“Necessity is the mother of invention” – Plato
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – Aristotle
“From small beginnings come great things” – Proverbs
Great wisdom perseveres and finds new relevance across the years. And the quotes above are inspirational and evident even with indie game marketing today!
Different ways of thinking -- recent examples
It has been exciting to see opportunities for indie game developers continuing to progress – with distribution opening up on the upcoming new console launches, ongoing bundle promos, and more. At the same time, there are also larger numbers of indie games now in the mix for these same reasons.
New ways of thinking about raising visibility for Indie games becomes increasingly important, which brings some of these great enduring quotes above to life in new ways.
One recent example: the Indie MEGABOOTH, started with fairly modest beginnings, and continues to grow in prominence and impact. The Indie MEGABOOTH began just a few short years ago at PAX East 2012 with 16 indie studios banding together. This past fall, the Indie MEGABOOTH grew to 5,400 square feet and over 80 games at PAX Prime Seattle – arguably one of the more interesting, popular and high energy areas at the show.
NotonSteam.com also popped recently, with indie developer Flippfly looking for ways to elevate its Race the Sun release post launch as the game strived to achieve the Greenlight threshold on Steam. Rather than lament about misfortunes that they couldn’t participate in Steam’s promotions, they launched their own – and helped to support more than 60 other indie games while doing it!
Finding new ways to bring great indie game showcases to gamers can provide another path to visibility. As awesome as the expos mentioned above can be, these come at single fixed times in the year, and many cannot attend due to capacity, proximity and other challenges.
With inspirations coming from Fantastic Arcade in Austin, Boston Festival of Independent Games, IndieCade, along with the Indie MEGABOOTH in Seattle, Australia, Boston, a group in the San Francisco area is working on a new showcase called Good Game Club. Open to the public for a low admission price ($6 through November 8, $8 after), this will bring together a broad range of indie games – from those with well known leads behind them, like Jane Jensen on Moebius – to those that are first time releases from new studios, like Full Bore, A Wizard’s Lizard and Mosaic Medley. Ultimately, the goal is to approach these kinds of showcases in ways that can get staged periodically throughout the year and in different locations for reaching gamers.
Another advance that would be great to see in the coming months, as we get to 2013 year end: indie game categories added to the Holiday Gift Guide and Game of the Year round ups that gaming websites publish in November/December. These highly creative and innovative indie games warrant additional recognition, and separate categories given the different economies and scale at which the indies operate (e.g. different team sizes, resources, budget levels)
Fundamentals and Beyond
For folks researching and pursuing tactics for getting their indie games noticed – core tactics such as PR, channel slots at Steam/App Stores, and promos continue to work well. With larger quantities of games pursuing these opportunities, new challenges emerge. For that reason, it’s excellent to see new initiatives like these develop. And it will be exciting to see more and more take shape as the category grows – originating from a variety of sources like the ones above!