Bounds, Bottlenecks, and Digital Marketing


This article's inspiration brought to you by my acquaintance Worthless Bums:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


Personally the cutscene art is what initially endeared me to the game (I suppose I understood and appreciated the storybook intention), but maybe I’m strange. I got the game on sale (I’m not sure exactly when), but if I’d known how much meat there was to it I would have paid more. I got a real steal, and immediately started telling all my friends about it.

It looked like a really good tower defence game (I had fortunately played other examples previously, both simple and complex, and decided I preferred simple), but I had no idea how good a tower defence game could be, so I held off. Silly me. Anyway!

I think appeal is a particularly tricky thing. Price is tricky, but a low price is relatively easy, and people with enough income will gladly pay—but maybe their time budget is a bit lacking. So maybe someone does like tower defense games, but not -as much- as a dungeon crawl or an adventure game, and they don’t have time for both. I suspect if I had encountered Defender’s Quest for the first time now rather than in 2013, I would be faced with that problem.


I really like the small/large bottleneck approach for thinking about game sales. So often the commercial failure of a particular big game is ascribed to one generally accepted cause, like the publisher failing to promote it sufficiently (reach) or the genre being “dead” (audience).

In reality, as your diagrams make clear, even if the accepted cause did happen to be the smallest bottleneck, many games will have multiple small bottlenecks. Even if the publisher had poured millions more into promotion, maybe it was just released on the wrong platform in the first place.

Thanks for another interesting article, and I’m looking forward to DQII.


Nah, I like the old style too :slight_smile: It’s just that I think we had finally reached everyone with that opinion and to go beyond it we had to offer a more conventional alternative.


About the art style:

If you remove the background and only compare how the main character was rendered I would lean towards the new version. The shapes and forms used in the new version have a disney-esque vibe that I appreciate. However the older rendering does a better job of integrating with the background. The first version is just more cohesive when it come to style.

But I think there is a happy medium to be found. Take the figure from the new version and minimize/remove the black line work and instead of using strictly flat colors for clothing add patterns to give the fabrics a more textured feel to fit in more with the background.


Thank you so much for putting the thought and work into creating and sharing this.