At Develop this afternoon, a collection of crack indie devs had a chat about how to make money as a micro-studio.
But the big question often asked of indie games remains: how much is too much for an independently developed title?
“That’s a tough, tough issue,” said Mark Morris, MD of Introversion Software – known for Uplink, Darwinia and Defcon, among others. But he’s confident that checking what similar developers are charging, and going down the same route. And if a major platform like Steam is happy to sell it, but only for $10, then for goodness’ sake don’t start demanding $30, he urged.
Robin Lacey noted that Valve, who run Steam, in fact told Beatnik Games that their title Plain Sight would make more money selling at $10 than at $15 – simply by the lower price generating higher sales figures.
Morris and Lacey, along with one-man studio Cliff Harris – a.k.a. Positech Games – agree that Steam is a good platform to hit (although Harris did also note that it’s good to be independent and sell direct, a suggestion Morris was vocally supportive of). But what if you’re not developing for PC?
That’s the problem Sean Murray, manager of Hello Games, faced with the excellent Joe Danger. Obviously, making a PS3 game, only the PlayStation Network was an option. But the price point debate remains – and Murray noticed different results to the others through selling their game for $15.
“Everyone told us not to do it. Absolutely everyone,” he said. “But we were really stubborn and cocky. We’ll never know how much we would have sold [at $10]. But we were lucky: no one complained about the price.”