I just finished reading Neil Yates's blog:
Indie Game Dev Reality
A really nice sort of "core dump" of your average indie game developers life. It shows the harsh reality of things for those who think indie is a path to riches.
I do think that there is no "average" indie. But of all of the stories I've seen, this one strikes me as what might happen to the typical indie game dev I see on sites like www.garagegames.com and www.indiegamer.com
I think Neil really sums up his adventures well enough, so I recommend you read his blog for the real skinny. I do think that it shows the importants of marketing skills and being true to your own style. I guess I see indie game dev as a multiplication thing rather than one single factor. Multiply potential interest, by usability then with potential market, throw in a smattering of sales and marketing and luck. Its like a big basket of things. Which is why striking it big as an indie is like trying to get planet to align.
Neil makes some great observations and I agree with him about becoming aware of your own motivation.
It sort of goes towards something quite obvious in many ways, but I think its been bourne out recently in graphical fashion.
If you look at Youtube.com and the number of views the various video's get. Which ones do you think have the highest views?
You might be forgiven for thinking that high production value "music videos" would be the thing right? Well, actually, nope. Its an old british guy going by the moniker "geriatric1927" and that 1927 relates to the year he was born!
What has this got to do with indie games? Well, think of it this way. With all the flash and money put into the videos on youtube, all of the shock and pizazz, why is it that people are actually flocking to hear from what is an understated non-fame-seeking friendly old gent?
I think this shows, that people want genuine experiences. They want to connect with real people and engage with real objects. Much like the idea of skills and crafts has been eroded by the media's portrayal of fame and fortune being the only goals worth going after, similarly people want to connect with the products, services, entertainment they consume.
In fact, as I think about it now, the reason why I like garagegames so much is because of that personal feeling.
So our goal as developers, should be, at least in part, to deliver a sense of why OUR games are compelling and personal, why people should want to be part of OUR scene, rather than trying to bombard them with images trying to sell, why not engage them as human beings? Why not promote your product by promoting yourself as a person?
I am very excited about how people are changing and starting to look for the geniune, the quality experience. Rather than just being all about cheapness.