The Games With Style Podcast

Encouraging smortsmanship in multiplayer games

Multiplayer is a big deal in the gaming industry. But a lot of games have incredibly toxic communities. In this 30 minute podcast, I am joined by Kristoffer Saeves as we delve into how games can promote good team synergy and why other games fall short of this.

FAQ about game development monetization

Q: How much should I charge for my indie game?

A: Most people are accustomed to upfront charges that pass ownership of one item to the one who purchases it. The majority of AAA (that is, professional) games cost an upfront charge $60 for most of their titles. Ben Gilbert (2018) remarks, “The craziest thing about video games being $60 is that they've gotten much, much more complicated to make over time, but the price has stayed exactly at $60”. This, of course, applies to games that take anywhere between 20-60+ hours to complete. For an indie developer, it would be mostly unreasonable to assume you will create enough content to last this long. In general, consider how much money your player is paying per hour of gameplay. It’s okay to admit if your game only has 2-3 hours of gameplay. Use this knowledge to maximize your profit, and price your game at a lower $5-10 range. Like all good marketers, poll the crowd! Ask colleagues and other people you know how much they would be willing to spend on your game.

Q: What is the best way to implement in-app purchases?

A: In-app purchases are everywhere, and they have a bad reputation of shaking down users for as much cash as possible. From the developer side however, they are a necessary evil. Regarding mobile apps, Nicholas Tissier (2022) states, “Statistics suggest that 48% of earnings derive from In-App Purchases.” The most profitable kind of in-app purchases for indie developers are known as consumables. The consist of extra moves, power ups, and virtual currency. These are especially profitable because they aren’t necessary to progress through gameplay and they are by far the easiest to implement. A user might find it worth spending $1.99 to buy some experience boosters that would ultimately save them hours out of their busy day. You want your player to get satisfaction of almost “cheating” the game without making things so easy they essentially pay for the game to be over. Make it fun!

Q: How should indie games be promoted to maximize profit?

A: Livestreaming development updates is a great start! A major mistake developers make is not advertising a game before its release. If people are already excited to play your game once it comes out, your sales will typically be higher than if you start marketing after the fact. However the most important aspect is presentation on the platform you sell your game on. The world’s most perfect game won’t get downloaded if it is not displayed well. Even though they consume time, a proper trailer for your game will do wonders to copies sold. KC Carnes remarks that “The trailer is your game’s best chance at making a great first impression and the asset that you absolutely need to get right.” Past that, stay active with your community. Word-of-mouth is your ally here. If someone really likes your game, they may show it to a friend. So make a game where people can easily and quickly tell that there’s something worth playing about your game.

Q: What role does platform choice play in monetizing an indie game?

A: The platform you make your game on should be decided before production begins on your indie game. Mobile games have entirely different audiences to PC games, and thus the gameplay should be adjusted accordingly. This majorly impacts profits, as mobile games rely on in-app purchases while PC games rely more on upfront purchases. Devin Pickell (2019) notices that PC games generally run better than console games. Graphic intensive games might should be marketed towards PC. Additionally PC is more fitting for simply indie games as there are broader markets to sell for indie games on PC rather than console.

Q: Should indie games offer demos?

A: There are very few downsides to releasing a demo for your indie game. Due to a general lack of advertising budget amongst indie games, a demos is a great way to show your audience what your game is actually like. Marie Dealessandri (2020) stated that, “Having a demo allows a developer or publisher to estimate how the final product will be perceived by its main audience, and receive feedback that they might not get otherwise.” If a potential buyer is interested in your game, they may shy away from paying money for a game they don’t know if they’ll like. With a demo, you can show them how fun your game actually is whilst simultaneously getting them invested in it.