Pocoman is addictive
by William Grosso
Related link: http://www.sleepless.com/pocoman/
One of the questions I occasionally wonder about is: how do new consumer software companies get started? From a technical point of view, the capabilities that Moore's law, modern operating systems and things like the Java Virtual Machine (or the Common Language Runtime) provide ought to make this the golden age of consumer software.
I think it's now easier for small groups of people to write, qa, and ship high-quality software than ever before. And yet it seems like, at least relative to what's possible, there aren't a lot of new companies being formed (or are there? Does anyone have any statistics or references for this?).
One possible reason is that marketing to consumers, the sheer act of rising above the noise level and getting people to notice your software (or getting your software into the right distribution channels) is both very hard and not the sort of thing that the people who found small software companies are likely to be good at.
The people at Sleepless Software decided to give away the game and then, once you're hooked, sell you a cheat sheet.
It's an interesting twist on selling the documentation or selling the support.
And the game is fun too.