Critics Say iPhone Market is Not Working Out for Indies
There is an interesting piece on GamesIndustry.biz about how the iPhone market as a space for selling games is turning out:
Ready at Dawn boss Ru Weerasuriya recently commented to GamesIndustry International that the sector is actually looking more and more like the traditional games business everyday.
And that doesn’t bode well for the era of garage games and independent development on the platform.
“I have a lot of friends working in that environment, and the funny thing is that I know that it’s a great environment to be in because I love playing those games and I know that everybody does. But people have too easy a time thinking that, ‘Well, it only costs this much and we’re gonna make money,’ and it’s not necessarily the case,” he warned.
“Now you see these conglomerates really controlling the biggest and best or most money making titles, which, I don’t know, it’s kind of disheartening a little bit”
Weerasuriya continued, “I mean, if you really look at the market, at the thousands and thousands of games that are out there, there’s a very, very, very small percentage of them that literally do make money and their success is only shared by a very few big publishers on that front as well.”
That’s not to say that indies can’t succeed on iOS, but Weerasuriya’s remarks are certainly worth listening to. The App Store is filled with far more failures than successes. Rovio, remember, made over 50 games before striking it rich with Angry Birds.
I agree broadly. The market has got a much tougher place to get noticed in over the last few years and I don’t see that changing at all.
It’s not totally the same as the older models, because the openess of the platform to newcomers means those at the top have a much more precarious grip on their position now than they would have had over the physical games market when the cost of publishing kept indies out. That said the ‘goldrush’ of apps into the market – over 300 per day does make it hard to both get noticed (as a developer) and find the sort of games you like (as a gamer). It is hard to know what an answer might be for the discover-ability problem; perhaps indie developers banding together to pool marketing costs so as to collectively make more of an impact?