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Shrapnel Games Takes its Marketing Campaign to the Web

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CARY — Computer games continue to grow in popularity, but getting games into stores and selling them successfully is not easy.

A new Cary game company is turning to the Internet to market its games and those of other game makers.

There are massive communities for "shooter" type gamers and much smaller groups for other types.Shrapnel Gameshopes to corner that market.

Shrapnel does not have big money, but it does have the Internet. That is where its games are developed and will be sold.

"101: The Airborne Invasion of Normandy" is a strategy war game. It is aimed at serious gamers and was developed by Tim Brooks of Cary.

Brooks struggled to sell the game to retail stores, so he is moving to the Internet.

"It cuts down on your overhead, and you can put more money into developing games and finding other games and putting them into the marketplace," said Brooks.

Shrapnel is a virtual company with 17 people working around the country on the Internet. Brooks wants to help other small operations sell their games, too.

"Most of the people are working at night, at home. They have a day job, but they're putting out some good products, and we will be publishing those products," explained Brooks.

Military strategy games based on historic events demand accuracy and lots of work.

"You get to see all these things actually take shape, and then you get to see the people around the world who e-mail you going, 'We like what you did,'" said game researcher Alan Grady.

The company's Web site is active. You will be able to shop there next month. Bypassing the retail chain means games will be mailed directly to buyers.

"Because we're not selling to the retail stores, we don't need the fancy packages. What we're giving people through Internet sales is the manual and the CD," said Brooks.

Two games that are being developed by other game makers will be published by Shrapnel Games.

Brooks is working on another military strategy game. This one features Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division and its role in the invasion of Normandy.