Speaker: Jason Rohrer
This talk was very affecting. There was an energy in the room based on the truth being told here. Jason Rohr basically told the audience that the Indiepocalypse never really happened. It is just a change in genre that made it happen.
His speech centered around 2 released games separated by 4 years.
Castle Doctrine released in 2014 and One Hour One Life in 2018.
- Jason made 14 games before he made any money.
- His first 13 games made no money.
- Failure should be your primary mode of operation
- His 18th game lost thousands of dollars.
The term Indiepocalypse came from very high level failures of formerly successful indy developers.
Poster children of this
- Aztez – 7 years in development
- Scanner Sombre – Followup to prison architect
- Where the Water tastes Like Wine
- Tacoma – not as popular as gone home.
Success with his game:
Developers with bigger games and better games that have better press. He was worried about his own game was going to be the same way. As of right now he has 110 concurrent players
Steam earnings: On average $2889 per day. Gross is $685,000.
Still making money after 4 months.
For all his data he used steam charts – it orders games based on number of concurrent players
- He was curious what other games had similar number of concurrent players.
- Feed + grow Fish, Airport CEO – All games that are not well known within the indie community
- All these games got almost no press attention, they were not critical darlings. They were just popular with people.
Then Jason got into a comparison of two of his games. One from 2014 and another 2018
The difference was the Decay. His 2014 launch followed a typical spike and then a quick decay into nothing. This fit a strategy of 2014 get everything lined up for a single launch. Do everything you can to get press, marketing, social media to hit within the first week. However his 2018 game had an ever growing launch and it turn into more and more word of mouth. The problem is that the press and influencer market has dried along the way.
The difference is that there were a lot more videos taken for One Hour One Life. Twitch streaming is basically word of mouth. For instance The top video for One Hour One Life is 24 minutes. That is much longer and with higher number than all these bespoke games.
Biggest purchase day is on Christmas Day – thinks because friends were talking and they got steam games from gift cards.
Jason has a term for these games Infinite Unique Situation Generators:
It is now all about how can you keep players engaged over time. The average playtime is much much longer for these longer term games. That means people take months to play it longer and longer. The kinds of games people value are long-term hobby community games.
Change in terminology people use to describe games
“Have you played X” – these are the older bespoke games
“Do you play “ – hobby games
Like: Have you ever played that game chess?
Jason recommends looking at your own library and see what you play. Less risky: infinite unique situation generators
It isn’t the Indypocalypse. What has changed is a Consumable-gamepocalypse