The ugly truths of indie publishers

Source: Pixabay.

1 — Wishlists are the main figures that matter to them

Indie publishers used to suck at predicting a game’s success before its release. Nowadays, we know that wishlists have a huge impact on how games will sell at their release. A low number of wishlists is a bad sign.

  • 100 wishlists/day is crazy good.
  • 50 wishlists/day is very interesting and promising.
  • 20 wishlists/day is an average good indie game on Steam.
  • 10 wishlists/day is a bit low and probably not worth investing 50k into the project.
  • 5 wishlists/day is a catastrophe and you need to rework MAJOR parts of your game, marketing or design.
Source: Pixabay.

2 — They will drop out of the game if it doesn’t bring money

Publishers don’t want to support your game forever. They have a bandwidth: their time is limited and they need to release new games. Most of the money comes from releases and big sales. Updates are cool for the long tail, but it doesn’t bring money to their company.

Source: Pixabay

3 — They’re great at getting past trends and unable to predict future trends

Publishers have a high need for cash flow so they’re playing safe 90% of the time. The 10% left is their gamer ego that wants to fund the games they’ve always loved as a kid. That’s why you’ll see Devolver publishing both high-quality multiplayer games (Fall Guys, Absolver) and 2D retro pixel art (Carrion, Loop Hero).

Source: Pixabay

4 — They’re unable to see placeholders for what they are

When you send a vertical slice or prototype, it needs to be super fun. It is a hundred times better to have a high-quality 10-minute demo than a medium-quality 100-minute demo. That’s normal, they’re humans after all.

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Tavrox Games

Tavrox Games

French indie game studio developping turn-based games