Can you even measure success

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:

  1. Is it fair to say people like QCF (Desktop Dungeons) have taken too long on their game and must now release it?
  2. Is there a time limit that we can reasonably expect an indie game by a non-hobbyist can take?
  3. 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

was reviewed on PC

Check Also

Yakuza’s uncompromising vision is the key to its success in the west

Yakuza shouldn’t be as popular as it is today, when you compare it to the trends of the in…