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Is there a 1% in Indie Game Development? Is it time to #occupygamedev ?
by Michael Lubker on 10/19/11 03:38:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Is there a 1% in indie game development?

From recent conversations within independent game development circles, and from my own experience, there seems to be.

Indie developers thrive on links and press. But many devs post press release after press release and get them butchered or relegated to unseen areas of the press sites, or even being completely ignored, instead of being featured like a very few.

Social networks don't work, because the indie devs that matter won't retweet our links.

Even at conferences, it's hard to get a moment with the big indie devs, because they're talking with their 1% clique.

Lump sums and low revenue shares are offered to games that could end up revolutionizing the industry.

We struggle to survive as our games sell in the single digits per day and we can't afford marketing because we don't make enough money.

We can't afford to upgrade engines because our teams don't have the experience or the time to take from updating the games so we get a trickle of people checking out new content.

We are stuck in the past because free tools are saddled with licensing issues that interfere with implementing APIs that increase virality.

We get low Metacritic scores because the press when they do come to us can't be bothered to review the game completely and see that content improves over time in a long dev cycle.

We get a few loyal community members who are sad because we can't implement new features that would bring new people in.

We are still paying off contractors because not enough people buy the game to provide for everyone on the team.

Wake up, Mr Free Man, Mr Indie, Wake up and smell the ashes.

We are the 99% and we expect better of the indie community.

Stop dividing by zero and keep the community united.

The indie community should have the imperative to work together and improve.

The indie community benefits from transparency and modding.

The indie community benefits from diversity.

The indie community creates art and beauty with computers.

The indie community improves the game development community and changes things for the better.

Don't let this great art form die. Don't let liberty fall with thunderous applause.

Help your fellow indies and create great games!

These are our demands. We are the independent development community. We expect great things.

The space marines will protect us. Let us derez our bonds.

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Richard Thomson
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No, it's not, stop asking what the successful can do for you and starting thinking how you can become one of the successful...

Kelly Kleider
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What are your demands again? I get that you are ranting, but it comes off as incoherent babble, not sharp wit.

If your rant is: the world isn't fair...I think you will get a lot of agreement (probably not in the positive reinforcement model though).

If you are saying you need more recognition ... stop being the 99%...find a unique(ish) way to get your message out. Learn about the domain you have just entered (marketing/sales) and quit whining.

If you are saying you went into indy game development to strike it rich, you might want to reconsider.

Michael Lubker
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Put yourselves in the shoes of an indie - you have no money or the choice to put food on the table or to put some money towards PR and ads and such.

The game in question has good ratings and awards so...

There most definitely is a clique of developers that takes it upon themselves to help each other out and ignores those asking for advice or help.

When the processes to get distribution on major platforms require peer review it shouldn't require gaming the system to get anywhere.

If you want to see how some other people feel:!/search/%23occupyigf

Also: The Global Game Jam is actively discouraging competition (which has been encouraged by some sponsors). This is a better model because it allows games to shine based on their merits, not based on the fact that judges picked (in some part) from past winners pick games that they like.

Richard Thomson
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I stand by my comment, and would add the reason 1% of the community get 99% of the awards and money is sadly because 1% of indie games are significantly better than the rest.

Plus of course a small number of indie devs have worked out how to promote themselves even without spending cash.

I truly hope this movement fails, there's enough false entitlement in the world already.

Harry Fields
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Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Arno Buruma
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Are people getting stupider these days? *facepalm*

Jeff Barron
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*throws rock at arno's house*

Michael Lubker
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I've played a lot of good games in the IGF that didn't get awards.