ENTREPRENEURSHIP / MAR. 13, 2015
version 6, draft 6

The Business of Indie Game Development

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The video game industry is slated to be a $100 billion industry by 2017, but you already know that don’t you? Oh, you didn’t? Now that you know about it I bet you want to find out how to get a piece of that pixelated pie. Well, one possible answer is indie game development.

Also see: How to Develop a Career as a Game Programmer or Designer

What is it?

 

Just like in the movie industry an indie is the shortened format of independent, meaning that the movie or in our case game isn’t associated with a huge production house or game studio. Usually indie game developers are individuals or small teams of people, with small budgets and big dreams (horrible, horrible cliché right? Well deal with it hope always floats, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and every dark cloud has a silver lining). Horrible clichés aside indie games are big money earners, they produce very unique, original games due to the creative control they have over their product.

How do you do it?

Well, you need to know code. I’m not talking about an undecipherable language that needs a special machine to decrypt it…Wait, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Although there are a few “drag and drop” game developing programs the more versed you are in programming the easier your task will be. If you’re a complete tech-tard, you might want to look into something like Adventure Game Studio it doesn’t need much programming language knowledge but it uses as a tool are pretty limited. However, here’s a video too if your interest has been peeked.

How popular are indie games?

Like I said indie games are really digging out a niche with their creativity and uniqueness. Big studios are out for big bucks and tried, and true formulas are their bread and butter, games that have sold well in the past will be be-sequeled to death and beyond. Big video game studios make more sequels than Hollywood on a mission to reboot every movie in the 80s at once. Indie games give consumers a break from the big budget, mass produced and more than often formulaic games. Some indie games have a very non-traditional art style, innovative way to be played and even very well written narrative. 

OK made my game what now?

Well, just like any other product you need to market it, distribute it and get paid! You’re in luck though because with the advent of digital purchases, distribution has never been easier. Steam is a digital game marketplace that sells big studio games, but also lowly indie games such as your: “Sweaty palm shake man”. However, Steam is far from the only show in town; there’s a Microsoft equivalent, a Sony equivalent, a Nintendo one and even multiple mobile marketplaces.

How much can I make?

That depends, you are subject  to the whims of consumers, and they’re a fickle bunch. There are games that have made tons of Super Mario’s gold coins. Flappy Bird was made by a fellow named Dong Wing. Dong (stop snickering) was making a hefty $55 thousand dollars a day during the peak of the games popularity. What did the game involve? Oh, a bird flapping between the gap of ‘Super Mario’ looking pipes that was infuriatingly difficult. People are just suckers for punishment aren’t they?

Also see: Flappy Bird is Officially Dead

Are there any other pointers or inside information you might want to add for aspiring game developers? Then press ‘B’ to crouch and enter your comment below.

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