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Marketing research-Are Indie games a type of game?


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#1 Icebone1000   Members   -  Reputation: 1155

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 10:45 AM

Hey all...I was thinking, a lot of games are getting exclusively classified as "indie" game, specially because of the online distributors(steam, impulse, gamersgate)..


But for one looking for marketing statistics, for creating a profitable game(hipotetically), I mean, studying opportunities( who will buy game, what game will buy, whats the age of those buyers, witch frequence they play those games, witch frequence they buy those games, where they buy)..Theres a field for indie games exclusively? where you can gatter commom characteristics of ppl who play "indie" games?

The background of this is: For a indie developer, who cant compete with well know "will sell well for sure" types of games(AAA), how can he research on marketing, if theres no known types of games(known types are dominated by AAA companies) indies have to rely on innovation, on creating new types of games...How can one make a careful marketing study instead of betting all on a great idea( something that everyone says DONT do it) Where to look for info? what info look for? How can one know if ppl will want to play the game?

Those are 2 related questions, in the case you confuse with what Im asking about.


Another thing I think about is about(geez, sorry my english) what successful designers say, something like "you have to create a game that you will want to play, not thinking on money" resuming, witch in my oppinion go tottaly against the idea of developing a game aiming a marketing research..Maybe the super game you want to play doesnt have any market field, but it can open one..how the hell can you know that?

Kind random isnt it? I was just wandering about..

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#2 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:30 AM

In the broadest sense, you can't know how a game will sell. There's always an amount of uncertainty, and it can come from any step in the process of creating or marketing a game.

For your more specific question, I would say that I don't think that "indie" is its own genre of game. While there will be some similarities between indie games, that's not necessarily the highest level consideration.

For example, say you hae three indie teams. One makes a first-person shooter, one makes a role playing game, and one makes a puzzle game. There may be some (or even a lot) of similarities between these three games, but they still fall into categories that, for me, are vastly more important than the type of team that made them. If I don't like first-person shooters, I'm not likely to be attracted to such a game just because it was made by an indie team.

But indie games don't constantly invent new genres. Far more often, they fit snugly into existing game types. Although some games straddle different game types, and indie studios are probably more likely to experiment with new combinations and novel gameplay elements, my impression with indie games is not that they are generally groundbreaking or daring. Even in a case where an indie game really is very innovative, market projections would probably be based off of the most similar games to it that are already in the marketplace.

If I were to see a game anywhere, Steam, XLA, etc., where the only description of the game type is"indie", what I would immediately think is that the game is likely to be shallow and short, and therefore had better be cheap.

#3 Icebone1000   Members   -  Reputation: 1155

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 01:55 PM

Would be awsome if steam provides more surveys(not only hardway software) about the users, like those I mentioned, like an average age for players of a title, players who play this, play also this one...
How a business man(one hired just for those things) find out about this stuff? Should one create pools on steam forum, post questionaries arround? I doubt those will reach good results..

#4 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22792

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 04:40 PM

Would be awsome if steam provides more surveys(not only hardway software) about the users, like those I mentioned, like an average age for players of a title, players who play this, play also this one...
How a business man(one hired just for those things) find out about this stuff? Should one create pools on steam forum, post questionaries arround? I doubt those will reach good results..



In the simplest form, market research like those work just fine. You should have a lot of market research before starting a game company. That is stuff you can get with your own surveys, forum posts, and other direct investigation.


In the more complex form of accurate data it is business analytics. It requires years of data, but also needs to react to current trends. Big publishers have groups who keep the data from their historical sales. It is also accumulated by market research and by paying businesses for sales data; this is done by businesses like NPD. It is easy to find companies that provide business analytics for games, but the data is not cheap enough for most individuals.

The steam hardware/software data is a good resource, and one that companies usually charge for. If you want more data from them, contact Valve like a responsible business does and work out a deal to get additional data.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#5 Daniel O'Neill   Members   -  Reputation: 102

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 04:52 PM

you'd only really want to know those things if you were seeking investors, and if you are good luck, so many people who frequent this place would also like investors, but many projects in the indie market start with no funding, it is only when things get interesting and results start happening, and then - its mostly thru donations - true investment - with shares etc... is something of big buisiness.
I'll happily stand down if it will get people what they need to develop softwares, but for the most part, its a very long haul till you start seeing returns unless you capitalize on every tool you make, and even if you make a tool of which there is a free version, put a dollar price on it, as the way I see it, unless it is specifically something your end-product can't do without, it is in itself, it's own product, and I don't know how many tools I've made mainly because I'm flat broke, and modern marketing is crazy.

One product I baught at v2.5 I have to buy again to get V2.6 - its not even a new version, but I still got to pay for the upgrade....



Edit

How can one know if ppl will want to play the game?


I wouldn't write a game I wouldn't play, simple as that....

#6 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6325

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:41 PM

In general as an indie developer you want to find a niche that isn't allready heavily exploited, this doesn't necessarily mean you have to be innovative or gamble with risky experiments, there are plenty of game genres with proven track records that the big studios are passing over in favor of the big mainstream genres. (When was the last time you saw a AAA bullet hell shooter or point&click adventure game ?, still plenty of successful indie titles around on various platforms following pretty much the same formula as they did when the big studios were making similar games in the 90s)
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