In Indie Game: The Movie, several developers mention how their intended audience is themselves. Nabokov also claimed, “I write for myself in multiplicate.” Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves starts off with the dedication, “This is not for you.” The developer of the protest game In a Permanent Save State addresses the issue of audience when Free Tea With Purchase asked about the audience for his own game, which decries iPhone production methods while being played on an iPhone:
As for ethics of being a game designer, the main thing I always tell myself everyday when it’s pencil to paper is ‘cater to their needs’. I screened Indie Game: The Movie recently and all the developers in the film were fascinating. One line however irked me when it was mentioned that ‘I made this [art] for myself and no one else’. While I understand the trajectory behind that statement, how can one have a game without the audience? Work in this field especially is a process which ends in the retinas and synapses of the player. Some in other fields of art, such as Alan Kaprow and his performative happenings, can get away with such a bold display of identity and being a tree which falls in the woods. At this juncture of time, I would say video games have a more difficult time in doing so.
Rather than waste money on market research, why not have an audience in mind whom you know intimately: yourself. It’s a logical conclusion, but it’s shortsighed at best to have game makers tell us that no one else is the intended audience for their games.