“You may have heard that the time of indie games coming to an end — despite the fact that it seems as if now there are more indie games than ever before”, says Sergey Galyonkin. Founder SteamSpy offers a look at the graph which shows that the average number of games sold on Steam since the release of the platform Steam Greenlight is constantly falling. According to Kalinkina, the gaming industry is undergoing various upheavals every few years, “since the release of the game Pong”.
As says the founder of Steam Spy, the first such shock was the event called Pong crush. Other companies began to produce its own Pong clone, the market was crowded, and gamers meanwhile are tired of playing this game, and the industry of the production of such machines collapsed. But the game industry, says Galyonkin, survived and continued its development.
In 1982 the company Atari, inspired by the great demand in stores, has produced 2.5 million copies of its video game E. T.. It soon became clear that several retailers overestimated demand, and had sold 1.5 million parties. As noted by the author of the material, its still a record number, and not many games can compete with such a number of sales, but Atari was still about 1 million unsold copies. The cost of producing them is not covered, and the company has gone down.
Many game studios after this incident changed the contracts with retailers, allowing them to return to the companies is only part of the unsold copies. In 1983 the video game industry survived the crisis, about which, says the Galyonkin, in fact most companies did not even guess — so it came to be called later. The industry continued to live.
After that, every few years to the gaming industry happened events that can be called apocalyptic, says Sergey Galyonkin. First, the shelves disappeared computers ZX-Spectrum and Commodore — it was a “crisis in home computers”. “I was working on games for the ZX-Spectrum as a hobby,” says the author.
Then with the advent of new technologies “died” first 2D game, and then (after the appearance of the PlayStation and other consoles) — a crisis for computer games. “Now that we have Steam, but then an observer simply could not believe that computer games such as they were, no longer exists — and you just need to move on”. With the advent of social media has killed casual games — all of their audience “moved” to Facebook and “Vkontakte” and began to play there. And thanks to mass proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices, games in social networks also declined.
Now we certainly stand on the threshold of “indie Apocalypse”, and every indie project will eventually be replaced by yet another clone of Clash of Clans. The researcher Mirko Arnquist in 2006 described three main reasons that lead to changes in the gaming industry. Then about “indie Apocalypse” of the question, says Galyonkin, but all three factors are called the scientist, it is possible to identify in todays reality:
As an example, the founder SteamSpy leads the industry photos. According to him, he sometimes likes to take pictures, and several times his images even found himself on the pages of reputable publications (e.g., Forbes and Wired), but despite this, he does not call himself an indie photographer, he calls himself an Amateur. With the proliferation of smartphones and other technology photography has become accessible to almost everyone — and this change, says Galyonkin, it could be called “death photos” but the photoindustry not died — she, by contrast, thrives. “There are more professional photographers than ever, and the tools available that help to make the images visually more interesting than a few years ago.”.
“I could go further and say that I shoot better than professionals of the past decades — because I have better tools and I can learn from the experience of talented photographers of the past,” writes the author of the material. Similarly, he says, and indie developers (“or is it the developers-fans, lets get over it”), create games that look better projects Sid Meier (Creator of Civilization) 1986 — because they have the best tools, and they can draw on the experience of others. But you dont compete with sid Meier in 1986, and sid Meier is already almost in 2016 when everyone has access to the same tools. The fact that your game is better projects released in 1984, 1994 and 2014, it means nothing. It should be better all the games released in 2014 put together, and it is desirable — and even those that will be released this and next year.
As suggested by the Galyonkin, the struggle in the industry is not confined to the confrontation of the indie segment, and major developers of AAA titles. It also boils down to a fight indie, AAA titles and “triple indie” — indie developers that produce large and expensive game. Creator SteamSpy believes that the principal in the gaming industry is the contrast between business and hobby. Many indie developers prefer to develop games only for the fun of it.
They dont like to do marketing, financial planning tracking various performance indicators — all of this distracts them from the game itself. “And you know what. This is normal. So I come to photos.
I do the same thing. But I understand their reluctance to deal with business processes and dont blame a hostile environment in that it does not give me earn money. Im the only one responsible for what my pictures do not bring me additional funds, and not the other 2 billion people with pocket cameras and smartphones”. If you dont want to contact the business dont call yourself indie. Are you a lover, and you move the industry forward, but do not expect that you will be able to earn a lot of money.
Developers who are making games as a business, do financial planning, market research, communication with the press, according to Galankina should not be concerned by the fact that other fail — because he himself has a clear business plan and understanding how much he has to spend and how much he can earn. “You dont become “indie triple a”. Of course, you still have chances to fail, like any other business, but they are significantly lower than those of Amateurs who just want to have fun”. Steam, writes Galyonkin, is no longer a service that allows you to “open” games. Actually, the author continues, he never was.
“You should treat Steam as a main platform to promote your product. It can be useful, but it works now more like a bookstore. How often do you find a new book that you are interested in bookstores. Recently I went to one such place near his house — all the shelves were lined with “the best selling” works about office politics and womens novels”. To buy the book “the Martian”, I had to search through about a hundred sci-Fi books that were on the shelves in the back of the store.
To find something in such a place is possible only in one case — if you know exactly what you want. As a developer, writes founder SteamSpy, there are thousands of blogs, websites and specialized publications, access to popular YouTube channels and so on. “Just imagine how hard it was for developers 20 years ago,” says the author. The chart below shows the ratio between the shows, videos of games on YouTube and their sales on Steam in August 2015:
“Remember that terrible schedule at the beginning of the material. Im going to show it to you again”. “Now that we know the difference between business and hobby, lets look at the indicators of the 10 most popular games on Steam each month,” suggests Sergey Galyonkin.
The recession at the end of the graph is due to the fact that not all popular games fall into the category of bundled — that is, they do not offer the player any extra advantages while buying. As the author notes, the developers who already have experience with Steam and producing his second or third game, on average, sell more copies of the project than those who do it for the first time. “We dont know how these people are positioning their gaming activity — as a business or as a hobby.
Actually at the sales of your other games wont affect sales of the first. But the first run of the game on Steam allows you to understand whether you have the will and resources to move forward.”. “Of course, experienced developers have the advantage over newcomers — but its just as true for any business, not just a game. Memorable brand, loyalty program, technical support — it all helps to sell the first game, but strengthens the relationship with the client” — explains the Creator SteamSpy.
“So, what actually kills the industry of indie games. It may seem that the main culprit are indie games”, — says Sergey Galyonkin. Raising the bar of quality, he says, leads to the fact that more projects fail, but at the same time, there are more really good games. “The responsibility for bringing to market and sell your game, is yours alone. No automated tools will not help if you dont want to do the promotion of your project.
If you want to make money on an indie game, treat your hobby like a business and not as hobby”.