In the age we live in, anyone can be an artist. Anyone could write the next best selling book, film the next festival award winning flick, or make the next big indie game. With the tools available, it’s no longer about who you know or making connections, it’s just about making art. Despite that, just because you can make a video game by yourself, does that mean you should?
Right off the bat, you have to realize that making videogames takes time. A full time Triple-A game studio filled with hundreds of people take on average about two years to make large scale videogames, often times even longer. The amount of total man hours put into a videogame is absolutely colossal.
While most people realize this, I feel that most don’t translate what it means to indie games. Indie games might seem easier and quicker to make, but if you’re an indie, there’s a good chance that it might not be your full time job. Think about everything you do in a week- think about how many hours a week you would actually be able to spend on making your videogame. If you are making a game on your own and have other commitments, or even if you don’t, you will need to sacrifice many things to fit in the hours your game development requires.
Because of this, even the simplest of game projects can end up stalling and taking up years of your life. One person doing art, programming, and design is an absurd workload. By teaming up with others who have the required skills, the workload can be split and your game can actually be made on an efficient timeline. Our lives are only so long, make the most of it.
The skillsets behind making a game are often different from selling one. While the heart of indie studios lie with self-publishing and self-marketing, it can be intimidating for a single person. Your game will not get famous overnight, and you will need to put in effort to get it noticed. Without marketing experience or business knowledge, it can be daunting and frustrating.
As such, it is useful to either have a marketing specialist on your team, or to seek third party consultation. If you manage to reach out and make friends with other developers, there is always the option of cross-promotion. Even if you made your game by yourself, having other people to help with publicity is vital to getting noticed.
Games Need an Audience
This brings us to the absolute most important part of making a game- it cannot be done alone. Stay with me here for a second. Think about the reasons why marketing is important. At the end of the day you want people to play your game, and marketing is one of the ways to facilitate that. Marketing isn’t the full picture however, and the other side of it is your audience.
Every successful game out there has a passionate and dedicated fan base. Games do well because your audience makes them such. If you make a videogame without your audience in mind, expecting no-one to play it, then what is the purpose of the game?
Only when people play a game does it have worth, and people are required to play your game. You can make, publish, and sell a game by yourself, but you cannot make it successful on your own. Acknowledge, reach out, and get to know your audience. Learn what they like, what they dislike, and build up a good rapport with them. Especially in indie games, your audience are your stockholders. You never burn your stockholders.
While it might seem promising to cash into the “self-made” craze, take a look at the reality. Most individual project fail. You need other people in some form. Don’t let this discourage you though, use it to your advantage. The barrier to entry is still more accessible than ever, just don’t go it alone. Make friends. Talk to people. Learn to be able to rely on others. Keep this in mind and your game can make a real difference.
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