Marketing Plan for Indie Games

Gamasutra has a new article outlining a basic plan for marketing indie games. The plan is short and simple in presentation and uses Poly Count Productions‘ new indie game, Edoiki, to walk the reader through all the steps involved.

The author, Juuso Hietalahti (Poly Count Productions, GameProducer.net) makes a great point in his first step:

1. Goals – Make Sure You Know Where You Are Heading

I would bet that this one step is both the most important and most forgotten step of most marketing and project plans. I know when I plan my game projects, I forget this step. If you don’t know where you want to go, how are you going to get there?

By solidifying the goals of your project, the rest should be much easier to plan and execute. Not only will this help your marketing plan, but also your final product.

Tuncer Dennis: Bungie, Marathon, & Indie Game Developers

Tuncer Dennis (Inside Mac Games, Mac Game Store, Mac Game Files) has a post on his blog about the days when he used to work with the game studio, Bungie.

He includes a nice little video on the days right before the launch of their game Marathon. Though Tuncer is no Spielberg, it’s interesting to see the “behind the scenes” look.

A nice bonus is Tuncer’s brief comments on all the hoopla surrounding the recent negative comments on indies in the game industry by Warren Spector. Tuncer has been involved with the game industry for quite some time so it’s nice to see a another perspective on this issue.

Are Video Games Art? Do Games Make Good Movies?

GBGames has some commentary on Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert’s review of the movie, “Silent Hill” and statements that games are not art.

I have not seen nor played “Silent Hill”, but I have seen and played “Doom” and watched “Resident Evil” (which I quite liked).

I find Ebert’s comments quite silly, actually. Games don’t make great movies, not because of art, subject matter, or anthying else other than who makes the movie.

Movies are made from screenplays by hundreds, if not thousands of people. The screenplay and the storyboards are the blueprints for the film. The filmmakers are the artists and craftsman. The game is just the inspiration for the screenplay and storyboards.

The reason “Doom” wasn’t a good movie is not becuase it was based on a video game, it’s because the screenplay was terrible, the direction was uninspired, and the acting was second-rate at best and the story was completely unoriginal.

But, it certainly was not worse (art or otherwise) than movies that were not based on games, such as any of the “Nightmare on Elmstreet” sequals.

Now, as to whether a game can be art. Again, this is silly as well. As GB states, art is in the eye of the beholder. While I didn’t personally enjoy “Myst” as a game, I thought the game itself was very artistic, if not down right beautiful. I remember the first time I played “Balder’s Gate”. I was blown away by the artwork making up the world in that game. Certainly, if you took the map “artwork” by itself you can’t deny that that’s art. Background music? Art. Storyline and narrative? Sounds like a book or screenplay. Again, art.

Now how about the reverse. If movies are art, then the “Star Wars” movies are certainly considered some of the most popular works of art ever. What about the scores of “Star Wars” games released by Lucas Arts? Art?

What if Orsen Wells decided to base a movie on a game? I bet it would be just a tad bit better received by Roger Ebert.

The Indie Developer’s Guide To Selling Games

A new book has just been published that hopes to help indie game developers in the area of business that most of us struggle with. Besides the actual game design and development, marketing is the most important aspect of reaching success as an indie game developer.

No matter how good your game is, if no one knows about it, your sales will suffer.

Joseph Lieberman of VGSmart specializes in indie game marketing and has taken his expertise and compiled it into one volume. The Indie Developer’s Guide to Selling Games is available in paperback ($34.95) and PDF (27.95).