Why Do We Make Games? | The State of Independent Game Development

Welcome to The State of Independent Games, our new article series based on our annual community report. If you haven’t already, make sure you first check out the report.

Before we can start talking about independent games and marketing them, we need to think about every project’s raison d’être – why developers are making their games, who they are, who they’re working with, and what their ultimate goal is.

The most important thing for us to find out from the community was why they make games. After all, how you make and market your game will depend on whether or not it ultimately has a personal or commercial goal.

For fun or work?

For independent game developers, the motivation behind their games should dictate how they make and market them. A slight majority (55.3%) of respondents are making their projects “for fun”, while the rest (44.7%) make games professionally.

Keep this number in mind as it’s important as we look at the approaches developers are taking, especially when we start talking about budgets marketing in a future episode.

Who are they making their games with?

The independent aspect of “indie” games means different things to different people, but it certainly doesn’t mean “alone”. That said, the notion of the “solo dev” is still very popular in our community and we found that most respondents are making their games on their own (59.6%).

Small teams are also popular, with over a third of respondents (35.5%) working in teams containing fewer than ten people.

What is their background in game development?

With so many devs making games for fun as a hobby, we wouldn’t expect to see a lot of people with any formal training or education. However, we found that a whopping 77.7% had no formal education in game development at all.

Of course, this figure only applies to “formal” game development as many respondents mentioned having educational backgrounds in related fields like “software development” and “computer science”.

Many others also mentioned autodidacticism using the material widely available online and there was a feeling that many felt that higher education was a costly and ineffective way to learn skills that they could learn elsewhere at a much lower cost.

Find Out More

Next time, we’ll be looking at how we make games including budgets, multitasking, and outsourcing.

Throughout the series, we’ll be sharing our insights from our findings and also discussing more how we make games and how to better market them.

We’ll also be streaming discussions live on our Twitch channel before making them available on our YouTube and our podcast.

For early access to these sessions, support us on Patreon.

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