Why doesn't anyone care about indie games? 5 reasons (Topic)

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Why doesn't anyone care about indie games? 5 reasons


Don't anyone need indie games? To be clear, indie games are cool. Of course, not all of them are good, a good half of the projects are generally rubbish that appears on the incentive. But let's be honest, this often happens with AAA projects and second-tier games. We're talking about the fact that cool indie projects often go unnoticed. We recently wrote a review of the excellent indie game Baba Is You. Alas, it is a good example of how the mass audience does not even pay attention to a good indie project.

One could say that: "no one cares about indie games", but it's a little more complicated. But why is this happening? This question was answered by Lewis Debney, head of a marketing agency dedicated to promoting indie games, including the likes of Dear Esther, Thomas Was Alone, Figment, and the Mor (Utopia) remake. He wrote a column for the Gamasutra website on the main challenges of promoting indie games.

The author claims that during his work on promoting more than 200 projects, he noticed similar problems that they suffer.

1. Unoriginal

Hundreds of titles are released monthly on Steam, and in most cases they are all interesting, well-made and well-developed projects. Most of them pass by the public. The whole problem is that today the market is so oversaturated that even for good projects the audience does not have enough physical attention. Gamers cannot capture the full volume of games that are emerging. In our reality, not a single gamer would think: "Damn, I wish there were even more indie platformers"

Why doesn't everyone care about indie games? 5 reasons

It's not enough to create a game in a popular genre [remember how many battle pianos are riveted today, and how they do not stand out from the crowd]. You can only do this to hone your development skills, but nothing more. Expecting the game to pay off is deceiving yourself. Only if your idea is innovative will the game burn out. It is the innovators who stand out from the indie crowd. If you can bring something new, you are 95% more likely to outrun your competitors and make money.

2. Unattractive view

This problem stems from the past. The oversaturation of the market has led to the fact that good projects are in stores at arm's length. Users are used to scrolling mindlessly on the App Store, Steam, or even Nintendo eShop, and only pay attention to what stands out visually.

If an indie game visually looks "average" - from the trailer to the logo and screenshots, then for the user this is a sign that he shouldn't even pay attention to it.

Why doesn't everyone care about indie games? 5 reasons

“The thing is,” says Lewis, “the most successful indie games today, almost without exception, are beautiful creations with a graceful art style, professional production values and strong marketing art direction.” It's high time for AAA game creators to say goodbye to the stereotype that indie means bad looks.

3. Little is said about the game

This is an obvious point, of course, you need to talk about your project to be heard about! However, many developers believe that it is enough to send a few letters to the editors of gaming publications with a request to cover the release of the game and unsubscribe about the project a couple of times a week on their twitter. You might as well do nothing at all.

Why doesn't everyone care about indie games? 5 reasons

In the marketing and gaming industry, there is such a thing as a "funnel". A huge number of people may know about your game, but only a few will buy it. Many young developers focus on only two ends of the funnel - the announcement and release - and do not work with the audience in the middle of this process.

It happens that many indie projects cannot recruit enough people into the funnel, so the project is bought by a few. In order for the game to be noticed, you need to shout about it at every corner. Work with several PR agencies at once, write about her “every damn hour”.

Why doesn't everyone care about indie games? 5 reasons

"After all, if you don't shout loudly about your project, then someone else will shout you down," the marketer writes.

4. The game is being told to the wrong people

Debney recalls a client who made a game for teenage boys. It seemed logical and reasonable to him to place her ad on sites and magazine pages popular among teenagers. In the end, this did not give any result. After talking to the audience later, he realized that they simply were not interested in the concept of the game.

Why doesn't everyone care about indie games? 5 reasons

Indie developers are trying to focus on the audience they think should be hooked on the project, not the audience that really likes the game. Therefore, developers do not know who will visit and who will not.

This is exactly the case with indie developers who are constantly trying to promote their pixel art games on IGN or Gamespot, but the readers of those sites just don't get into those games.

5. Wrong time

Lewis says he will regret what he said when he looks for clients during this period, but he will be honest: releasing his indie game from October to December is tantamount to defying fate.

It was during this period that the largest number of AAA projects were released, which ultimately compete for the title of the game of the year. At this time, the price of game advertising increases several times, and free advertising does not make any sense, because the entire information space is packed with blockbusters [for all my love for telling you about indie games, during this period it makes no sense - approx. translator]. Journalists and influencers won't even have a second to spend on your project.

Why doesn't everyone care about indie games? 5 reasons

Lewis ends with the following phrase “I'm not saying that during this period it is impossible to release a successful indie game, because there were more than once exceptions to the rules, but if the developers are going to do this, it is important for them to observe the other four points from this list, otherwise the fifth will there is a cross on everything. ”

The bottom line is that we better not wait for indie hits at the end of the year. Either way, the very best indie games will always be noticed. I hope ...

The Topic of Article: Why doesn't anyone care about indie games? 5 reasons.
Author: Jake Pinkman