I’m one of those people that give artists and programmers nightmares.
I’m the guy censoring all the amazing things you want to share with the world.
I’m the reason you wake up late at night with chills looking like you just ran 10 miles in the pouring rain.
You wake up gasping “oh no!” as the image of your inbox receiving a new mail with the title “meeting at 2 p.m.” slowly fades in your mind. Your heartbeat slows down as you realize it was just a dream.
Now you’re free. Now you’re in control.
Now you’re indie.
Now you don’t need a deadline, a marketing plan or a business strategy. You’re free, right?
Wrong, if you think the above is true you simply justify this posts headline.
What being indie means more than anything, is that you just got a huge amount of extra responsibility. If you work on your own and are single with no kids, then congratulations. You can only hurt yourself.
If on the other hand you got a wife and maybe even a kid (or 2), then your selfish, ignorant, childish way of thinking, will hurt a lot more lives than your own. You’re in business whether you like it or not.
Maybe you have gone indie with some programming and art buddies. Well guess what, that only means you need to make even more money from your game(s), and if you fail it will not only affect your family, but your team members families too.
You shouldn’t be happy about having gotten rid of a boss that kick your butt whenever you slack, or praise there ain’t a guy from marketing telling you what will help the game sell better. Because now, you have to kick your own butt. You have to consider who will want to play your game and how will you profit from it.
What platform(s) will your game be on? If you aim solely for the apple app store then once again you justify this posts headline. Putting all your eggs in one basket have never been a great idea.
There are exceptions to the rule. The apple app store is a crowded and highly competitive marketplace, you’ll have to fight for a little ray of spotlight. On the other hand, the PSN store is a lot less crowded and generally get a lot more coverage from the media. So why again where you going exclusively for the apple app store?
Marketing and business is all about FACTS. Ignoring the two things that have been used for decades to generate income, is something only a moron would do. Yet, so many indies continues to rely on luck. “Maybe i’ll get lucky and my game will take off”, “My game didn’t sell so well, so i guess i’ll have to try and make a new one”.
Do you think Coca-cola give up when they create a new product and it doesn’t do well right off the bat? They try and find a new way to market the product. Try targeting other demographics. They don’t just spend a million bucks on creating Coca-Cola Orange and give up when people keep drinking orange juice instead of buying their new offering.
The great thing about games, is once you have developed a game, you can sell as many copies as you want, without it costs you a dime. You don’t have to manufacture anything or buy inventory. All you have to do is try to sell your product, to as many people you possibly can.
You have a marketing budget right? Oh you don’t? Twitter and facebook is going to do all the marketing for you?
Unless you’re still waiting for the letter from Hogwarts, i suggest you start treating your business as a business.
What can indies do that major corporations can’t?
Go after small niche markets. Make political, offensive, crazy and experimental games.
Indie games don’t have to be easy, just ask the guys behind Super Meat Boy.
Instead use your creative freedom and find the market that you’re passionate about. Maybe you love super hard platformers. Maybe you love to build emotion trough simple stories or love designing games where the gameplay is the story.
Find your niche. Don’t just aimlessly walk into the party hoping you might get lucky that night. Do your homework. It’s your future, you have already taken a gamble. Now do everything you can that gamble pays off. Staying up late to program some amazing algorithm isn’t a bad idea, but if you completely ignore the business and marketing side, then you ain’t treating your indie adventure as the business it is.
If your aim is merely to break even. If you just want to be able to “get by” doing your thing. Then you aren’t treating this as a business. Maybe you think i’m just a loud mouthed kid who’s extremely selfish and love making money to blow off.
Then let me ask you this: Is it a bad thing to make enough money to not only create your next game, but being able to afford hiring a new person for your company?
Is it a bad thing that one more person now get to live his/her dream, making games, because you did your homework?
I wrote this article the same day it had to be published, so i figured i’d give everybody a small taste of what is to come.
Frankly if you’re an indie, the odds are against you. You will fail, is what the statistics say.
God help me but i love you, even though chances are you’re a moron seen from a business perspective.
All my next posts will be informational. How we can change those statistics. How you can raise your chance of success.
I wont write your marketing plan, neither will i hold your hand and tell you “everything will be ok”.
I’ll kick you off a cliff and yell to you instructions on how to fly. You can choose to use what i say or simply ignore it.
My hope however, is some of you will benefit from what i have to write and prove this posts headline wrong.
[Warning: This post may be offens... oh you already read it? Bummer]
Any grammatical errors, misspellings and so forth. I blame on my non-english background, cause i’m patriotic like that.