Indie Game Market

So, I was wondering. If you actually get far enough to get your game on a digital marketplace, how do you determine an appropriate price to charge for it? Let’s consider the market in general. This is only based on my observations. There are plenty of triple A quality games on the marketplace that are going for 20 to 30 dollars. Granted they are older games that are 2 to 3 years old or older. However, even a triple A title that is 3 years old now will likely rival what an indie developer can put out. I mean, I bought Metal Gear Solid V for under 30 bucks somewhat recently. Even if you put out quality that could match the visuals and gameplay, the amount of gameplay you could offer is much less.

How is an indie developer supposed to compete with that? Well, naturally you might try putting your title up for under 20 dollars. If you are really desperate you might do less than 10. I’m just speculating of course. Where am I going with all of this you might wonder? Well, if indie developers charge less and less because of competition, what is that going to do for the indie market? Will it have a negative effect? Will it drive down the average price of an indie title, even though the game may be worth the full 20? If I ever get my game on a digital marketplace, would I be hurting other developers opportunities by lowering the price because of competition? This is all assuming the content in your game is worth the price to begin with. Lots of questions in there, but they are just to get my point across and stimulate some conversation on this. I’m curious of what people think.

What are your thoughts?

Then we end up with the same garbage that is mobile games. I really hope that never happens…

I think, you as a developer, have failed 100% and as a consumer, 100% there as well.
I’m going to point this out, and, let it sink in …

All you discussed was quality. the quality of the game. of course you are not going to do the same quality as a team of 100 people that have been doing their jobs for 30 years. As a dev. you have failed because you are only seeing quality as a selling point. As a consumer, you are also basing your allotted spendable moneys to quality. You know hats bad quality? Super Mario, Doom, Wolf3D, etc. Terrible. They look trash. You know what was super fun and still is?? All of those. You know what looks like trash but yet millions still play? World of Warcraft. You know what game is junk to look at, but, has 28 expansions and has outlived and out playerbased WOW? EverQuest.

Quality doesnt stand the test of time. Its like a persons age/outer beauty. Functionality and replayability and content … thats what you base it off of.

drops mic

also side note

you dont have 10 “smash hits” under your belt so you need to price low to pullppl in so they trust your works and such.
Lets say Blizzard just launched X game. Lets also say Blizzards first title. would you spend $59.99 on it? Im sure you wouldnt. Until you have a stable company name, your looking at like $19.99 prices, or lower.

Haha, that is awesome. Thanks for putting it so bluntly. You certainly make some good points that I did not consider. I have always put the emphases on quality of visuals and animations in my work. I find it hard to produce something otherwise. I guess I’m too much of a perfectionist, but those are the only kind of games I have always steered too as well. The latest and greatest in visual quality, like the Far Cry series, Uncharted etc. My own personal tastes aside; I started in game development mainly because it was fun. The idea of bringing your imagination to life on-screen is amazing to me. However, as much fun as it is, I’m most certainly in it for profit. Why not make money doing the thing you love right…

Here is my thought process:
Statistically graphics are the number one reason somebody chooses to a buy a game or not. Gameplay is the second reason. I actually read this on one of Epic’s blog posts (Marketing for Indies - Unreal Engine). So as a developer, why not try to take advantage of that put an emphases on visually quality. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the game play fun as well.

I would have to disagree with your comment that I have failed as a consumer. The consumer cannot “fail” because they have a preference. I am one of those consumers who is more likely to buy a game because of it’s high visual quality. Look at Anthem, that game looks amazing. I’ve already decided I want that game because of how it looks.

Sorry to tell you, but it’s exactly what’s going to happen on Steam too.
Before the next Olympic games happen, Steam users gonna have plenty of $1 and free games to choose from and the only way you’ll be able to make money is by designing games as a service + marketing investment + player retention investments + in-app transactions.
Most games will need 1~3 years of services provided before they see any significant revenue.
The old retail model that indies insist going into is going to break a lot of hearts and shatter many dreams, saved a small number of rare exceptions.

Just like the big companies, to compete in old retail model, indies need a very unique gem. An instantly identifiable hit that can be ported to Consoles and Mobile as well as Pc… Anything less than that and all you’ll get from Steam nowadays is money lost developing whatever game it is.

Gaming boss Tim Sweeney says Indie titles could be changing how major releases are made in the future.…games-are-made

Is this old news / new news / quasi-political-warning to corporate-studios etc…???

Very well said BrUnO, unfortunately many indies will learn the harsh way, what you are warning.

