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Embracing competition can be a great thing for Indie Game Developers. Treat it the right way and it can shoot your company to the moon.

Indie Game Developers: 5 Reasons Why Competition Is Great

Embracing competition can be a great thing for Indie Game Developers. Treat it the right way and it can shoot your company to the moon.
This article is over 9 years old and may contain outdated information

Indie game developers have small budgets and small teams so they don’t have the reach like the major game developers do.  Competition may seem like it might hurt an indie game developer, but in truth if handled right it’s a great thing.

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1. Receive Cross-Promotional Ideas

Here you are with a game you have literally sweat blood for, and you want to get this thing noticed.  When you release the game, another developer has also released a similar game.  There isn’t any better way to get noticed than to piggyback on another’s spotlight. Your first thought might be that this is going to hurt your sales.  

If you think about it this is a great thing, just contact the other developer.  Tell them that you have a similar game and that if they mention your game to their fan base you will do the same in your fan base. These messages can work wonders for both company’s sales. Roblox has groups specifically for this

2. Get Helpful Feedback From Others

It’s common knowledge that nobody knows more about making games than those that are making games. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other developers and ask for feedback on your project.  

It doesn’t matter how big or small they are, most developers won’t mind taking a little time to help you out.  The creative process is all about gaining ideas from other ideas, so you may come up with something new or how to improve your current project. Game development should always be a collaborative process.

3. Avoid Crippling Drama

It is only natural to view your competition in a negative way. Without trying you could develop a form of hostility or aggression to their name or brand. You may have the best of intentions, but if you keep trying to outdo your competition one of four things may happen.

  1. They notice and get mad, possibly leading to a lawsuit on copyright infringement.  
  2. The press notices and give you flak for being a “copycat”
  3. The public notices and your fans view you as a sell out trying to steal ideas
  4. Your game starts to look so different from what you had in mind initially that you’re no longer making your own game, but a clone of someone else’s

As an example take a look at EA’s lawsuit against Zygna over their game The Ville in 2012.  EA stated that the game looked to much like their game Sims Social.

Regardless of what happens it is just bad press, and your game loses sales. Just stay creative and have a calm mind, and stop running the race to the “best game.”  Worrying has never gotten anyone anywhere; just more worry. Stay calm and make the game you want to make.

4. Open up Networking Opportunities

You have already heard the word “networking” in the professional world. Developers work closely with people who you might need to contact;

  • Composers
  • Marketers
  • Trailer Guys
  • Web Designers and more

Asking other game developers where they got their contact is an easy way to find reputable people with experience and as an added bonus keeps talented contractors in the business.

5. Forge Rewarding Friendships

Looking at Reddit’s game dev forums is all it takes to see that developers are actually friendly people and are willing to help others.  If you start developing an image of your competition in your head you can lose the ability to make wonderful and thriving connections with skilled masterminds in your field. Remember one thing: it is not about making games, but about making friends.  Relationships mean a great deal in the dynamic world of game development, so cherish them.

So if you are an inspiring indie game developer keep calm and continue working on your passion. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, you never know what inspiration you might receive.  Focus on what you are doing now what everyone else is doing to succeed.  Make contacts and friends, make them last.

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T.W. Francis
Still figuring out who I am. When I find myself I will let you know.