Fancy yourself an indie game developer? Check out these tips for getting starting.
How to take your game development from passion to business
After a year of delays, it's hard to remember a time when the video game market was this full of massive, impressive game releases. If you're working on releasing your own game for the first time, this can be disheartening to watch. How will you ever be able to compete in such a saturated market?
Don't worry: The indie gaming market is huge too, and gamers are always looking for their next underground favorite. Read on for our best tips to getting your video game business off the ground below.
Find a strong concept
A game is nothing without a great concept. Make sure your premise, look and story will pique gamers's interests and keep them excited enough to stay with it. Your game has to be unique, fun and challenging enough for players to be well-entertained for hours on end. So, before you commit to an idea, ask yourself: What does this game offer the player that other games have yet to?
Once you have a satisfying answer, you're also closer to finding the hook and names you'll be promoting your game with. We write 'names' in plural because you won't just have to name your game as a brand new developer: Finding the right name for your business is almost as important. Is your creativity failing you? Ask a friend who knows what you've been developing or use a business name generator for your own video game company. Either way, you'll get some fresh takes that you may not have thought of yourself.
Promote to your target audience
Next, to get people playing your game, it's important that you reach those who'd realistically find it interesting. Promoting with ads on every platform to absolutely anyone might seem like a safe bet – but in actuality, by opting for this route, you might just reach a bunch of people who couldn't care less and a small group who do appreciate it. Figure out exactly who would love your game and which platforms they're on and adjust your marketing accordingly.
Choose platforms that suit your game
Remember to stay creative when marketing your video game. While paid ads on big platforms are usually a good investment, solely relying on them just doesn't pack the punch you need as a new creator. Instead, remember to diversify your strategies and go through several channels. If you have a great hook that gets readers excited to experience the rest of the story, go through traditional media and see if a publication or two sees your game generating clicks in an article. If your game lends itself to being played by an influencer on camera, reach out to some relevant names – or, if your game is straight-up meme-worthy, make sure to get on Twitter immediately. Whichever platform you decide to go with, it should highlight your games' strengths and reach the target audience effectively.
Make your business work
Most would rather ignore it, but your business will only suffer if you fail to balance your finances. No one expects you to make a gigantic profit right out of the gate. It's just important for you to save as much money as you can and cut down on your cost of living.
You'll have to update your gear from time to time, and you might even become responsible for others' salaries. At this point, we'd advise you to consider consulting an accountant – and outsourcing other tasks that you can't manage while also developing games.
Running a video game business is a tough job, so take care of yourself. Don't bite off more than you can chew and use your network if you need help. Friends will usually be more willing to go the extra mile without breaking the bank than an external consultant on an hourly rate. Good luck!