COOPETITION BETWEEN INDIE GAME DEVS MAKES EVERYONE BETTER
Coopeition is the concept of working with your competition to reach a mutually benefical goal. It’s common in many industries, but game development is particularly well-suited to reaping the rewards of coopetition. Here are some ways to use it to get more exposure for your game.
This is perhaps the most visible form of coopeition happening in the indie game scene right now. Humble Bundle launches a couple of bundles every week, but many other stores also offer indie game bundles.
The downside of bundles has been sufficiently covered in recent years, but the upside is also significant. Sure, you won’t earn as much per sale, but you’ll have gamers buying a bundle with your game because there are a few other games in the bundle they want, and the price is low enough to still make it a deal for them.
This does two things for you. First, it puts a little bit of money in your pocket from someone who otherwise wasn’t intending to buy your game. Second, it gets someone to try your game who otherwise wouldn’t have. If they like it, they may seek out other games you’ve released which could lead to further sales, maybe even at full price!
Group sales are slightly different than bundles. Instead of offering all the games in a single pack, the games instead share a marketing effort. All games offer a discount at the same time and usually display it in one place (like a single web site).
The Indiependence Day sale is a recent high-profile example, although it isn’t really a sale at all. The games are offered at full price. Still, it garnered lots of attention which led to increased sales for the participating studios.
Like bundles, this pools fans of various games together and shows them all of the games on offer. By way of example, a fan of Axiom Verge might learn about the sale, check it out, and end up leaving with a copy of Elegy of a Dead World. It may have been difficult for Dejobaan to reach this player otherwise, but it was easy through the group sale. By placing it next to a game the player enjoyed and telling about it through that game’s established channels, the player was made aware of the other game.
Joint Conference Booths
Conference space is expensive, but it can be extremely valuable to recruit new fans and gain great feedback. You can make it cheaper, however, by sharing a booth with other indie devs.
You could do this through one of the businesses that organize these indie booths like Indie MEGABOOTH, or you could simply ask another developer if they’d like to share a booth with you.
There are hundreds of other ways coopetition can bring more attention to your games. Organize a livestream with other developers to benefit a charity. Collaborate with another developer on a new game. Include characters from the other developer’s game in your game. You’re limited only by your imagination.
Game development is especially well-suited to this idea of coopetition. Games enthusiasts aren’t typically choosing between one game or another, at least, not in the long-term. Players will buy many games. If they buy a competitor’s game now, that doesn’t mean they won’t buy yours later.
You can take part in coopetition knowing you aren’t diminishing your own sales. You stand only to gain new fans by reaching audiences outside your own.