Indies, we have a problem

I asked a question on Twitter:

Thank you, you wonderful people who answered <3 BUT MOST OF YOU ARE WRONG.

Granted, some of you might be wrong because of me. I meant to ask: how many games you think are on Steam, right now? Including Early Access. 

Indies, we have a problem!

I am sad because I think any shopkeeper should know his market. Especially those who dread indiepocalypses and blame their failures on external factors.

The truth is, us gamedevs really sux at selling our games. And it is our fault.

Many of us also sux at making games, but that is another subject which starts here and here. Won’t debate it today.

It is not the competition – we don’t even know how many games we compete against.

It is not the lack of data – its not rocket science to learn how many games are on Steam, or how many are released daily, and its not even that hard to dig even deeper, and figure out how many games are on GOG, itch.io, Origin, UPlay and others.  We actually have more data than pretty much any other market out there.

It is not that we don’t have eager customers – I think 10 thousand games for an audience of 163 MILLION* people is a very small number. And that is only for Steam. Here’s a bigger report.

But we sux. And we have to face that. The first step in fixing a problem is admitting you have one. And boy, do we have a problem.

 

See, I know it ain’t hip to talk about business and turnover and burn rate and profit. Frankly, I bow to the artists’ passions, and respect creativity so long as we agree those artists want to starve**. But I WANT to see successful, growing indie game studios, too. I want them to change my industry, my world. I want them to be open, to nurture creativity, to promote an extraordinary quality of life. I want them to pay good salaries to those game developers who cannot be good business people. I want them to open their doors and generate organic diversity, which should not only result in better game dev environments, but also in much more diverse games. This is so important for me, both as a gamedev professional and as a player.

But in order to do that, we need to fix our problem.

We need to stop playing gamedev and start building a long term, profitable indie  gamedev industry.

*  I felt really tempted to make another poll. 

** Or at least not expect any money from their games.