Twitter is bustling with talkative developers, all sharing ideas and concepts. All you have to do is look around the App Hub forums and get a few peoples Twitter accounts. Most developers I’ve come across have been very helpful on twitter. Sharing links to articles, reviews and promotions. Good news travels fast on Twitter, but especially within the Xbox Indie Games community. Part of being indie means doing things without corporate backing. That includes promoting your product. With many App Hub developers cheering on your game via Twitter, it tends to create a new form of marketing. It’s the ultimate word of mouth. It’s really exciting to see the buzz circulating on Twitter when a new game is released.
There are plenty of places to find flash games on the net and many iPhone/iPad games out there. But there’s something special about telling people you have a game on Xbox. Some developers have talked in the App Hub forums about how the Indie Games section is hard to find on the Xbox Dashboard. Well we made a fun little video to help people find Indie Games easier. The video features games other than our own because we wanted to help promote other developers on Xbox Indie Games.
Even with Xbox Indie Game’s seemingly hidden status, it’s still great to tell your friends you have a game on the Xbox, whether they can find it or not. I feel the fact that anyone has the capability to distribute a game on the Xbox is a huge accomplishment for Microsoft.
So you don’t have a team of programmers and artists? You don’t have huge budget for development and marketing? You have to make the coffee yourself? So what’s so great about being “Indie”?
The answer is “freedom”. Because an indie game developer has less overhead and comparatively low development costs, they can assume greater risk. This allows the indie developer to create a project that has the potential to completely tank in the marketplace and still remain is business. A few thousand dollars in labour and assets is nothing compared to the tens of millions of dollars many AAA games demand.
To make the most out of being “indie” you need to explore your unique advantages. Making extremely low budget versions of XBLA or AAA games is fine but you’d be neglecting the most important opportunity the indie developer has.
It means creating concepts that players have never been exposed to. It means introducing new ideas to the gaming community and watching the reaction whether it be good or bad. It means thinking “I have no idea if this will work” and doing it anyway because it’s unproven.