The end of indie?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by hippocoder, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. hippocoder

    Indie Author

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    Portals have dedicated teams that can clone your game within a couple of months. This means they never need to actually take your game, and if they did, they'd replace it with their own brand if it sold well.

    Take supermarkets: first they take popular items then gradually replace the popular items with own-brand stuff, and slowly remove the originals. This irked me no end as I could see it happening to stuff I liked.

    Well, we can't fight this. I don't see any way I can make enough revenue to compete with portals.
     
  2. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    This has happened throughout the history of video games. Yet development companies still survive.
     
  3. Jamie W

    Original Member Indie Author

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    While I think most of you guys (and ladies) here are awesome, for making this indie malarky 'work' for you; I do think things are looking a bit grim, and they're getting grimmer by the minute.

    For me personally, when I consider the sheer amount of time and energy and all I put in to the development of my game (it has been *intense*); I gave it everything. But when I think how poor the returns are; it sucks. Well, no; it's not that it sucks; nothing ever really sucks, it's just how it is ... but:

    You get the feeling that it's like running round and round on a little hamster wheel, and no matter how much skill, ability, know-how and creative geninus you have, it all adds up to nothing, and you're running like crazy to stand still.

    Then I've just seen James May (Top Gear if you're in the UK) on TV, jetting about in some top of the line, jet fighter (Eurofighter I think); having the most amazing experience ever; and probably getting paid wads and wads of cash for doing so.

    Clearly, there's something not right here, and I think they mind set of work hard(er) and be great at what you do and give it your all and it will all work out ... is a big far lie.

    I've always been a great believer, in following your heart and it will all come good, kinda like a faith in life itself. But when you keep doing what you've been doing and it's not working anymore; you need to change.

    Time to get off the hamster wheel ... and that's a good thing.
     
  4. siread

    Original Member

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    To suggest that indies will die out implies that there is a limit to imagination. Sure there are clones of clones but there are always new game ideas. Sure there are more and more indie games of professional quality but the tools we use are improving all the time allowing us to stay within touching distance of the pros. Sure the console companies have started their own download channels but that opens opportunities for us to reach out to a bigger audience.

    Jamie, Qwak is a really nice game. Don't get disheartened if this is your first foray into publishing your own games. I didn't go full-time until New Star Soccer 3 (my 6th game).
     
  5. PlayMGE

    PlayMGE New Member

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    Indies can compete on programming and ideas, that's not the problem. The 2 areas where it's much harder to even the playfield, is marketing and media creation. But I am starting to notice an obvious "me too" look to alot of portal games. Obviously being done by the same teams. This only helps indie products in the long run. ;)
     
  6. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    To survive as an Indie, as in many businesses, you need to be at the top of your game. That's it. Plenty of Indies are doing fine but they are experienced and make the best games.
     
  7. puggy

    Original Member

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    There will always be indies, becuase there will always be people to develop games. Some do it for money, some do it for free.

    Those who do it for money seem to be finding it harder with clones being made and visual demands increasing. That dosn't mean good indie games arn't being released (kudos for example) but it is getting harder. This can be overcome by several things, spending money on contract work, banding together with several people (not always the ideal thing as it can create problems), taking a long time to make the game or using tools.

    I have to say the tools section is a bit lacking. For example a 3d modeling package is a tool, but i hate most of them, there all generic, aimed at those professional modelers. What i would like to see is specific 3d modeling tools. For example one geared for making characters for games. One geared to making buildings. Click and plug style making it easy for the modeling inept to make models.

    Game engines are another area, but a harder one to sort out. So most games need to do specific things and making engine to do everything is impossible. You could go the simple route and make a 3d engine or the harder route and make a total game engine. First one takes the programer ages because the game code has to be done, second makes a generic looking game like several others. I have do idea how to go about doing an inbetween version so i'm not going to bother trying unless you release the source code, but you don't make money that way (as in 10 days after release everyone will have access to the code).

    One big area most indies forget and could provide a much bigger marketing area is the language area, and i don't mean c++ or delphi. How many have though to add chinese, or russian, maybe a little language of love (french)? There are tools out there to translate english to other languages, i'm borrowing a friends work computer which has systrans on it and translating starpeace into 13 languages. Think of all the poor non english speaking people out there starved of decent games to play. You may only be able to sell the game for $1-2 to each chinese player, but it's still more sales to you and there are a lot of chinese people out there. It dosn't take long to translate a file and adding a little bit to the code to be able to use a txt file to get text dosn't take long.
     
