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What's in a name?

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What's in a name?

Postby CommanderData » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:02 pm

Well, in the iPhone and iPod Touch developer's world the name is very important. Since visibility in the App Store is poor unless you are in one of the top 100 lists or featured by Apple, you have little choice but to fall back on searches for people to find you randomly. Apple has implemented a keyword field where you can put 100 CHARACTERS worth of words, or roughly 14 words of 6 charcters each, with commas separating them counting towards the total.

The name of your App is searchable as well, giving you extra keywords for free if you give yourself a good descriptive name. Which means longer game titles (abbreviated for the iPhone screen) work to the developer's advantage. Also, if your name has elements that are parts of other game names, you can see a small boost. For example, when the game "Rogue Planet" came out last year, searches for it also listed "Rogue Touch" since I was already in the store! That means people who missed me earlier in the year got an extra chance to find out about RT, and hence a few extra sales a day occurred for a while :D

Where's this heading? Well, I had chosen the working title "Fatal Fantasy: Spirit Hunter Mineko", partly as a friendly jab at Final Fantasy, and partly because I could make the name fit the story better than "Final Fantasy" fits a game series that never seems to finalize... they're on #13 now right? I envision a trilogy of games myself, so having a common binder name helps :mrgreen:

Well, I doubt that my working name would have been a problem before the announcements this week of Final Fantasy I and II coming to the iPhone. With them bringing the series in, things would be interesting for a while and I'd see some boost in sales due to searches grouping me in with them. However, it could be considered too similar to their trademarked name and I could end up looking at a takedown notice from them and Apple. Only in theory of course, but there is precedent being set for this activity in the App Store. This probably would never happen unless FFSHM actually became popular and hung out in the top RPGs for a long time. A guy can dream ;)

So what's a poor little indie dev to do? Carry on with the name that's kind of grown into the project and vice-versa, or worry about what *might* happen... then try to come up with something that wouldn't raise the ire of Square-Enix someday? I could easily trim "Fatal Fantasy" from the name and keep the rest intact, but as I said the trilogy would need some sort of common name to bind them together.

Curious to see if anyone has some thoughts on this matter they'd like to share :ugeek:

PS- I know I should probably start a blog for this sort of talk, but I guess I'm old fashioned... I like these forums!
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Re: What's in a name?

Postby Nighthawk » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:53 pm

I'd stick with your current name unless suggested otherwise by counsel (you do have some kind of legal counsel, right?). Additionally, you could give Square's US Headquarters a shout, just to get a feel for their thoughts.
Last edited by Nighthawk on Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's in a name?

Postby CommanderData » Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:33 pm

Nighthawk wrote:I'd stick with you're current name unless suggested otherwise by counsel (you do have some kind of legal counsel, right?). Additionally, you could give Square's US Headquarters a shout, just to get a feel for their thoughts.


Well, I've been doing all my own homework so to speak, checking for existing trademarks and so on.

In the process of research I did find out something quite interesting, a "Beholder" (the monster) is a trademark/copyright of Wizards of the Coast (formerly of TSR) and is vigorously protected by them. You cannot legally have a Beholder in your game as is. However, there is no reason why I cannot have an "Evil Eye" ;)

I think the only reason you see Beholders in open source projects is that there's no money for them to chase so they don't bother suing. Perhaps the same will be true of my game :P

Either way, consulting a lawyer before making the final decision is sound advice.
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Re: What's in a name?

Postby JonathanCR » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:07 am

Personally I thought that the "Fatal Fantasy" name was just too similar to Final Fantasy when I first saw it announced here, irrespective of any potential clashes with iThing Final Fantasy games. I think it gives the impression that the game is going to be a dodgy rip-off of that series, and I think that that would put just as many people off as would be attracted by its prominence in searches. I'd just come up with a different name.
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Re: What's in a name?

Postby CommanderData » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:56 am

JonathanCR wrote:Personally I thought that the "Fatal Fantasy" name was just too similar to Final Fantasy when I first saw it announced here, irrespective of any potential clashes with iThing Final Fantasy games. I think it gives the impression that the game is going to be a dodgy rip-off of that series, and I think that that would put just as many people off as would be attracted by its prominence in searches. I'd just come up with a different name.


Yeah, overall I can agree with what you're saying. It was a tongue-in-cheek swipe at Final Fantasy, with some deeper meaning to the storyline. But it is treading on thin ice from a trademark standpoint, and could put some people off.

The issue remains on finding a suitable arc-name, maybe I shouldn't be worrying about that until the first one has met with some success... but I really have a trilogy planned out and would like there to be name-recognition between games :mrgreen:

I'll come up with something good :ugeek:
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Re: What's in a name?

Postby CommanderData » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:31 pm

Recently I've come up with a plan for naming each game in the series... Rather than using the joke "Fatal Fantasy" for the arc name, I'm going to use the subtext from the original title as the new arc! So this first game will be known as "Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach"... I already have a title planned for the sequel as well, but won't get ahead of myself here :D

More details coming shortly in another thread! :mrgreen:
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