each year was greater than the number of all the computers in the world sold in previous years. I think that King’s Quest 4 broke an absolute record (best selling game of all time) when it sold about 250,000 copies, simply because this number was humongous in relation to the total number of computer-equipped possible customers.
Today there is a much greater number of people having computers, but with the huge budgets typical AAA games have, only a game selling millions of copies would be able to pay back for itself. (I don’t think such huge budgets are necessary, but that is another topic.) Regardless, there was no way back then that Sierra could have sold substantially more (i.e. millions), because there were not just as many computers to run the games :).
Of course, Ken has the final word and I’d like him to correct me if I’m wrong on something about KQ4.

All in all, it seems that Sierra’s advertisement was quite, quite successful! Word of mouth is #1, because you get the opinion of a real person you know, not some marketing droid’s stereotypic message on a glossy sheet of paper.