The Business of Indie Games
Everything You Need to Know to Conquer the Indie Games Industry
"The Business of Indie Games provides exceptional insight into how the video games industry works. It shares valuable information on how to successfully self-publish and secure publisher support. Whether you’re making your first game or tenth, this book is a must read."
– Paul Baldwin, Curve Digital
"The video game industry is a tough business and anyone looking to succeed in indie development should give The Business of Indie Games a read."
– Graham Smith, Co-Founder of DrinkBox Studios
"This book is a fast track to success for anyone managing a game launch and looking to raise funding for their projects. It shares knowledge that you only learn after years of triumphs and failures within this industry."
– Scott Drader, Co-Founder of Metalhead Software
"There’s nothing like The Business of Indie Games taught in school. You learn how to make a game, but not how to conduct business, market, and launch a game. This book dives into topics that every indie developer should know."
– Yukon Wainczak, Founder of Snoozy Kazoo
"I’ve seen no better guide for understanding how the video game industry really works. An important read for anyone whose work touches games, including those of us looking to engage the community."
– Carla Warner, Director of STREAM for No Kid Hungry
The Business of Indie Games explores what many universities forget to cover: how to sell and market your own indie game to potential publishers and developers. While many classes help students on their way to designing and programming their own games, there are few classes that equip students with the skills to sell their own product. In essence, this means future indie game developers are not equipped to talk to investors, negotiate with publishers, and engage with major platforms like Steam and Nintendo. Authors Alex Josef, Alex Van Lepp, and Marshal D. Carper are looking to rectify this problem by helping indie game developers and companies level up their business acumen. With detailed chapters and sections that deal with different engines, negotiation tactics, and marketing, The Business of Indie Games is the perfect omnibus for up-and-coming indie game developers. The future of gaming curriculums is not just in teaching students how to create games but also in preparing them for the business of games.
Table of Contents
About the Authors. Introduction. PART 1 How the Indie Video Game Industry Works. 1 Developers and How They Fit into the Games Industry Ecosystem. 2 The Power of Platforms and Stakeholders. 3 The Art of Video Game Revenue. 4 The Secret Economy of Steam Wishlists. PART 2 Pre-Development Choices. 5 Project Types and Project Goals. 6 Genre and Market Evaluation. 7 Scope and Engine Choices. 8 Timelines, Budgets, and Project Management. PART 3 Pitches and Publishing Deals. 9 Pitch Deck Perfection. 10 How to Negotiate with a Publisher. PART 4 The Road to Release. 11 Quality Assurance. 12 Translation, Localization, and Porting. 13 Marketing from Zero. PART 5 Post-Release. 14 What about Second Launch? 15 The Next Game. References. Index.
Alex Josef and Alex Van Lepp
Collectively, Alex Josef and Alex Van Lepp bring more than 40 years of industry experience to their work as video game educators. As the founders of VIM Global, a video game PR agency, they have worked with clients ranging from solo indie developers, notable indie publishers, and AAA studios to bring their games to market.
Some of those games include:
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Guacamelee! And Guacamelee! 2
- Super Mega Baseball 1, 2, and 3
- Surgeon Simulator 2
- Portal: Bridge Constructor
- The Flame in the Flood
- The Saints Row Series
- Darksiders II
- Human Fall Flat
- Metal Gear Solid Series (select titles)
- Diablo II
- Silent Hill
As the founders of Graffiti Games, they have published more than a dozen indie games, which means that they manage the careful balance of serving our investors, coaching indie developers through the development and release of their games, and then interface directly with major gaming platforms like Steam, Nintendo, GOG, Epic, and Stadia to negotiate deals and placement.
Some of the releases from Graffiti include:
- Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion
- Blue Fire
- Cyber Hook
- The King’s Bird
- Mable and the Wood
- Double Cross
- Trident’s Wake
- REZ PLZ
- Adventures of Chris
- Bite the Bullet
Marshal’s first step into the creative world was at 19: He wrote for the Nintendo DS RPG, The Black Sigil. Today he is a career marketer and the author of more than 15 books. With his work spanning journalism, video games, combat sports, and a variety of client industries, he brings a nuanced perspective formed over years of working with innovative creators at the top of their fields. From launching indie games to helping a nonprofit like No Kid Hungry collaborate with Wizards of the Coast and GIANTS Software, his work has touched many corners of the games industry.
Either as the founder of the marketing agency Carper Creative or in the trenches as part of a development team, a few notable clients include:
- Zen Studios
- Mega Cat Studios
- Graffiti Games
- Playtra Studios
- Studio Archcraft
- Synersteel Studios
- No Kid Hungry
- Project Pinball
- hedgehog lab