August 28, 2013 | Filed under: business0012
With steam announcing that they are greenlighting 100 new games today, it seems that ‘securing distribution on big name portals‘ is a task for new and upcoming indies which just got a bit easier. That’s good news, but there is only so much scope for people to sell games, it probably just means that the things indie devs might need help with haven’t reduced, but just changed. This has got me thinking about the medium term future of Positech, and what I’d like to do, and what maybe I *could* do for indies. If I’d made the list a few years ago it might be this:
- Provide web-hosting
- Process payments
- Handle mailing list stuff
- Take care of PR
- Provide funding for development
- Sort out contracts and admin/businessy stuff like contracts with artists/sound/music people
- Provide general business advice
- Take care of advertising
Some of these are maybe less of a need now than they used to be. I know it’s possible to do *all* of this yourself. I do. But I’ve been doing this for decades. if you are 18 years old and programming your first game, do you want to do those 7 things too? Aren’t you busy debugging? :D. For some people, no doubt the answer is yes. And of course some people could do it all, but may choose not to. I quite like looking at sales charts and advertising stats, but few game designers really do.
Certainly 2) is something that has been kinda dealt a blow if it’s easy to get on steam. But has it really? Firstly not everyone gets on steam, even now, and secondly, they take their cut of the sales, which is a non trivial amount. You can use a payment provider and sell direct, but you need an account with them, and need to learn how they work, and then handle currency conversions etc etc. Maybe that is still something people would rather not do?
5) Would normally be a HUGE big deal, but now we have kickstarter. Had this made funding for indies easier? or just for established indies? Something that has not got any easier is likely to be 7) and maybe 8). I’ve been around a while, and know a bit about the games market. I might be able to provide some value there perhaps.
So I guess what I’m thinking about is whether I should be looking for the classic ‘first time indie’, that has great programming skills, great game design skills, but doesn’t know where to go from there. Could positech.co.uk turn into a storefront for games not just made by me, but also games developed (like redshirt) by other developers but published by me? I think it’s definitely something worth considering, in the medium term. I just wonder how many developers fall into that category. if you are working on your first game, would you pay a cut to someone to handle all this?