It is becoming increasingly difficult for new indie developers to get noticed. Gains in technology have made it easier for people to develop games, but it’s a double-edged sword as the potential for these titles to get lost in the fray also increases. Jeff Sullivan, a spokesman for Microsoft described the Xbox Live Arcade as “saturated” with new titles.
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Services like Steam Greenlight make it a little easier for impressive games to see daylight, but there will always be titles consigned to obvlivion, even good ones. This is not a problem that is isolated to the indie game market. For burgeoning filmmakers, services like the iTunes store and Hulu are some of the best ways for them to get their product to the public, but again, these markets are saturated with content.
Even titles that have access to these methods of distribution can find it tough to make money: Hulu takes 50% of ad revenue and iTunes takes 30% of total sales. These are daunting realities for new developers, who may find, like writers in a shrinking publishing world have already found, that they may need to do their own marketing.
Sullivan offered some tips for producers hoping to get their games onto the XBL Arcade service:
- Gameplay that is immediately obvious to the player.
- Multiplayer options that include co-op play. “Co-op is crucial in the broadening effort,” said Sullivan.
- A worldwide appeal — not just North America.
- Appealing graphics.
- Downloadable content options.
- Tie-ins with orther products or games.