  8. MerscomMan

    MerscomMan New Member

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    I don't see examples of this at all. The games the portals develop internally usually push the envelope, I haven't seen any of the major portals (Big Fish, Real, Reflexive or Oberon) put out generic clones. BFG created the Hidden Object genre and the Mystery Case Files games always seem to have the highest production values, not cheap clones from Somalia. Reflexive's titles like the Big Kahuna series, The Great Tree, etc., always seem to push the envelope. In my opinion, Oberon's Murder Mystery Club was the best casual game last year. So, I don't see how you can make the argument that the portals are using dedicated teams to create clones (though I will agree they are selling a lot of clones from indie developers on their sites).
     
  9. GolfHacker

    GolfHacker New Member

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    Agreed.

    In my case, when PopCap approached me about buying the rights to Fashion Cents a couple of years ago, and I turned them down, they didn't go out and clone my game. Granted PopCap is not a portal, but they do publish games by other developers and they have their own internal development team. I don't think they would have even bothered about cloning it - typically, clones never do as well as the originals, and it just makes the developer look like a me-too developer instead of an innovator.

    On the other hand, I have seen a lot of Bejewelled and Zuma clones from indie and non-indie developers...
     
  10. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Well, I would be surprised if you alone could make same REVENUE as a portal (a few millions $$$) :D
     
  11. dannthr

    dannthr New Member

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    The difference is that Technics OWNS Panasonic.

    You see, there are a LOT of companies that sell their products through proxy companies in order to tap into smaller, cheaper, more generic markets with the same tech without losing their rep; and there's companies that sell their stuff to distributors to put their own labels on.

    The grocery stores are a great example of that.
     
  12. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I wouldn't consider my year a total loss if I made only $500,000. Reflexive might.
     
  13. BIGZIPZ

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    I do feel bad for Jamie because I bought QWAK on the GBA last year, and have played the PC version of his game and it is GENUINELY a better game than the majority of the games on the Big Fish Games Top 10 in every genre.

    It frustrates me as an ex-EA employee that quirky games like QWAK which are fun to play, bomb because people want to play yet another match-3 and yet another hidden object game. How dull and depressing is this?

    Another example of a company / indie who has not had as much success as they deserve is Pi Eye Games. They have not released a SINGLE BAD GAME in the history of the company. Every single game is brilliant and better than anything in the Top 10's on any portal.

    I just feel so bad for the Jamie's and the Pi Eye's of this industry and slightly sick in my stomach when I go to the portals and see the crap that people are buying.
     
  14. BIGZIPZ

    Original Member

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    In fact, I am going to put my money where my mouth is right now and buy a copy of QWAK for the PC.

    Beats playing "Jewel Quest 3" I guess.
     
  15. princec

    Indie Author

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    Ahem. Betty's Beer Bar anyone?

    Cas :)
     
  16. MerscomMan

    MerscomMan New Member

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    That was developed by Mystery Studios, an indie company located in Uruguay.
     
  17. Cevo70

    Cevo70 New Member

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    I believe there are many people who have their heads on straight (call me an optimist) and and like any "indie" industry it's going to have it's frustrations.

    On the bright side, this community is constantly releasing shockingly good titles that break the mold.

    Making a true living (and a luxurious one at that) off making games is only for those who have found success and continue to. Others still have to get there. I believe that to be a normal situation.

    I do agree though that the portal issue is a serious one. But the more we can cross-support each other, play/purchase each others games, promote other games on our own site, etc - the happier we'll all be.

    There also seems to be a growth of awareness and more people dedicate themselves to reviewing and previewing indies and spreading the word.

    Just trying to see some of the bright side. :)
     
  18. aiursrage2k

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    Maybe specialize. I really liked Zombie Shooter, cant imagine a portal cloning it and being as good. Even if they do, they can just release zombie shooter2 which will be better anyways
     
  19. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    Well, I must say, Qwak looks like a great game to me. I haven't tried it out yet, as I'm on a Mac and rarely boot into Windows if I don't have to.

    Get the Mac version out, seriously! It'll boost your sales and visibility. Also keep in mind that it usually takes time to pull an audience to your brand. Remember, "it takes about 10 years to become an overnight success." But I must agree, that from my own experience, if you want money now, then you'll want to go work for someone else who's already spent the ten years or so becoming a success and can afford to hire you.
     
  20. stichintime

    stichintime New Member

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    Indie Experiment

    I think the key is to focus on marketing. Marketing like there is no tomorrow. Maybe for every 2 hours of making the game, 1 hour of marketing it. I don't know if that's realistic or would much fun, but maybe...that's what it takes.
     

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