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indie devs have a chance?

06-03-2009, 01:39 AM
#1
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 16
indie devs have a chance?

Hi,

i wonder if indie developers can compete against the big publishers like gameloft or ngmoco. Look at the games gameloft have announced at E3. Omg they are damned polished. What do you think? Can indie developers compete against this big titles? Furthermore there are coming more and more good games out.

http://www.tenfingersclub.com - iPhone developers, game reviews and more
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06-03-2009, 01:51 AM
#2
Yes, indie devs can compete. They just need to be smart about it, and capitalize on what they can do that the big guys can't: Service, agility, and value, with low development costs.

06-03-2009, 02:30 AM
#3
Take a look at the top 10 (and the top 100), and you see your question answered pretty definitively.

--Eric

Realmaze3D on the App Store
Realmaze3Free: 3 free mazes (a taste of Realmaze3D)
06-03-2009, 04:28 AM
#4
Joined: May 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 199
If you mean will we indie devs ever be able to spend as much time and money developing and marketing our apps as the big guys, then I would say "maybe", but at that point we won't be considered an indie dev anymore.

I think the better question is can the large companies make enough money in the app store to continue to support their development efforts. The app store today is built to favor the most indie of the indie devs. How long it stays that way is anyone's guess.

Developer at IMAK Creations, creator of ColorTilt and other lesser known apps, like That Ain't It!
Blog, twitter
06-04-2009, 02:07 AM
#5
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Sweden
Posts: 1,634
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtocode View Post
Hi,

i wonder if indie developers can compete against the big publishers like gameloft or ngmoco. Look at the games gameloft have announced at E3. Omg they are damned polished. What do you think? Can indie developers compete against this big titles? Furthermore there are coming more and more good games out.
We indies can compete by innovation. Lead by innovation instead of follow others. Bigger companies are usually held back by old games they "need" to port, ineffective organizations and probably because they don't let devs take time off their day-to-day projects to try their own ideas.
06-04-2009, 06:44 AM
#6
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: The Land of The Rising Sun
Posts: 146
Indies can compete in terms of profit, if they are able to keep their development costs down.

Developer of Petri. Available now on the iTunes Store.

These days I work with Tonchidot on Sekai Camera.
06-04-2009, 07:09 AM
#7
At the rate apps are being released these days? I doubt anyone will be making much of a profit a year from. The market is huge, but is quickly reaching a saturation point. There's only so much free-time people have to spend on their devices, and once they are loaded up with a few pages of games, they will be much more descriminating in their future purchases.

Indie devs have the advantage of focusing their resources on quick launches, but the big houses see that the only way to set themselves apart from the swamp of apps out there is to invest heavily in quality. In the end quality is what will win people over, so it doesn't look great for inde devs, imo.
06-04-2009, 07:23 AM
#8
Joined: May 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadweight View Post
At the rate apps are being released these days? I doubt anyone will be making much of a profit a year from. The market is huge, but is quickly reaching a saturation point. There's only so much free-time people have to spend on their devices, and once they are loaded up with a few pages of games, they will be much more descriminating in their future purchases.

Indie devs have the advantage of focusing their resources on quick launches, but the big houses see that the only way to set themselves apart from the swamp of apps out there is to invest heavily in quality. In the end quality is what will win people over, so it doesn't look great for inde devs, imo.
I agree with you except that I don't equate indie devs with low quality. So, I would say that the subset of developers who focus on quality apps will win, and those who focus on quantity rather than quality will eventually have the odds stacked against them.

Developer at IMAK Creations, creator of ColorTilt and other lesser known apps, like That Ain't It!
Blog, twitter
06-04-2009, 08:30 AM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by M of IMAK View Post
I agree with you except that I don't equate indie devs with low quality. So, I would say that the subset of developers who focus on quality apps will win, and those who focus on quantity rather than quality will eventually have the odds stacked against them.

Heh, didn't mean it that way. I'd like to think our apps are quality apps as well. But you have to admit that the big houses will always be able to devote more resources to develop "higher-end" applications than we can. I absolutely could devote half a year to an app and produce something on par with any of the larger devs. But the risk is too great.

So to your point, yes the more time spent on an app the greater it's chance for success from an indie stanpoint. But I think the overall risk/reward for that strategy may even see quality indie devs struggling.

Sort of depressing now that I think about it. I think I need a drink.
06-04-2009, 10:19 AM
#10
Zen Bound focused on polish and controls and has sold >100k copies at $5 in exchange for roughly ten man months of work.

Is it repeatable? Most likely not. Each game is unique and the returns can vary from very good to disastrous. But on average, I do believe there's profitable business to be made on the iPhone with quality releases.

If you strike gold (here's looking at Touchgrind, Illusion Labs...) it does afford the luxury of not having to compromise with quality on the next releases.

Yes, indies can compete, and being a jaded old hermit, I have to say many of the releases from the large publishers do not impress me. Even games with major brands attached suffer from half-assed art direction, stuttering frame rates and tacked-on controls. For the audience who appreciates and recognizes quality, indies can compete very well.