Some Questions about the YoYo Games Homepage

on March 4, 2010 - 9138 Views

I don’t think that the potentially lucrative space on the YoYoGames.com homepage is being put to its best use.  There is limited real-estate on the index page of what is a popular gaming site so surely it should be continually updated with fresh new content to entice people to play different games, discover Game Maker or get involved with the community.

There have been very few changes to the YoYo Games homepage since the launch of the site back in 2007 (see screenshots at the end of post). First things first – I am glad to see the cheesy 1990s marquee has gone, but there are still several features that make me ask ‘why?’.

  1. Why isn’t the Game Maker logo on the homepage?  Does the casual site user know what “GM 8.0” is and why they should download it?  Sales of Game Maker account for 90% of YoYo Games’ revenue and more users will result in more quality games which can be uploaded to the site.
  2. Why is so much space given over to news that is often more than a month old?
  3. Who decided that puzzle and shooter games deserve more attention than platform and arcade games?  Arcade games are both more child-friendly and outnumber the ‘shooters’ category both in the number of games on the site and the number of featured games.
  4. Why do the most popular games continue to get so much exposure?  Sure they can be listed somewhere but this space could be better used to highlight more recent creations.  I think this makes the site look stale.
  5. Why do the spotlight games have numbers?  (Just visual).  Also why only 2 lines of descriptive text?  Far more words are given to the blog posts (see 2).
  6. Why is space given to listing a games author rather than a  description or larger screenshot?  Who made a game really won’t be of interest to the casual browser.

YoYoGames.com homepage over time:
[nggallery id=6]

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15 Responses to Some Questions about the YoYo Games Homepage

  1. […] Thankfully an admission that the whole homepage needs a redesign […]

  2. ev149 says:

    I would pay them to have me redesign their site. There is so much potential for it, right now it’s just cluttered and messy.

  3. RobF says:

    Israel RN :

    Philip Gamble :
    “the original purpose of Game Maker was to introduce children to programming.”

    That’s right, but that was 11 years ago…

    …and now all the children are dead 🙁

    Seriously. What?

  4. Israel RN says:

    Philip Gamble :
    “the original purpose of Game Maker was to introduce children to programming.”

    That’s right, but that was 11 years ago… Now, the free version does this more than well. You can still use GM lite to teach programming to children, and you can also use it to make terrific games. I think that most of the Pro users like us purchase GM mainly for the following reasons (in this order):

    1.To support the development of such a great software.
    2.To be able to use some of the pro features.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I do believe, just like Sondar said, that supporting the development is one of the main reasons to pay for it, and thus, we wouldn’t mind a price increase at all.

    Teaching children how to program is good, but if they really want GM to evolve and to get the recognition it deserves, they have to change a lot of what they’re doing.

    Pushing so much into the concept of “The YouTube of Videogames” is just following the “social web rush” stupidly… Most of the YouTube’s videos are either crap, silly, or superfluous because only a few people have the experience, time and willingness to produce good video content. The VERY SAME is happening to YoYoGames site… they are also completely missing the 90-9-1 principle here.

    I’m not saying they should delete crappy or poorly produced games at all… But they should certainly promote the best games made by the users to a much greater extent, they should follow how many games made with GM are entering to competitions and winning prizes.

    I’m older than most of GM users, and I’ve known GM since 8 years ago. And after YoYo Games came into the game, I expected a much more professional promotion of GM and its power. I still can’t believe that the best coverage GM games have is in this blog and not in the YoYoGames website, if I were “Zandy”, I would hire this blog’s staff to write reviews, articles and news for the official website.

    They should also support the development of well-made extensions and promote them in the website so the new visitors can see “Hey, this program has a free version, and also there are lots of extensions made by the users that can help you make better games with few to none programming knowledge!”. Joomla’s porpularity is due greatly to the huge ammount of all-sorts of extensions available: Drupal is better in many fields, but Joomla is easier, and you can install lots of extensions and have a website with forums, chats, tags, and all sorts of functionalities.

    All this being said, I find really dissapointing and even annoying to see that they keep making GM play the “software for kids” role… specially when those brats even complain about everything YoYoGames does: They want GM to be able to create games for the iPod and PSP and DSi, and XBox Live, and Wii Ware, and Macs and Linux and every single device, they want it 3D and shiny, they want it to make the games by itself… and yet, they won’t pay a single penny more, because mommy wouldn’t let them spend more that 25 bucks for their birthdays.

