So, let’s imagine that you’ve completed your Train2Game course and a small group of you have formed your own little independent studio with a Games Developer, a Games Designer and a Games Artist and Animator. You make a game, a great game that you feel is amazing, but due to the competitive market, your title doesn’t sell as well as you’d hoped. What do you do?
Give up? No, don’t be silly! When did Train2Game ever teach you to do that?
Work on another project and just hope that it sells a bit better? Hmmm, maybe.
Send out a questionnaire asking people why they’re not buying your games?
That last one sounds a bit farfetched doesn’t it? Well, not necessarily because that’s what one independent developer has done.
Positech Games is a UK-based one man games company run by Cliff ‘Cliffski’ Harris, who last year released a title called Gratuitous Space Battles which has generally received favourable reviews. Now in the name of self-improvement, Cliffski is asking ‘“Why didn’t you buy Gratuitous Space Battles?” He says:
“I am NOT complaining. I am NOT moaning about sales. I am NOT unhappy with sales, I am not whining or anything like it. I just like making games that people enjoy, and I don’t know why the people who didn’t buy it, didn’t buy it. I’d like to know. The answers may well make it a better game for everyone, if I fix those reasons (if they make sense). It will make the game attractive to current fence-sitters, better for current owners, and more sales for me and my cats.”
Anyone, including you – yes, you – can email Cliff and tell him why you didn’t buy his game. Responses so far range from ‘I have too many games to play’ to ‘I don’t like strategy games’ to even ‘Before reading this I’d never heard of your game’ Hopefully this information has been useful to Cliffksi and he’ll benefit from it as a independent developer.
However, it isn’t the first time he’s asked the general population on the Internet about issues relating to his games. Two years ago, Cliff asked ‘Why do people pirate my games?’ and the responses he got led to the removal of DRM from his games.
Positech games may be a tiny developer, but he has allowed the general gaming public to have a say on his company’s products and this has had had an impact on sales. This could be an important lesson to any Train2Game students trying to break into the industry – you need to listen to your audience – their attitude towards your games could essentially make or break them.
Would you consider asking people who haven’t played your game why they didn’t buy it?