Competing allies January 9, 2011 cliffski Here is a question for indie game developers. Who are you competing against, and who is on your side? It’s not as simple a question as you might think. Don’t rush to judgement. I find that the supposedly simple questions are in fact the most interesting. I can list a lot of people on my side, and a lot of people who compete with me, and some people who are in both lists. The people in both lists are what I’m pretentiously calling competing allies. Imagine a fellow PC indie strategy game developer. Lets call them ‘Cunning Fox Games’. CF Games earn about the same as I do, and sell direct online. We probably have some crossover of customers, with people owning games from both of us. Are CF Games on my side? or my competition. They are both. A customer of CF Games has been identified (maybe at some marketing cost) by that company. The identity of that customer has worth. They already own CFG’s games, but possibly not mine. I would benefit a lot from CFG telling their customers about me. And the reverse is true. In other words, if me and CFG mention each other, we can BOTH make more sales, and be better off. So far, so obvious. But let’s say I mention CF Games, and they don’t mention me back. Maybe their CEO met me once and thinks I’m a bastard, and doesn’t want to give me any publicity. Maybe I know this. Should I still keep recommending them? Yes And for purely rational self-interest, too. I *want* people who enjoy my games to buy games from CF Games too. I can’t make 3 games a year, but my customers can buy 3. Why not become known as someone who recommends good, relevant games? Why not encourage those players to keep playing strategy games? Why not encourage them to keep buying indie games? and to buy them direct from the developers. In the long run, this grows the market for me too. The more people who are used to using BMTMicro, the better. Some small businesspeople can be very small minded. They keep an eye on fellow small businesses and treat them as the enemy, but that’s just wrong. If you sell indie games, I’m not your competition, I’m your ally. Activision sell 1,000 times more games than you and me combined, and frankly, I’d rather have a beer with you and swap ideas, strategies and business tips with a fellow indie, whose experience is directly relevant than some CEO who never plays games anyway. So my tip of the day, is remember, sometimes helping rival companies helps you too. It’s not a zero-sum game.