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Never a Better Time to be an Indie! Awesome!! (or not?)

There’s perhaps never been a better time to be an indie–with crowdfunding resources, expanding channels, cross-platform tech and a welcoming audience of gamers. This brings an expanding quantity of game releases and challenges. Ideas for addressing this.

Never a Better Time to be an Indie! Awesome!! (or not?)

Is it possible to get my game noticed by the press?

As a marketer for companies and products of varying sizes for years, I’ve recently been shifting attention to the indie world.  Skills and strategies I’ve developed to market games for LucasArts and Telltale are equally relevant for indies – many of which don’t (and probably shouldn’t) have their own full time marketing staff.  Indies have lean team sizes, tightly focused on creating great content.

In conversations with PR and marketing colleagues, we’ve been inspired by truly groundbreaking and innovative ideas that have originated with upstart indies.  We also find it disappointing when a really good game comes out, but gets overlooked by the press. 

While we as marketers don’t create the standout content, we get gratification from helping to surface these ideas for new audiences.  Through our past work marketing large IP like Star Wars, Back to the Future and Pixar films; to enthusiast series like Sam & Max and Monkey Island; to new and emerging names like Pet Society and Puzzle Agent, we’ve developed outreach to get on the radar of key journalists.  Sure-fire guarantees can be difficult to come by.  That said, we have identified ways to put games in a better position to succeed, and have had a strong track record helping games break through the clutter.  Sharing this expertise with indie developers is a big part of a new event we’re working on called Indie Press Day. 

Indie Press Day is similar to the junkets that large publishers periodically organize to get journalists to cover their content.  We’ll see many of these in and around E3 next month, and at other times throughout the year.  For an indie focused event, we established a goal of bringing together a core of unique and emerging game concepts, and inviting the press to come experience all of these games in one place.  This leverages our experiences working with key press, while also providing a service to journalists in assembling this games showcase in a convenient location.

There’s perhaps never been a better time to be an indie game developer – with crowdfunding resources such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, expanding distribution channels for self-publishing, cross-platform tech like Unity and a welcoming audience of gamers.  We’ve also found the collaborative environment in this community truly refreshing.  We’ve seen a ‘whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-parts’ approach in places like the Indie Megabooth at PAX, Humble Bundles and elsewhere that’s seemed to work well.

As the indie environment has been evolving, it’s becoming more and more difficult for teams at large game conglomerates to achieve innovation with their increasingly unwieldy approaches to development and skyrocketing budgets, leading to very risk averse publishing slates, sequelitis and declining originality. 

This has all contributed to an expanding number of indies and games.  The good news is that there are more and more ways for gamers to access and learn about them.  So, in answer to the ‘never been a better time to be an indie?’ – we believe the answer is an emphatic yes!  Viva la revolución!

Those interested in learning more about Indie Press Day can visit http://www.indiepressday.com

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