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Indie Games Go Retail

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the indie-in-a-box dept.


Via GameSetWatch, an AP story about a boxed edition of several IGF entrants. The Independent Games festival has attracted a number of creative designers, and the results are now available on the retail shelves. From the article: "Indie games aren't commonplace outside of the World Wide Web. Despite that, Moondance successfully wooed Best Buy to stock 'IG: Independent Games' on their shelves beginning last fall. The disc features such casual games as the engineering sim 'Bridge Construction Set' and the popular robot battle game 'Dark Horizons Lore Invasion.' 'Our strategy is to have games for all kinds of gamers: traditional gamers, family gamers and now independent gamers,' says Chris Koller, merchandising director for video games at Best Buy."

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Is it me or (2, Insightful)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15398758)

Are these going to just look like those "Collection of 5 billion arcade games for your PC..." which are infact about 100 copies of the same game, which are freely downloadable, but now enclosed with a special spyware packaging and nice cost attached?

If they aren't, im wondering how they are going to manage to differienciate between the two. I mean, do these indie games offer working support?

Re:Is it me or (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15398807)

'Bridge Construction Set'?!? Is that the best indie game they could come up with? Maybe there's a reason that nobody wanted to market these games...
'Hey Kids! How would you like to build a bridge on your computer?' hoo boy! that sounds like fun!

Re:Is it me or (1)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15399595)

It's a great puzzle game! It's the sequel to Pontifex. If you haven't tried it, you should.

Re:Is it me or (3, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15401064)

It usually sells as a standalone for 20-30 Euros. Very popular game among those who play it. Kids love Legos, this is even better because it's just hilarious to watch the ways you can exploit the physics. A bridge that is only held together by three girders after most of the support structure broke away and holds only long enough for the train to pass the prerequisite number of times?

Re:Is it me or (4, Informative)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15398868)

Dark Horizons has a pretty robust fanbase. They even had their own convention last year somewhere in PA. I know the devs are proud of their game and participate in the community a bit. I've also heard good things about bridge constructor set. There also is a demo of Gish, which was a prime example of a solid indie game. I cant really speak for the rest of the collection, but at least some interesting indie titles are making it to retail.

Fudge Dick (-1, Troll)

ThePuD (743548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15398764)

"Fudge Dick" is the indy game choice of the GNAA.

the biggest hurdle (3, Insightful)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15398805)

Seems to be like the biggest hurdle for these games to succeed in retail is precisely why they do well online -- space.

For most new products, the hurdle of limited space drastically reduces the ability for a newcomer to make a dent in the market. Stores have little reason to stock something they're unsure of, and they know little about it. That goes doubly so for video games, due to the sheer magnitude of games, let alone how drastically different the games are. How do you explain to a customer that a new indie game is "the perfect mix of Robotron and Tetris blended with a reactive light synth" if they've only played Tetris before... and the professional Tetris is sitting just one row over?

Online, all of these games can build up a reputation for quality, or graphics, or just plain fun gameplay. I don't see how moving into a retail space really helps the indie developers, especially if they end up bundled with other games, or forced to share shelf space with non-indie games. I mean, I almost never see people actively perusing the "cheapy" software aisles at Best Buy. It just seems like a bad pairing to add more software that people have never heard of without the advantages of an online network of support, namely large screenshots, lots of actual customer reviews, demos, and so on.

Money making or attention grabbing? (2, Insightful)

Soong (7225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15398855)

Will this actually make a profit for any of the indie game devs on there? Amazon sells it for $27.99, suppose their distributor gets $15 and passes on $7 in royalties to split up umong all the game devs. So, maybe you get $0.10 per disk sold. If they sold 100,000 of these (a number which seems high to me), sure I'd be amused with the $10,000 I made off a game I wrote in my spare time.

Maybe the speculative win here is to get popular through this channel, have people reccommend your game to friends and have them pay $$ directly into your site to buy a copy from you. Or get repeat business and have people who bought the disc buy your next game for $$ from your site.

Anyway, best of luck to them all, but I won't be buying until the MacOS X version comes out. :-P

Re:Money making or attention grabbing? (3, Informative)

ggambett (611421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15399181)

In our case, the money is in downloadable games, but retail opportunities do bring in some additional money, and in any case, seeing your game in a box feels amazing :) For example our Wild West Wendy was published in Germany and Russia - see here []

does it work on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15401008)

Your development environment is Linux, but you don't distribute a Linux version?

Re:Money making or attention grabbing? (1)

XXIstCenturyBoy (617054) | more than 8 years ago | (#15400514)

Money making or attention grabbing?

I'm sure that one or the other is good for any indie dev...

