So a fair section of the local indie development scene still hates me for reasons that aren’t crystal clear, but they seem to be related to my definition of a thriving industry and how some of them are making money.
So instead of continuing this fruitless argument over twitter I thought we could try have a discussion with everyone in the comments section where you can write a solid response to questions posited below.
I’ll start with my definition of what an indie developer is compared to a hobbyist and what I class as a successful indie developer. We have quite a large and very active indie development scene locally with some titles making international waves, such as Desktop Dungeons, Broforce and Snailboy.
Hobbyist or Indie Developer
Now I wouldn’t classify any of these developers as hobbyists as each one has games as their main business, as far as I know. However there is a distinct difference in the business practice of the three.
Snailboy has gone the mainstream route of developing a game and releasing it onto the iStore within a year to start earning income. Broforce has gone the route of Steam Greenlight to gain their income and Desktop Dungeons went the route of early pre-orders with the promise of beta access and the game at a discounted price when it is released.
All three are valid business models but in my personal opinion I see pre-orders as different from crowd-funding and when something is pre-ordered there is an expectation that the game will be delivered in a reasonable time, which is different from say, Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Desktop Dungeons has now been in development for coming on 4 years now and quite understandably, some people are getting a little upset about its extended development.
Hobbyists on the other hand have day jobs and are creating games in their spare time either as a dream to go full time or just for fun. Either way it won’t make or break them so they have a lot more freedom. I’m not naming any of the prolific hobbyists in case someone else get’s their panties/boxers twisted.
When are you successful?
I mentioned the other day that Snailboy may be the first locally made game that breaks out internationally and I was then shot down by many people on twitter as many local games have been released worldwide already and dammit, how could I say something that.
My classification of “successful” and “breaking out internationally” is when the average gaming fan knows the name of your studio and/or the game it made. They don’t know where you are or what your company is made of but if I were to say “Rovio.” “Epic,” “Mojang” or “Zynga” most people know it.
If I say “Angry Birds,” “Gears of War,” Minecraft or Farmville then everyone knows what I’m talking about. That to me is breaking out internationally.
Does this mean the guys making a decent living out of indie games aren’t successful? No it just simply clarifies what I meant.
So now the questions I have for you are simply:
- Is it fair to say people like QCF (Desktop Dungeons) have taken too long on their game and must now release it?
- Is there a time limit that we can reasonably expect an indie game by a non-hobbyist can take?
- What makes a successful indie in your eyes?
And a freebie to help our research (and see if t aligns with what we already have); Who are the top indie developers in the country and why?
Last Updated: October 3, 2013