Business Sense: Games and Photography

At Joe Indie, Business is Business compares newbie game developers with newbie photographers, something I would not have thought to compare.

Newbie Game Developer: How many games do I need before I can start making money from them?
Newbie Photographer: How many images do I need before I can start making money from them?

Joe Indie’s article shows that it isn’t just indie game developers who have problems with “business sense”. The article links to photographer/blogger Dan Heller’s site, and I noticed that his other page on the subject of business sense was also pretty informative.

For instance, section 4.1 is titled “Jumping in too soon” and warns against creating solutions for a problem that doesn’t exist. For photographers, indie game developers, and really anyone with a business, your products or services should solve a need. Creating world-class, high-quality images or games is great, but if no one is really interested in what you’re offering, you’ve just wasted your time. I believe you can sum up Heller’s words as market research.

The comparison to photography businesses, however, has led me to think about a number of aspects of my own business.

If you shoot specific subjects, like horses, or fashion, or food, or sports, or Bucks County, Pennsylvania, your revenue is going to be based in large part by how well positioned you are with the media companies that buy such specialized images within any of these industries.

How would you change that sentence so that it applies to indie game development? Perhaps I am creating a congruence where there is none, but so far there does not seem to be much difference between the photography business and the game development business. As David Michael says in his article’s title, business is business.

2 replies on “Business Sense: Games and Photography”

I’m guessing it relates to how well you can leverage viral marketing. No one’s going to buy a game they don’t know about, and that doesn’t fit their usual gaming style. An Indy can’t afford to advertise a new game on TV, or get shelf space at Best Buy. The key in both cases is finding your audience, finding what they want, and getting it to them just when they think they need it.

Actually, viral efforts are not the only ones available to indies, and I don’t think it is necessarily the best, either. VGSmart specializes in indie game marketing, and the free article provided and blog posts show that an indie has a lot of options when it comes to marketing…as well as a lot to learn. B-)

And of course, marketing is just one element of a business. Sales is another.

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