The Great Challenge of the Indie Video Game (I)
To paraphrase Forrest Gump’s phrase but apply it to the world of video games, “The industry is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you might find.” This phrase has a positive application on the side of the opportunities that the industry creates cyclically can, as it seems that opportunities are running out; but it also has a negative side, since it represents an unknown variable for a video gamer who is never sure of what he will find at the end of the development process of his work, and today more than ever On the other hand, perhaps there is no one who has this Box of chocolates opens.
The big challenge today is not to make a video game because with the continuous democratization over the last 4 or 5 years anyone with access to the internet and a computer can create a video game from the comfort of their own home. . . Such is this possibility that it is not uncommon to see video games in digital stores straight from the hand of a creator eager to get on the fast track and who directly uses the result of applying a tutorial to create the result of him learn directly upload shop.
Copies aside, there have never been so many small developers who wanted to fulfill their dream of making a video game and uploading it to one of dozens of digital stores, hoping to become the next big creator, the next big rocker in an industry their great creators are deified.
In that regard, I think the motivation of the developers is different than what’s talked about in a lot of video game talk, that a lot of game developers are trying their luck through a fast-paced video game that emulates instant hits (or at least that’s what they think). by Rovio or Flappy Bird to achieve the same economic results. I think that what the video game creator is really looking for is some fame and recognition for his creative abilities.
The result is a large number of developments – most of them of medium or zero quality – that make it very difficult to find good video games and as a direct result many video game studios die without having found the success they want and go as posthumous Homage to a video game that is no longer updated and that, like a prehistoric fossil, will mark one of the milestones of an industry in constant flux.
The reality of video game production and promotion has changed a lot in recent years, where we have gone from absolute secrecy, so as not to disturb publishers’ perfect marketing campaigns, to continuous publication of material, in order to obtain continuous user consent communities. , in an attempt to get the much-needed community that can give the game the sales boost we need when it launches.
But what’s the best? Self-publishing, the so-called self-publishing or the classic editing of video game publishers? An interesting question that requires a deeper analysis of the current situation of the industry and determines the possibilities of reaching the market for independent creators.
For several years, the industry has lived hostage to a way of developing video games based on risk minimization and profit maximization, fleeing more innovative and differentiated titles towards repetitive titles with winning formulas, or from films or sports licenses whose results seemed more certain. This situation created an environment of constant criticism of the industry from the community of gamers and journalists, leading several developers to decide to create smaller video games, easier to create and self-finance, but with creativity and originality above average Videos are games from back then.
At the same time, smartphones fully entered the video game market around 2006, bringing easier access to these platforms, easier self-release and therefore new models to make the process viable. which immediately attracted creators. More than once, when there are few, it is easier to stand out and generate profitability.
To take advantage of this wave, many tools are being developed that allow easier and more portable development of video games created to take advantage of the proliferation of download platforms. This opening up led to a greater influx of developers, drawn by this easier access to new tools that were also easier to use. The boom in games and apps and the desire to be discovered amidst an incipient large number of applications has led some developers to drastically reduce prices in order to differentiate themselves, even offering them as a means of differentiation, promoting other titles or for free Maximize advertising revenue. But when only a few do them, the model works, but it quickly leads to a system of applications at a very low price or free, which complicates the appearance of the first freemium apps that, in the case of video games, come from the MMO with Item Economy and micropayments from the PC world, and imported from Asian countries.
In the same period, the financial crisis, the first symptoms of which appeared in 2007, created a serious funding problem for publishers who, in order to operate naturally on the physical market, required large amounts of money, which they generally raised based on the guarantees of those produced copies. As financial firms start to turn off the taps and at the same time the physical market begins to shrink due to the increase in digital sales, the combination of the two variables creates a veritable hecatomb of publishers and subsequent development studies.
If the problem was already complicated, the problem is compounded by the fact that developers who are unemployed are beginning to create development studios for video games for mobile phones, increasing the flow of video games to stores and further complicating the process of their discovery .
We are then in a very strange situation today because on the one hand it is becoming easier to make video games, we have more players looking for new gaming experiences and we have a greater number of platforms on which we can distribute the video game, but at the same time, we encountered brutal difficulties in publicizing the project and hope to recover the investments and efforts spent on it.
In the second part of this article we will see the advantages and disadvantages of being independent or publisher and the different options available to developers to carry out the publication of their video game.