Last year, we surveyed our community and produced our State of Independent Game Development report.
Since then, we’ve been looking at the numbers and what that means for indie devs. Last month’s feature covered how we sell indie games and was pretty much the last thing we had to say about it.
However, now that we’ve looked through everything, here’s our quick summary bringing everything together.
Let’s get to it!
The State of Independent Game Development in the Community
There are almost as many indie developers in our community with commercial aspirations as there are hobbyists (45% to 55% respectively). Almost all of them are working on their own or in a small team (85%) with little to no formal training (78%).
Most devs (69%) have no budget and even more (75%) have no marketing budget. The majority do everything themselves and very few (15%) were working with a publisher.
Indie games account for over 95% of all games on Steam but only account for about 40% of sales. 80% of devs are doing their own marketing with even fewer (56%) enjoying it.
A significant minority (42%) don’t have a website or a social media presence on Facebook (60%), Instagram (52%), or TikTok (73%).
Most devs have their game on Steam (66%) or Itch.io (64%) but very few have them on consoles (between 20% and 25%, depending on the platform).
Almost all devs (88%) agree discounts result in more sales and the majority (59%) saw value in featuring their games in competitions or giveaways.
Most significantly, a lot of devs (66%) weren’t happy with how their games were performing.
From what we’ve seen, too few of the indie devs in our community are marketing their games sufficiently (or at all), which may be contributing to a lack of awareness and sales of their games – leading to the majority of respondents feeling unsatisfied with their game’s success.
If you’re making your indie game for fun, or you simply want to learn more about making games and the independent game industry, then these insights might not be entirely useful, but should still make for interesting reading in case you change your mind in the future.
In contrast, any developer looking for commercial success from their indie game might want to study the data to see where any missed opportunities might lie.
For what it’s worth, our opinion is that indie devs looking for commercial success need to be far more proactive in marketing their games.
Hoping that customers will stumble across their projects without heavy interference via marketing is not a good strategy.
It’s time to change the thinking that marketing is just a “nice to have” to an absolute, undeniable necessity.
Find Out More
We hope you found the State of Independent Games Development report and series.
If you want to find out more about marketing your indie game and avoid falling into some of the pitfalls we’ve highlighted throughout the series, you can find our Indie Bandits Marketing Clinic episodes on YouTube and the audio versions in our podcast feed.
For early access to these sessions and other perks, you can always support Indie Bandits on Patreon.
Polling has already begun for next year’s State of Independent Games Development Report so if you’d like to be a part of it, check out the #SOIGD hashtag on Twitter.