Chaos Industries CEO Humberto Cervera, center, explaining a game at the conference
They do it in their hotel rooms or in front of everyone across a cavernous convention hall.
They even try it on street corners.
The biggest challenge facing the growing number of independent video-game creators — those who self-publish their quirky titles — isn’t making, distributing or even funding their creative visions.
It’s persuading people to buy the games.
“There’s just something about human interaction,” said Chris McQuinn, a designer at Toronto-based indie developer DrinkBox Studios. “The ultimate goal is to meet someone who might champion your game — a fan who will go off and tell their friends about it. There’s no more powerful message about a game than when it comes from a fan.”
McQuinn attributed much of the success of the company’s Guacamelee! to the gamers the studio befriended at various gatherings, including the fan-focused Penny Arcade Expo. It is one of several grass-roots tactics that indie game makers are employing to stir up hype.
The majority of developers at the conference, the largest annual gathering of the industry in the United States outside the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, classify themselves as indie.
Advancements such as crowdfunding, easier-to-use development tools and digital distribution services have made way for a swarm of indie creators crafting content mostly for personal computers and mobile devices.
For every hit, though, dozens of other games get no buzz.
Despite the rise of self-publishing, most indies lack the marketing budgets and promotional prowess that big-time publishers such as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard use to hype expensive-to-produce titles such as Titanfall and Call of Duty.
Instead, indies typically rely on word-of-mouth to persuade gamers to click “Download.”
During the past five years, it has worked in many cases — and the industry has taken notice.
“Making sure that a game can get discovered is the new challenge in game development,” said Chris Charla, director at [email protected], a program that Microsoft recently launched to attract developers to independently publish games for its Xbox One console. “We’ve already solved a lot of problems in terms of creating games and distributing games.”
After making it easier to fashion games for their latest hardware, the industry’s three major console makers — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — reached out to indie developers at this year’s conference with dedicated talks and events.
The message is clear: They don’t want indies only on PCs and smartphones.
“One of the things we’re really proud of at Xbox One is that all of the games are sold in the same marketplace,” Charla said. “Any of the games in this room are going to be in the same place as Titanfall on the Xbox games store. We’ve also got things like Upload Studio and Twitch streaming, which are really viral ways of discovering games.”
Ultimately, an indie’s success comes down to the same query vexing all forms of entertainment: Is it any good?
Reblogged from: dispatch.com