8 Tips for Aspiring Indie Game Developers

August 25, 2016

11:04 am

Pokémon Go has certainly changed the landscape of gaming. Can you imagine hiring an Uber driver just to drive you around for your searches? Or, how about meeting that special person while on the hunt? These things are really happening right now. And Indie game developers are taking notice. If you think you have a great idea for a game, and you are committed to developing it, by all means, go for it. But as you do, keep these important tips in mind.

Making Money Needs to be Secondary

If you look at the statistics, you already know that a huge number of indie game developers are not making money hand-over-fist. They are into game development because they have a passion for an idea. Making money comes from marketing, and that comes after the game is developed and published. If you don’t have a passion for your idea, then you will not have passions for marketing it either.

Know Your Shortcomings

You may be using great game development tools, but, ultimately, there will be some coding tasks that may be beyond you. At this point, acknowledge your shortcomings and get the help you need, even if you have to pay for it. iOS game development is complex, and there is nothing embarrassing about admitting that you do not have all of the coding skills you need. Find a reputable iOS game development firm, preferably one that will throw in some marketing as well.

Ensure that You have a Market

Unless you are developing a game just for the fun of it, you will need to do some research. Is there really a market for a game such as yours? The makers of Candy Crush didn’t just decide one day to make the game. They did their homework and discovered, based upon current popular games, that there was a large niche audience to which they could appeal. You need to do the same.

Replayability – It’s Pretty Critical

You don’t want a game that will be played once and forgotten. You want a game that will be played over and over again because either there are levels to reach or because players can compete with their previous success. And, even better, make it social. When players can invite friends to play with them, you keep adding ambassadors who can do a lot of marketing for you.

Update

Don’t let your game remain static. Add new features and publicize them. One of the best ways to do this is to ask existing players what other features they would like to see. It goes without saying, of course, that you will also be committed to fixing any bugs.

Freebies

You have probably offered your basic game for free, but upgrades are fee-based. After all, how else will you make any money? To grow your fan base, you may offer “freebies” for a certain score or level being reached. And, you can also offer freebies if any players find bugs and bring them to your attention. These efforts will grow a fan base and sharing.

Yes, You Do Have to Market

“If you build it, they will come” is a great movie line, but it is not in the least bit relevant to marketing a game app. Marketing your game involves lots of strategies and tactics even though they are not tough. Using social media, requesting reviews on game app review sites, guest blogging and even contracting with the services of an app marketer should all be within your bag of marketing tricks.

Be Patient

The overnight success of “Flapping birds” is the exception, not the rule. So, be patient, be responsive to your current users, and keep updating and marketing. If you give up on a game too soon, you may be sorry Get busy on other projects while you continue to monitor, market, and improve.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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