There is no doubt a great game can come from a smaller developer, a company with focus and a limited budget. Just recently The Binding of Issac slapped people in the faces with awesomeness. There have been others too, Limbo, Super Meat Boy and a host of others. These smaller and cheaper games rock. But why do so many indie games struggle to gain fans and attention? Here is our QOTW: Why to Indie games generally have such a hard time in the industry?
Adam: The sad but true reality of the gaming industry and life is that money matters. Development teams with big budgets can hire a huge team of programmers and designers to create a big and stunning game. Smaller teams are limited in what they can do, and by time and money constraints more so than a “fully funded” studio.
And along the lines of money, promotions…While a smaller indie game may rock, do they have a few million dollars to advertise their game? At $10 or $20 a pop could they recover that money even if they sold a million copies? It’s tough for the small guy, thankfully many gamers recognize a gem when they find one, and when an indie developer really delivers to what gamers want, they’ve struck gold. I’ve made it a personal goal of mine (gaming goal) this year to try more indie games than ever before, and so far I’m pleased with what’s out there.
Joe: Because the consumers are usually stuck on the same game series and dont look anywhere else or experiment with fresh titles and the indie companies usually dont have a big enough budget to produce the same quality product as the big million dollar companies like EA so the indie companies usually focus on other things to make there game good and not fail. Not to mention indie games dont have big enough budgets to run big promotions on there products so there not even known by the majority of gamers and go unseen forever.
Kyle: In a market that is saturated with so many games, it’s hardly a suprise that indie games have a hard time getting some turn around. Of course, you have all heard of many big indie games that have made big money, Minecraft and Torchlight to name but a few.
However, you must remember the actual amount of indie games that get released. It is probably a few EVERY DAY, out of those. I would say that not even 1% make a considerable turnover.
The reason for this is because of the amount of time that a good Indie game takes to make. Heres the process: Indie developer gets good idea, assembles team, makes game. Sounds simple right?
Well no, it isn’t actually. Even though thye have this idea, due to the often small teams that develop indie games (between 1 and 5 people), it can take years for the idea to come anywhere near release. By this time, the big studios have probably stole your idea from your blog and knocked you out of the water with their degree level artists and computer science graduates.
It is all about getting a really unique idea and getting it out as soon as possible without comprimising quality. How many gamkes do you know that are like Minecraft? None!