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So we are almost done with our first indie game, developed on Android. We believe that the game has potential, our graphics guy is damn good so we have some good eye candy in our game.

Now we are thinking what should be our starting step? We can purchase the Google Play account and launch it on our own, but we aren't sure if we'd be able to advertise it well and get something big out of it.

Or we can contact a publisher, and talk about some deal.

Which one is better? What are the pros and cons of both, considering this is only our first game and we intend to make a lot more. Also considering that we're only students yet, currently in our senior year. We would love to generate some revenue out of it.

What are the best ways of contacting publishers? How do we approach them and deal with them?

Many thanks for your kind help!

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Welcome to the site, and great question. BTW, you may want to use some analytics tool like Flurry Analytics before you launch, to get good stats on game usage. –  ashes999 Aug 2 '13 at 21:23
    
Thankyou. Just explored flurry analytics. Awesome suggestion! we'll definitely use it. Thanks for the recommendation. –  jazz11 Aug 2 '13 at 21:30

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

For your first game, I would suggest self-publishing. If you get enough publicity and attention, you can do very well. It is viable to contact a publisher, though, if your game looks good and has good playing/replay value.

Some effective ways to market, if you self-publish:

  • Write articles for gaming sites, such as indiedb.com, gamedev.net, etc
  • Submit demos of your game to gaming sites
  • Talk about it in your daily life. You would be surprised how much can be accomplished by word of mouth. (Just don't be too obnoxious.)
  • Make a (Mobile-friendly) website
  • Send copies to influential Web Personalities, such as Quill18, Rock Paper Shotgun, or others on YouTube ( or anywhere that could get you exposure)
  • Post a video of the game (or two, you can make one as a trailer sort of thing, and one showing some of the features, with a voice overlay)

Publishers:

I would advise contacting one of two publishers, if you want to have them publish your game. Either contact Chillingo, a division of Electronic Arts (EA) that publishes Indie games for iOS, Android, and other platforms, or to try to get your game on Steam. Negotiate for a fairly good deal, if you can, and be able to make the publisher LIKE you. That usually helps.

Self-publishing vs using a Publisher:

Since this is your first game, presumably developed in your free time, some of these coming items will not apply yet, such as covering development costs. Later in your career, if you intend to keep on creating games as an indie studio, more of these things will.

Pros of Self-Publishing:

  • 100% of the revenue goes to you, for whatever you need
  • You own all rights to the game
  • You retain full control over ALL aspects of your game

Cons of Self-Publishing

  • Marketing your game is MUCH harder
  • You will pay all costs for publishing, if any
  • If the game isn't successful, you are responsible
  • It is easier for you to lose money (esp if you need to cover major development costs)

Pros of Publisher deals:

  • Usually the game makes more revenue than if self-published
  • Advertising will be done more effectively by the publisher

Cons of Publisher deals:

  • Publishers usually take most of the profits
  • As an indie developer, publishers will not usually cover development costs
  • You almost always do not keep ownership of the game
  • A contract is usually required (Make sure that the publisher is not pulling one over on you, have a lawyer read it, it is OK to spend a bit of money here.)

Good luck! Hope this helps!

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There's a lot of things wrong with this answer - particular stating publishers will pay your development costs and assuming you won't lose money if you publish via someone else. " have a lawer read it, preferably for free" have this done by a credible lawyer - paying to have this done is a small cost compared to developing your game.. –  Vaughan Hilts Aug 4 '13 at 3:45
    
Sorry about that. I confused indie devs and large studios there for a moment, and made an error. Fixed. –  Pip Aug 4 '13 at 7:45
    
Thank you for the comprehensive reply. I think our game looks good, and we sure would love to make something out of it. Self publishing and marketing seems a little risky for the first game don't u think? We wouldn't want to let our game disappear in the flood of other apps at the store. chillingo is too big a name for us, can we really get them to publish our game? What is the procedure? Also, isn't steam different than a normal publisher? –  jazz11 Aug 4 '13 at 12:11
    
@jazib Steam is a bit different, but nothing to worry about, they have a lower chance of accepting games, though. Chillingo is a big name, but is fairly easy to deal with, if your game is good and you take a little time for polish. Finally, it would be risky to people who NEED the money, like bigger indie studios, but probably not to you college guys. –  Pip Aug 4 '13 at 14:37
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Steam will not accept you if you directly interact with them. As an independent, you must go through their Greenlight proccess. This has nothing to do with Steam except it's hosted there. The community will vote on your game and it will either appear or won't. See: Steam Greenlight –  Vaughan Hilts Aug 4 '13 at 17:40

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