Forget it, huh? (0)

DoktorSeven (628331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15398888)

Warren Spector, go suck it. []

AHAHAHAHA. Pompous ass.

Re:Forget it, huh? (2, Insightful)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15399082)

Actually, if you read your own link, he's refering to having an idea and trying to market it to a large game company such as EA. As an indie myself I have to say, I agree with him. What were talking about here is more then just ideas. Were talking about developing games and marketing them ourselves (via the net or through this new IGF channel), a very doable task.

Re:Forget it, huh? (2, Insightful)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15399635)

Which, to complete your comment, is actually what Warren Spector generally writes about Indie development having to do now. Mr. Spector is not an idiot, nor is he an industry tool. The difficulties he notes are quite valid. The difficulties are ones of scale (i.e. you don't see a Morrowind or Oblivion coming out of the Indie camp), and liscensing issues, among others.

Those were the days (3, Funny)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15399369)

Back in the day, indie games were called "Budget games" and came on an audio cassette.
And if they were crap, we'd tape music over them.

radio (3, Informative)

angrymilkman (957626) | more than 8 years ago | (#15399402)

Back in the day, indie games were called "Budget games" and came on an audio cassette. And if they were crap, we'd tape music over them. I can still remember c64 software being broadcast over the radio in the early mornings... but that is another story. If indie game developers are smart, which they no doubt are, why would they want to lose money on a publisher (which only spends it on a box and a disc) One of my indie game developer friends just sell his game on his site and it sells remarkably well. (no ferraris yet) With indie games your in a completely different market, and a good game will sell itself eventually.

This is nothing new (3, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15399916)

Who says Indie games dont go retail? is on sale in the US by Take 2 is on sale throughout europe.
Slinging multiple games on 1 disk just sounds like a way to ensure the developer earns little or nothing from the sale.

Re:This is nothing new (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15401913)

Slinging multiple games on 1 disk just sounds like a way to ensure the developer earns little or nothing from the sale.

It sounds like that, but it also sounds like the only way a lot of Indie titles can hope to get retail shelf space at all.

Problem is, bundling multiple titles together (especially if there's not a unifying theme) screams 'cheap' to the consumer. If a single game has a $20 price sticker on it, people are going to feel like the game is worth twenty bucks. But if a box with 10 games in it sells for $20, people aren't going to feel like they're getting a $200 value. They're going to place a value of only two dollars on each game.

Re:This is nothing new (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15402760)

I think has been on sale in Iraq for a couple years now with lackluster results, so we've changed our marketing strategy to a more forceful approach. :)

Don't jump all over me, it's a joke, and I tend to lean right... so please just laugh.. no flamewars needed.

Indie (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15400274)

The Independent Games festival

That answers the question "what is with India producing all those games.." and why I've not seen games from India for sale around.

Goddam' reporters and their slang... slang.... stuff!

Nothing's changed (3, Insightful)

dosboot (973832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15400307)

First of all the title of the box was poorly chosen since not all Independent games are casual.

Casual games aren't exactly new to retail. What you don't see at Best Buy are the non-casual games produced by independent developers. It is a shame too, as independent developers are forced to make boat loads of casual games precisely because they can't get retail space without a big name publisher. Not that there aren't incredibly good indy casual games (Oasis comes to mind... [] ), but I think gamers are starting to clamor for more innovation in regular games and they aren't getting it from the big name publishers.

Publishers and retailers are idiots as far as we the gamers are concerned. Some may be good at what they do, but they know nothing about games. They shouldn't be calling all the shots but they are. They basically have homogenized interests: big name sequels, flashy graphics, me-too gameplay. At best publishers might sometimes insist on "checkbox innovation", but that's all.

I think the industry senses gamers venting on message boards and blogs, and they are seeing it in declining sales on all games that aren't huge mega-productions. The industry itself is starting to employ "checkbox indy" as a stall tactic. You can already see it creeping up like in this article and like in XBox Marketplace speeches (if there are mostly non-casual games on marketplace correct me, but all I hear about is Geometry Wars and other casual games). When Sony and Nintendo launch their own online marketplaces they'll probably spin a similar line about offering 'exciting innovative games' while in reality the only (non-classic) games available will be casual.

Indie Games (1)

JRSchulke (977144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15405114)

I can't believe some of you are complaining about decent independent games getting a chance to broaden their audience. Whether or not the developers get the money they deserve from the package, there's a much larger chance now that someone will play one of their games, maybe show it to a friend, they show it to a friend, so on and so forth. I think its a great idea.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15405288)

I'd buy the mainstream without ever visting a store if I could download them. I purchased my last 5 games via mail order without seeing them in a store.

I really enjoy some games from "smaller" vendors: PopCap games for instance.

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