    How sad truth is, ain’t it?

  5. no0b says:

    So true, I hope someone from YYG staff will notice this submission and think of it

  6. Sondar says:

    I, and i’m sure the vast mjority of Pro customers, would not mind a price increase. For what GM can do it has an amazingly cheap price. However, a vocal minority would get very angry about this, so solve two problems with one blow:

    1. With GM 9, lets have a major update to Game maker and the yoyo games website. GM 8 had few new major features especially considering a proper company is running it now, not Mr Overmars.

    2. Increase the price of GM. It will better fund Yoyo games and with increased features the vast majority of GM users will pay more for it. Currently the price is $25 (which from what I remember when i upgraded was about £20). Increase this to £30 or $35. This is the price of a brand new game, and for that you get unlimited access to a fantastic game making toolkit. Any game you want to make you can! Unlimited access! It’s still a fantastic deal!

    Sondar

  7. Israel RN says:

    ———-
    – Stop faffing around trying to appease the 0.5% of people who have a Mac but can’t figure out how to run Windows on it (before long they’ll all be on GameSalad anyway)
    ———-

    Like if paying $99 or $1,999 bucks (Game Salad licenses) is nothing. I think there’s actually a good thing to have a GM 4 Mac. Your estimation on how many people have macs and don’t know how to run Windows on it makes no sense.

    Most of the people using a Mac is people that won’t install windows on it. They have already paid more money for a mac, why on earth would they want to install windows?

    It’s clear that you are not a Mac user, and thus know nothing about mac users.

    An inexpensive game development tool for Mac seems like a great idea for me… although I do agree with you about adding a little bit more and charging more than $25 for Game Maker.

    Game Maker is poweful, but at $25 there are too many children using it, and most of them will produce nothing but childish and poorly produced games, 99% of GM users make no justice to its capabilities.

    I’d add to the list that is just stupid to have most of the visible space devoted to ads. Why do they waste the space so mindlessly?

    They should fire the web designer responsible for so many mistakes. If yoyogames is not making enough money is greatly due to it’s poorly designed website. This very blog has more interesting news and coverage on GOOD GM GAMES than the yoyogames site!

    How is this possible?

    • “at $25 there are too many children using it” – the original purpose of Game Maker was to introduce children to programming.

      You make a good point about the ads though – if 90% of their income is from Game Maker upgrades surely it would be worth pushing this more on the site. If you go to download Game Maker the website hardly pushes the pro version at all.

  8. Coolist says:

    I think depending on the features a new license may be worth it, but the features would have to actually be worth it and not some little graphics update or something like that. Something like “Port to a mobile device” may actually be worth paying a little more for if it’s of good quality.

  9. tuntis says:

    I agree with what Facebook Indie Games is saying – I think that at least the front page should be more focused on attracting visitors on downloading and trying out Game Maker. They should take a look at something like Basecamp for an effective landing page.

  10. Caniac says:

    I strongly feel that they should not go the route of different licences. Two and only two licences please! NO “Master” version. especially not for $100.

  11. Exactly. There should be. YoYo Games doesn’t turn a profit, but they already have many customers who could afford to pay much more than $25 for a slightly improved product. Instead of investing in a premium edition for Windows users (as far as I know) they’re working on porting the $25 version to the Mac. Windows will still be the most popular PC OS for the next several years at least, so they’d be better focusing their effort on getting more money out of us Windows using Game Maker lovers.

  12. SunnyKatt says:

    I don’t believe there is such a thing as a master version…

  13. This infuriates me too.

    Frankly, there only needs to be the following content on the home page:

    ———

    Game Maker 8 is the easiest way to make games in Windows. You don’t need to program and it comes with a great built in tutorial. You will be creating games in no time.

    The apprentice version is free. Click here to download.
    The amateur version is $25. Click her fork out 25 bucks.
    The master version is $99. Click here to become a game making master!

    ——————–

    YoYo Games needs to:

    – Stop faffing around trying to appease the 0.5% of people who have a Mac but can’t figure out how to run Windows on it (before long they’ll all be on GameSalad anyway)
    – Focus all attention on getting more revenue out of its most committed users. There are ranks of people who’d happily pay more for Game Maker if it had a few significant but simple extra features.
    – Forget about becoming a game portal. Game Maker is a tool for making games… a game player doesn’t care what tool their games were made in. People who use game maker are curious to play other Game Maker games to see what’s possible, but that’s all.

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