Some of you may have been reading Spiderweb Software’s Jeff Vogel’s “View from the Bottom” series of articles. I think he is generally pessimistic when it comes to indie games, and his previous articles basically show that he thinks innovation won’t come from them. His latest article, #3, seems to make the argument that innovation isn’t rewarded, giving Jeff’s personal account as an example.
I really hate trying to do something new. Sure, it gives personal satisfaction. But you know what else is fulfilling? Staying in business. Not losing your house. And you can’t pay for food with Creativity checks.
If you are an indie and your game flops… well, small companies have a real hard time surviving the blow. And I don’t want to lose my house.
Remember that the next time you look to the independent developer to be the source of innovation in this industry. There is nothing scarier that aiming at a market that doesn’t exist yet. It might not exist at all.
It’s hard for me not to get upset about such words. Unfortunately, I also don’t have the authority to say anything to it. I don’t have my first game published yet, let alone sales figures to argue against Vogel.
Luckily, David Michael has something to say. Blaming Innovation is Michael’s take on the issue of innovation. He agrees that it makes sense to continue investing in what already works. Innovating means you’re leaving your established audience and trying to find new ones.
But if you never move past what you know works, youâ€™re in whatâ€™s called a â€œrutâ€. And Iâ€™ve never heard that described as a good thing.
Sometimes you just have to face the uncertainty.
You might as well try to enjoy it.
I’d argue that finding new audiences is a good thing. Yes, you may have your loyal customers, and yes, innovating might turn some of them off. I think that if you have a core audience and great customers, you should reward them well.
But isn’t it possible that doing something refreshing and unexpected means you’re expanding and diversifying your base? Are you stretching yourself too thin? It’s possible, but it is also possible that by not innovating, you’re locking your potential audience to the same exact audience you already have. Game players grow older and stop playing games. Without new customers, you’re not only stuck with the same customers, but it’s also possible that your customers will leave you. Who will replace them if you don’t try to appeal outside of them?