Pricing Against the Competition / by Brandon Driesse

Squidly and myself found a bit of a kinship online through Newgrounds. This was actually the first time we scheduled an interview before the con even began; usually I take the first day of PAX East to tour the exhibition hall, meet with devs, learn about their game and talk about follow up times I can bring in a mic and camera. Squidly here is a fairly prominent indie dev on Newgrounds(my second home) so we had lots to talk about and I ended up heavily cutting this interview to meet an entertaining length and crucial content the viewer can take away

This year at the con Squidly is showing with Octosoft’s publisher, Dangen Entertainment. Sharing a booth has many perks despite being crowded: there’s more time for breaks as there’s always someone to man the booth, there’s cross pollination between more popular or eye-catching titles and the TV’s on the side with smaller games, and it creates connections between developers. It’s important to establish a relationship with your peers and in a sense we’re all on the same team. No one in the indie world is direct competition with you, we’re all trying to succeed alongside each other. Sometimes games of the same genre can be seen as competition to an extent, but players don’t tend to say “I have Enter the Gungeon, why buy the Binding of Isaac?”.

However there is a perk for small, newer indies in competition with these well established teams in certain genres, you can use these “competitors” to gauge a good price point for your own game and value your work properly at the level your peers currently do. Squidly tells me that he isn’t “big enough” to charge the same as larger studios like Tribute Games, he still accounts for the disparity between the quality and/or quantity of content that the players receive. He also puts demos of his game up for free on Newgrounds, a site we’d both highly recommend for buzz and critical review as well as which supports desktop installs as well as html5.

Renaine held a couple Kickstarters which resulted in backers receiving a copy of the game for their pledge, this is a commitment to the price set from which from there can only be raised. It’s a bit limiting if after some cost analysis you realize your game would do much better in the market with a tinier price-point and Squidly acknowledges this. On the other hand you don’t want to undervalue yourself or give too many perks away for cheap on Kickstarter and you NEVER want to do physical perks if you don’t need to(not discussed in the video but definitely a b*tch to pursue).