Jump on the Bandwagon?

I was just reading a forum thread where the poster (an associate) said:

“I have it on very good authority that the best selling genres at the moment are Match 3’s and the ‘Find random objects in a busy screen’ games”

And they then went on to say:

“I’m also told that a good Match 3 game is no longer enough to be a hit. It needs a twist, a la Cradle of Rome, to hold the player’s interest.

Way I see it, I have two choices.

1. Swallow my pride and adopt a tried-and-tested formula.
2. Take a risk and do something else.

Bearing in mind that I don’t want to invest a load of time in a game that won’t sell, I’m not sure what to do. Jumping on the match 3 bandwagon doesn’t exactly fill me with joy, either.”

Welcome to the dilemma of being a professional Indie my friend! Well I jumped on the match-3 bandwagon quite a while ago now (nearly 2 years!) and I explained why in this post.

Anyway, the other major seller right now is those management type games e.g Diner Dash, Nanny Mania, Cake Mania etc.

Some other sim games also do OK like the Virtual Villager games.

Oh and card games always sell.

And Zuma clones, but you don’t see many these days since Luxor pretty much cornered the market.

Plus some word games.

So guess what I’m making at the moment? Actually don’t bother cos I can’t tell you.

Apart from that lot you’ll have a job making any real money from say a platformer, shooter, or a “unique” puzzle game. I see lots of “innovative” “never been done before” puzzle games, but they don’t sell, not really. And forget making money from a whacky “arty” Indie game unless you are one in oooh 10,000. Look at Gish, didn’t make that much money…

The point is whatever you make, you have to make it fantasically polished and with a “story/cartoon strip” and a “map” and probably a meta game (like Cradle of Rome). This is on top of all the usual stuff like profiles, Vista support, options screen, stats/high scores, fancy intro and animated title screen, blah blah. Oh and a Mac version. Good luck!

4 Responses to “Jump on the Bandwagon?”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Very good post. Its up to what the customers want to buy. Just like food if they want fish and chips they want fish and chips. You just have to add something along with that to make them bite.

    Our company strategy is to churn out a game every month. Currently we have 4 games comming out from 4 months of production.

  2. Grey Alien Games Says:

    wow that’s a lot of games! My current one has taken 3 months so far. Hope the quality of your is still high enough to make customers bite.

  3. Stephen Says:

    I know. This is our current strategy which is high production. The cost for this year of investment is about $150 a week or like me paying of a new car (paying for coding,music). So its new car or make X games. If it tanks (0 to low sales) no harm as well as it makes my resume look good. Also the way I look at it I just don’t get to drive my new car if I do not succeed.

    If the high production strategy does not work out I will switch over to a high risk 6 month project in the first half of 2008. And by December 2008 if all 10-14 games done not much I go get normal steady job and make 1 game per year for fun :). Also I am getting to know coding teams around the world so when I do splash out on the high risk game I will be working with a good team.

    So like rocky I am ready for about 10-14 hits :). I watched that movie on the plane coming back from Holiday and it was good.

  4. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Interesting strategy. I personally think that you might be better off spending 3-4 months per game and really polishing each one well so that it sells well, otherwise it may look cheap compared to other portal titles. Anyway, you havea good positive attitude and I wish you well!