I assume you bought into No Mans Sky as well.
Thanks for not getting offended and flipping out, of course, i am blunt, but, dont take it personal.
There is a pretty big laundry list (as of late) of titles that have AAA failed due to “pretty with no content”. Pretty much, even AAA companies have taken to coating a pile of sh** with gold paint and the consumer eats it up. Destiny and No Mans Sky are perfect examples of this marketing ploy and the consumers failure to demand better.

“Shut up and take my money” without a single game play other then some scripted CGI is 100% the norm. Does that mean, you, as an indi dev, should follow that? The big kids are making crappy games with low FPS, but, its pretty! I agree, the consumer cant be wrong, they can only create toxic methodology in marketing and expectations.

I use those 2 as my standard for “pretty games that are terrible”. Look at WOW as the other, i hate the game personally, but, its a good example. The game isnt pretty. It will never be pretty in standards. When you “sell” the game to your friends, or someone “sells” it to you, are they like “omg, bro, wtfbbqftw, the gfx are so next-gen! come play with us!!!”. Nope, they are like “bro, pfft, wow, you dont play? bro raids, bro pvp … bro content …!”

Here is the issue:

As an indi dev, we are allowed to make our games “look like ****”. Its pretty expected. You know what sets us apart? Content and story. Man, if you are not pulling heart strings, you are in the wrong field. Content and story are 100% the EXPECTED baseline for indi devs. Why? Because people know we dont have the trillion + $1 to spend on 500 Blizzard brain-childs of the CGI world. They know. Now, there are the few that fall under “indi devs are just a cheap version of AAA titles” and they suck, because they fall into “other” category for me … ha! Seriously tho, i have asked lots and lots of people the same question “what do you expect from an indi title?” and i get the same answers.

You make some good points, but, i think you are looking at it from your own perspective, or, a small market share perspective. I have asked all over on social media and pax … etc etc. Its the same, from what i have seen. Do they want super awesome gfx? Sure, who doesnt. Does our “pool of buyers” run out and buy next gen hardware to support it? Nope. Take a look at the steam hardware profile list. Most are 700-900 series cards (or the ATI/AMD cards of the same class). World of Warcraft 2 launches. Requires 2x 1080GTX and 32GB RAM and a 1800XT CPU. Guess what all those fools are buying … ask that of an indi playerbase and noses get turned up.

You’re confushing “indie devs” with independent developers.

PUBG has sold 10m copies (so far).
It is made by an independent developer.
People are not buying it for its engaging story and content.
Its sell for $29.99 USD.

Sunset has sold maybe 4000 copies.
It is made by an indie devs.
People are not buying, let alone for its engaging story and content.
Its sell for $19.99 USD.

Independent developers make games.
Indie devs make walking simulators.

If you’re not sure on the difference, I recommend watching The Indie Crew.

a lot of people have money and time we can only hope for and they seem to enjoy buying random video games made by indie developers. honestly if you make a fun decent game you only need 1% of the gaming community to buy it at 2 dollars to make money.

If you’ve made it that far and don’t know what your product is worth, you’ve already failed.

You should know what price bracket you are aiming for before you’ve even started. It’s a part of knowing what your product is; what demographic you’re aiming for, the scale of your game, how much you should be investing in terms of people / time / money into development, the hardware the game needs to be running on etc.

Eh? Many of the most successful indie games don’t have much in the way of either. Strong, innovative or otherwise polished game mechanics are generally what drive indie games.

Wow, that’s twice now I’ve been called a failure haha, must be a sign…good think I didn’t make it that far yet. This is a good point you make. I’ve only just started the level design process. I finished designing some of the essential assets, materials, animations etc for the core game play and I’m ready to start prototyping in Unreal. I have an idea of what I am aiming for price wise. I guess I shouldn’t be afraid to ask what I think it is worth. Initially I was thinking of knocking the price down because of triple A quality games that charge the same price. However, if the content is good, then it shouldn’t matter I would think. People will buy it if they like it.

AP_Studios,](User Profile - Unreal Engine Forums) the argument for emphases on graphics vs content (an unending debate at that I’m sure) probably varies from developer to developer I would think. Especially in our world. Who doesn’t want high fidelity visuals AND story and content to match. For those who can do both, that’s great, otherwise you have to choose where your time and monetary investment will go. Like ambershee said, you need to know what your demographic is and my guess is that would also play a role into what your game will be like.

BTW, I have a lot of friends who love Destiny. It was successful enough for them to make a sequel…so they must of done something right.

lol except Bluehole in Korea made TERA along with Brendan Greene. So … i mean … not so independent.