Less Space and Future for Indie Games on the Big Portals?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Tom Gilleland, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. Game Designer

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Clones

    Fill me in on the history. You statement in itself doesn't mean anything to me.



    Seems like if someone can knock off your game in a week or two then there is not much to it. Granted, first to market does not always mean that you will be the most successful but there are other factor.


    I took a brief look at your blog when I was riding in on the train this morning and I have to tell you that the whole anti-clone thing may be a wasted effort. Clones are here to stay. It's the nature of business (at least in the U.S.) IBM couldn't stop Compaq and the wave of clones that came after.

    This goes to the root of ideas and games of the past.

    Wasn't Galaga just a clone of Galaxian with a twist? Wasn't Galaxian just another twist on Space Invaders? Remember Gorf? Then there were games like 1942 and a lot of vertical shooters. Of course Space Invaders did quite well and created the genre. I remember waiting for hours just to get a turn on the machine. A few years later Pac Man become one of the most successful games ever by being radically different.

    I don't know which games you have produced but by looking at the Titan Attacks screenshots and description (from your sig link) it sure looks like a Galaxian/Galaga clone with a little Defender thrown in. My point is that while some games may be blatant rip offs of other games, others may borrow concept from previous work.

    Chris Taylor did OK with Total Annihilation which was yet another RTS game at the time. He went on to do Dungeon Siege which was was nothing new but has some unique elements and was fun to play.

    When I think about my favorite games of all time by big publishers they all have a common thread to them. In no particular order:

    Pirates
    Leisure Suit Larrys (not the new one)
    Kings Quests and Space Quests
    Heroes of Might and Magic
    Civilization
    Sim City 1
    Sim Tower
    Warcraft 2
    Diablo and Diablo 2
    C&C Red Alert
    Fallout 1 & 2

    there are more, but this serves my point

    Although most of these games have been "cloned", I know of no successful clone that hurt any of these titles.

    So if your game is compelling/engaging and is fun to play it really doesn't matter what other people do.
    ________
    Dodge Spirit
     
    #81 Game Designer, Mar 21, 2006
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  2. Game Designer

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    #82 Game Designer, Mar 21, 2006
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  3. berserker

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    0
    I though whole point of doing business is making money.
    See, not everyone here wants to just "make games", a lot of people want to "make games AND business" - that is where portals step in as very important variable in equation.
    ________
    Vapor tower
     
    #83 berserker, Mar 21, 2006
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011
  4. soniCron

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    Messages:
    3,664
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why don't we compromise on the "indie" thing? That way people like cliffski can be "indies" and people like me can be "indies." But we'll call people like cliffski "purists." Sound fair? I'd agree I'm not a purist in that regard, but I insist I am an indie.
     
  5. princec

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,873
    Likes Received:
    0
    It would on the other hand probably kick me square in the nuts if Real decide to release a space invaders clone with special pixelly retro graphics that had little parachuting aliens and an upgrade shop though wouldn't it.

    Cas :)
     
  6. Ricardo C

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,349
    Likes Received:
    3
    Nah, then Real's competitors would come after you and sign you to a big fat exclusive deal ;)
     
  7. Glen Pawley

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know if what I have to say is so obvious or so wrong that in either case I need to be hit with the stupid stick, but the struggles in the 'indie' scene right now, such as this and the clones argument all seem to me to be the side effect of the 'indie' scene growing up.

    Where we are right now parallels a great deal where the mainstream game industry was in the 80s. Portals are simply the publishers/retails of the internet game industry. The argument that on the internet you can get to customers cheaper is to my mind naive. As the internet becomes more popular retailers and publishers which previously concentrated their marketing efforts in the physical world are increasingly directing their budgets to the online equivalents (or are being supplanted by those that do), driving up the cost of being heard until it is not much better than that of being heard in meatspace. We're currently in a period of flux until this 'new order', so to speak, establishes itself. It doesn't mean indie development will die, but I think in a few short years the term indie development will have changed its meaning yet again, and it wont describe a lot of us. Successful indie businesses today will be percieved as another flavour of the game industry, if not its mainstay.
     
  8. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    3,897
    Likes Received:
    0
    online indies have vastly more potential than meatspace indies. In the physical world, you have your local shops, and shops that sell obscure products may be 10 hours drive or even 10 hours plane journey away.
    In cyberspace, once you know about a niche product, its there *boom* a single mouse click away. And google is like an infinitely huge telephone directory of specialist shops searchable in milliseconds.
    Now granted, it still leaves the whole problem or the customer having to bother to look for you, but thats only half of the problem in meatspace.
    The portals might be *trying* to grab 100% of the online games market share, but they will never succeed like the publishers have in the retail world. As long as there is http and google, I will be able to connect directly to my customers.
     
  9. Glen Pawley

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Except that because of their purchasing power the online retailers can crowd you out of Google as well - if only because their website is linked from a million others.

    As for niche products, that is essentially what I meant in my original statement. That indie today is no longer 'niche' because of its recent profitability. But it will be again, once the market adjusts itself.
     
  10. papillon

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    0
    They may be able to crowd you out of things like 'free games online' and other such generic keywords, but they can't hide your unique product that they aren't offering - that's the sort of niche cliffski was talking about, I believe.
     
  11. Sakura Games

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cliffsky had to buy a sponsored result to appear 1st on google with keyword "political game". Until that one is cheaper than his profit, is ok...
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer