Monday, July 23, 2012

Dude, where's my boxed edition?

I talked a few months ago about my "ocean marketing" moments. Moments where I did something wrong, or something just WENT wrong, or in general things didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked. One of those moments has come to pass again, and as a cautionary - albeit a bit embarrassing - tale I have decided to blog about it.

When Resonance first went on sale, I offered a digital version and a physical boxed version. I've done the physical version thing before, but that was usually just a CD in a snap case. The process in making those was always quite simple, as I always use a local duplication service (called Landshark CD, who always do a really great job).  All I needed to do was give them the art for the disc and case, as well as a memory stick with all of the files on it. Then they would create a proof for me to take a look at, and once I gave the green light they would take care of the rest. A week later, they'd call me to tell me the job was finished and I could come pick it up. They are a ten minute subway ride away, so it was a simple matter to zip over there and bring back all the packages by taxi.

However, this time around we wanted to do something different. A snapcase was all well and good, but we wanted to make an actual BOXED EDITION. A box which contained the disc and a poster, all professionally done with nice art and everything. The hype behind Resonance seemed to call out for it. If we were going to do a boxed version, now was the time.  So I went ahead and struck a deal with a manufacturer called Coral Graphics who specializes in this kind of thing. They were recommended by people I know at TellTale, so I knew they would do a good job.

But... what I did not take into consideration was how painstakingly slow the process of making these boxed editions would be.  Every piece of it has to go through an approval process, and Coral Graphics was located several states away. No longer could I just hop on the subway to take a look at the proof. It had to be mailed to me, and I would have to mail it back with my approval or rejection. If I didn't like it, they would redo it and send it back.

The disc alone took three weeks to get approved, since for some reason we weren't burning the data in the correct way. When I asked what the correct way was, we were told "We just duplicate the disc. We don't create it." While it would have been easy to get annoyed at them, the truth is they were used to dealing with much bigger companies than mine. Companies which usually have a whole department dealing with this kind of thing. In any case, a few tries later we got the data burning process right and the disc was approved. The poster was sent to us for approval, and it was much too dark. So that was sent back and we received another one, which was fine. That was another week lost. Then there's finding a warehouse to handle all the shipping, which is another logistical process that I had to learn about as I went.

The end result? It's been a month since the game was launched and the boxes are only JUST starting to be made. And if you ordered the box during the pre-order phase, you have been waiting almost two months for your box to arrive. For this, I can only say I'm sorry.

However, I promise - your boxes are coming. I have seen an early-production sample and it looks AWESOME. They just... are taking a lot longer to produce and ship than I thought they would.

An early production proof, propped up by coffee.

I have never done anything quite like this before. I should have done more research and determined how long this would actually take, and again - for that I can only apologize. Rest assured I will let you know as soon as the boxed editions are produced and ready to ship. And I will also be sure to start the process much earlier next time.