È Cliff Harris (in arte Cliffski) l'ultimo dev a suonare le campane a morto per la scena indie: in un post sul suo blog, Cliffski ha prima fatto un po' di conti in tasca a PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS, concludendo che finora ha guadagnato circa 100 milioni di dollari.
Di converso, l'indie attualmente a metà della classifica dei top seller di Steam (che conta 348 pagine in totale) guadagnerebbe solo 10.000 dollari all'anno. La morale è che quello dei videogiochi è un mercato dove solo chi è ai primissimi posti sopravvive...
Yes… these figures are very very rough, but I didn’t deliberately pick something bad, in fact I picked half way through the indie top sellers. Are we really thinking they sound so out of whack? This is a WINNER TAKES ALL market. You are either in the top 0.1% of indie game developers, or you are unemployed, with an expensive hobby where you make effectively free games.
...e questo è vero tanto per le new entry, quanto per i veterani come Cliffski...
Treat this as a disclaimer for my blog: You are reading the thoughts of a guy who was coding since age 11, has 36 years coding experience, has shipped over a dozen games, several of which made millions of dollars, got into indie dev VERY early, knows a lot of industry people, and has a relatively high public profile. And still almost NOBODY covered my latest game (in terms of gaming websites). Its extremely, extremely tough right now.
...e anche come quelli di Introversion Software, che in un video su YouTube (pubblicato lo stesso giorno del post di Cliffski, per coincidenza) hanno tristemente ammesso come il loro ultimo gioco, Scanner Sombre, non abbia venduto nemmeno 6.000 copie a due mesi dal lancio:
Gli Introversion Software, per chi non lo sapesse, sono gli autori di Prison Architect, vero e proprio fenomeno che a luglio dell'anno scorso ha raggiunto i due milioni di copie per un ammontare di circa 25 milioni di guadagni.
GamesIndustry riporta le parole di Mark Morris, producer del titolo:
I just thought there was a minimum number of people floating around on Steam, and if you did a reasonably good job on a game you were gonna get a reasonably big audience to it. It's not news. The so called Indie Apocalypse has been a thing for quite a while, but I've always thought to myself that not every game does really well... I didn't realise quite the extent of [it].
Inoltre, l'esperienza di Morris con le classifiche di Steam pare confermare l'ipotesi di Cliffski che "winner takes it all":
Scanner Sombre did make it into the top ten games on Steam on its first day, which suggests a relatively low bar for games to appear to be successful on Valve's platform. "Our sales numbers, as dire as they are, put us in the top 25% of all Steam games at the time," Delay said. Morris added that earning $50,000 in revenue actually puts a game around the top 15% - "which is a bit of a nuts thing, really."
Insomma, tornando a Cliffski, il consiglio è di andarci sempre cauti con la carriera indie...
Now, some people don’t flop, and do well. And that might be you, but I urge you, go into this job (like any other) with your eyes WIDE open. Your chances of success are incredibly, incredibly small. This is not a sensible career. This is not a wise career move. This is almost certainly personal financial suicide. You may (like me) feel compelled to make games regardless of success or failure, but ALWAYS know the odds. ALWAYS. (Han solo is wrong about his topic). I know people get inspired to make games by reading about the success of some developers (including me), and that’s great, but always know what you are doing. Do not remortgage your house to do this. Do not both quit your job and live off savings to do this when you have kids to support. Do not assume you are different or special.
...e la conclusione, ineluttabile, è che:
Link: YOUR INDIE GAME WILL FLOP AND YOU WILL LOSE MONEY
Link: Introversion's latest game has "bombed in a big way"