Manchester, UK, 18 June 2012
Veteran game designing duo John Pickford and Ste Pickford today issued a call for all 'indie' developers to promote each others' games, as they launched the first 'Games We Like' section on the Pickford Bros website.
The brothers, who developed the hit iOS BAFTA nominated puzzle game Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint, have compiled a list of great iOS games that they've personally enjoyed, notable for originality, playability, or because they're the work of great developers who they think deserve support.
"The dev community is a very friendly place, and game developers are always ready to help each other out with technical advice and support via informal networks, forums, Facebook groups and the like," said Ste Pickford, "but one area where small, self-publishing indies really struggle is promoting their games, so we thought we'd try and kick off an initiative where indies also help each other out with visibility as well."
"Our idea is to encourage every indie game developer out there to pick a few of their own personal 'Games We Like', and promote them within their products and on their websites," said John Pickford. "None of us are really in competition, and we've each carved out a small audience. Why not connect those audiences?"
"If every indie dev picked 10 other games to promote we'd all be helping each other out enormously," suggested Ste, "and we'd strengthen the position of self-publishing indies in general, who often don't have marketing or advertising budgets to get the word out."
The 'Games We Like' initiative has only two rules:
- Promotion is given to other games for free.
- There is no obligation to reciprocate any promotion given.
"The big idea behind 'Games We Like' is that it's not cross-promotion as such. Nobody has to reciprocate the promotion given (of course they can if they want). It's unilateral promotion, and given for free," added Ste, "so it's totally in the same spirit as indies helping each other out with technical and design problems, which they already do."
"Developers regularly talk about organising cross-promotion initiatives (where two different games include links to each other), always with the very best of intentions, but the imbalance between the different audience sizes of each game leads to problems," continued John. "Less popular games seem to be getting a better deal than games with an established fan-base, so such initiatives often get bogged down with rules for balancing this out, with conditions of entry, or credits earned by the number of views, etc., and the initiative either breaks down or turns into a form of paid advertising by another name."
"Advertising and cross-promotion platforms already exist, and this initiative won't compete with them," continued Ste. "This is something extra that indies can - and should - do, and may even be more valuable than advertising."
The Pickford Bros 'Games We Like' page is available on their website now: http://www.zee-3.com/pickfordbros/gameswelike.php
The list of games will also be included within the next update to Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint, reaching their existing six figure iOS install base.
John and Ste plan to update their list regularly, and will also include it within their future iOS releases. They hope that other indie developers will create their own lists of games they like, and promote them on their websites and within their games in the same way.
"We've deliberately come up with an idiosyncratic, personally curated selection of games we like on the platform we work on," said Ste. "There's no suggestion that these are the best indie games out there, or a definitive list of important games. We're not critics. They're just a list of games that have value to us personally, by people we like or locally made, that we'd like to see get more exposure."
"I'm looking forward to seeing some other 'Games We Like' lists appearing soon," concluded John, "I think we'll see some very interesting and surprising games getting a bit of well deserved exposure."