No One Knows About Your Game

My GDC 2013 Indie Game Summit soapbox[1] was titled No One Knows About Your Game. It's a spiritual sequel to my 2011 soapbox, 5 Minutes Worth of Observations about AAA Indie Games, and it's about how even if you think you have a lot of press and awareness, for all practical purposes, no one knows about your game.

This audio was from a rehearsal, not the actual IGS version of the talk, but that was on somebody else's laptop, so I didn't record it.

One key point from this talk is the following theory of mine, partially based on analyzing what happened with Spore:

You cannot overhype a game, you can only underdeliver.

This is just a theory, however, and several indie developers I respect disagree with it. In the talk I quote Phil Fish talking about overhyping Fez, and I had a slide with a shot from The Stanley Parable blog showing how to hype without spoilers, but then a couple years after this talk, Davey Wreden released his next game, The Beginner's Guide, as a complete surprise with no hype at all.

Another observation I discuss in the talk is the Cheng Infinity Hypothesis, which is the name I've given to Jamie Cheng's theory about how indie-scale games effectively have an infinite number of potential players who might buy them, meaning you can always do more marketing, mess up a PR pitch or a patch and then fix it, and never have to regret too much a missed opportunity; you will never run out of potential customers. Obviously if you're making Call of Duty or The Sims you might run out of customers at some point because you're trying to get all of humanity to buy your game, but at indie scale this is not an issue.

Sean Barrett tweeted this in response to my announcement of this post:

  1. Which is like a rant, but nicer!
This page was last edited on 21 September 2021, at 21:48.