Creating video games is a business as it is an art form. You need to maximize your profits from every game, or you’ll fall into obscurity. But other developers have more funding than others. One particular field in gaming that doesn’t have as much exposure to the public and struggles in funding is indie gaming.
Indie games can be successful, cut-even, or fail. Studies have shown that most indie games don’t make more than $4,000, and only a small percentage gain a revenue of $200,000. Only one percent can reach a million dollars in sales. This shows how competitive the market can be and how hard it is to make your games known out there.
If you want to make your indie games reach the million-dollar mark, then you’re going to need to do some business strategies. First of which is marketing.
Market Your Game Months Before Release
You need to market your game months before release to get the hype you need from fans. This isn’t easy since you only have limited funding, but through a combination of social media and influencer marketing, then you can make your presence known.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is one of the cheapest forms of marketing out there. They’re great for video games since most of your target audience is practically on every social media platform.
Furthermore, you can keep them engaged. If you want them to stay fully engaged with your product, you can invest in digital experience management software. This will keep them updated about your product, its release date, features, and more. These are important aspects that fans would like to know when following your game.
Influencer marketing combined with social media marketing is two effective combinations that don’t require much money. There are thousands of game influencers out there who are willing to take your game into platforms like YouTube and Instagram. Moreover, if you choose new and rising influencers, you can get mentions at a lower price.
There are even some game influencers on YouTube that support indie developers. All they ask from you is a free demo of your game, and they’ll get you the exposure you need.
These two are the best marketing strategies to make your presence known in the gaming industry. How about the other aspects of indie gaming, like price and the development process?
Cheaper Doesn’t Mean Better
Some indie developers put their prices lower than they should be in hopes of getting more sales in the long run. However, cheaper doesn’t always mean better in the indie gaming market. What matters is the content of your game, the genre it’s in, and whether you market the game correctly. Since we already talked about marketing, let’s talk about the genre with the most indie gaming sales.
Indie Games and Genre
If you want to appeal to your consumers, don’t go into genres that aren’t fully fleshed out yet. Instead, stick with simple genres that work well.
Studies have shown that RPGs, simulations, and action-adventure video games are some of the best genres in the indie gaming market. You can also choose to follow the successes of multi-million dollar games such as Celeste and Hollow Knight and make your game a simple platforming or Metroidvania experience.
The genre will determine how many people will be interested in your game, so make sure to place it in the right genre. Don’t take risks as of the moment, and stick in a genre that’s already been explored by other developers.
Graphics and Story
Both graphics and story play a big part in games. However, graphics take a back seat in indie games while story pushes sales.
If you’ve noticed, many indie games resort to using 8-bit or 4-bit graphics for their games. Not every indie developer has access to 3d game engines like Unreal to make games, nor do they have the manpower to use such an engine. Using 8-bit and 4-bit graphics can bring a sense of nostalgia among gamers without spending too much money on development. It also makes the game development process faster.
When it comes to story, it can push sales when done right. For example, evocative story-telling, especially those found in horror games, has been known to propel indie games to success. In addition, some indie game developers claim that a good story is easier to market and get word-of-mouth marketing going. So ensure that you can create a decent story for your game and one that’s easy to follow.
The process of developing a video game isn’t simple. But hopefully, this article can help you turn your indie game into a profitable business.