Meepify, Matchmaking, and Knowing the Size of Your Audience

29 June 2020 | 5 Comments

Recently I had a fascinating correspondence with Gary Tsai about a game-specific social network he’s been working on that can help future crowdfunders answer a very important question. The following is a guest post by Gary that discusses his answer to this question:

Do enough people care about my game to result in a successful Kickstarter launch? 

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What seems like a simple straightforward question is anything but. Asides from the sheer number of ways to go about it–writing blog posts, talk incessantly about it on BGG, creating landing pages, run a Facebook group, running ads, etc–the biggest problem by far is the simple fact that you have to start from scratch with little to no guarantees for success.

Building, and maintaining, a list is a tall task for organizations of any size but it’s especially difficult for first-time designers and/or publishers because everything is a factor: Not only must you know what to do and how to do it, the worst part is to make time to actually do whatever “it” is consistently over a prolonged period of time to make it work.

Building your very first list of people who’d back your game can take months or even years depending on how much time you put into it. Yet, even if you manage to build a sizable list, how do you know how many of them will actually back your campaign?

Unfortunately, the answer is: You simply don’t know.

Ultimately, the success or failure of your project is largely determined by not just how many people on your list, but rather how many people who would buy your game are on your list. This is critically important because raw numbers isn’t everything and you can easily invest enormous amounts of time, effort, and money into building a list of 10,000+ people and still fail to get your project funded.

This is where Meepify comes in.

Simply put, Meepify is a data-driven social network dedicated to tabletop games and focused on discovery. It’s a free-to-use service that lets players track their game collection, log game plays, and do price checks.

Most importantly for creators, Meepify organizes information using timelines and will automatically match games with people who are likely to enjoy them. For example, when you add your new game into Meepify, it will automatically show up on the timelines of people who may be interested in your game based on their preferences. So if your game shares similar mechanics as Azul and someone likes playing Azul, your game will show up higher on their timelines compared to other games that they have no interest in.

Meepify provides effective and social ways for you to interact with players with established interest in games similar to yours so you can pique their interest, encourage them to follow along, and hopefully convert them into loyal fans and customers for life without having to first wade through tens of thousands of people who have little to no interest in what you offer. Meepify provides this data to creators to help them determine the level of genuine interest in their game.

Meepify also uses information to match players to games and/or game developers in various ways. For example, Meepify can tell you whether someone prefers games that take shorter or longer time to play, whether they like games that are simple or complex, and/or uses certain mechanics over others. It can even figure out what price range someone typically spends on a game, how long they keep games for, how much they enjoy the game when they do play it, etc.

Best of all, progress never gets lost so as players track their collections, log game plays, and check prices the matching algorithm will learn and provide ever-greater levels of feedback and targeting accuracy over time for every project.

The development of Meepify is well-underway and has been since June 2019. It’s even been in use for GameBooster, a Facebook community for board games, since August 2019. Now that we know an effective and proven way to build and grow a social network around board games in general, the project will soon make its transition into beta development where we will focus on the needs of individual game developers while continuing to tweak the algorithms to make data and content more relevant for everyone.

If you’d like to be a part of this project, please send an email to support@meepletimes.com and we will reply back with information on how you can participate in the small focus group.

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Huge thanks to Gary for taking the time to share this! The puzzle of finding, engaging, and sizing up fans (and even just playtesters) is one that continues to confound all types of creators, and I applaud Meepify for providing a potential solution to that puzzle.

Feel free to ask Gary questions in the comments below or share your thoughts on what he’s trying to accomplish with Meepify.

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5 Comments on “Meepify, Matchmaking, and Knowing the Size of Your Audience

  1. It all reminds me very much of the mobile app process with regards to discovery of your app from the darkest corners of the google search engine.

    The only key is an undisclosed algorithm which appears to expect an already successful user base based on positive reviews. Here is the issue. How do you garner any kind of feedback when you are undiscovered. Regarding board games; you can have all the information on the table; you can match up familiar mechanisms. But the truth is if you are an unknown designer with a relatively low key producer no one will ever know if you can make good games. I would like to see a digital type Kickstarter.
    I’m not sure what’s out there to be honest. But Would love to see software to create a possible streamlined version of your vision to be play tested digitally. Once it gets the required positive votes or funds it then goes into physical production.

    1. You bring up a good point about first-time designer challenges. Jamey actually addressed this in a separate post, but I’ll share my thoughts from my perspective and how Meepify will address challenges that first-timers face.

      The board game industry is what I call an “analog” industry in that not much is digitized. Sure, everyone from manufacturing to publishing to distribution and finally to retail use technology to help them run their businesses, but there’s nothing when it comes to marketing. So even though you will get lots of opinions from people on what has worked for them in the past, the fact is your mileage will vary because everybody’s games and circumstances are different.

      But even if you survive information overload and somehow manage to decipher the best path forward, you STILL have to do the legwork literally from zero.

      This is why our work on Meepify will be so important.

      By collecting game play data, user moods, analyzing reviews (and eventually recommendations), buying habits, etc we can match gamers to games much more accurately than ever before (and certainly way more than having no data at all). This can save everybody in this industry, including you and even Jamey, a lot of time, effort, and money when there is a resource that captures, sorts, and presents marketing data in an useful way.

      Nothing will ever eliminate you having to do the legwork of designing your game, engaging with your fans, and running your Kickstarter campaigns. However, what Meepify can do is 1) greatly reduce the effort/resources needed to get started, 2) improve on that service by improving targeting accuracy over time, and 3) make it open and accessible so everybody – both gamers and creators – can benefit from these services.

      1. Thanks for your comprehensive reply. It does sound really interesting purely from finding game types that I enjoy. We are all guilty of following proven names and games that chart highly. If this contributes to the discovery of new talent, helps me promote my own games and improves the overall search of new content then I’m on board. I think the biggest challenge would to get Meepify as THE go to social distributor of board gaming data. Getting links into numerous gaming communities is obviously key. Data always suffer in a competitive nature of any industry. On one hand we need centralised data to get the best results. But if another company pops up offering a similar thing will only dilute the experience. Hopefully you get a lot big sites on board early and it’s a success.

  2. Thanks Jamey for sharing this with the designer/publishing community! We’ve already received several inquiries and will be reaching out individually with more information. We’re setting something up to help us track communication better, and will include that here as well as correspondence with those who has reached out.

    But in the meantime, please feel free to drop comments/questions here and I’ll answer them as best I can.

  3. This sounds really interesting and I’m happy to hear about efforts like these. Like most board gamers, I love BGG for a lot of reasons – it’s a tremendous resource and a great place to connect! Yet, as someone who has a lot of experience designing and building complex, cutting-edge digital platforms I’ve also been a bit frustrated by the relative lack of innovation of BGG over the years. It has always felt to me that its wealth of data could be better leveraged to provide an improved user experience, other tools and insights to its community. So bravo to anyone brave enough to forge that path with a new online presence. I’ll certainly keep a close eye on this!

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