‘We should be charging more for indie games’

The games industry is undervaluing indie games, say leading publishers.

The majority of indie games are sold for 10 or less, but this year a number of high profile titles have broken that barrier, including Jonathan Blow’s The Witness (30, pictured) and Camp Santo’s Firewatch (15), which has sparked online discussion over the cost of these titles.

As an industry, in some sections yes, we are undervaluing indie games,” said Team17’s Debbie Bestwick. Collectively we all need to work at this, there’s a big gap between pillar indie games – with a sales potential in excess of 500,000 units – and the rest.

The bigger challenge is changing the consumer perception of just what indie means. It doesn’t mean cheap and low quality, but instead more creative freedom and agile approach to both business models and consumers.”

Rising Star’s Martin Mathers added: For the most part, yes, we should be charging more for indie games. But there is a difference between ‘indie’ games and larger projects. The whole thing comes down to entitlement. The reason why a lot of games can’t be priced at more than 15 is because it is a buyer’s market, especially on PC. Users will sit there saying:

‘No, you entertain me. I deserve this, I’m entitled to this’. My response to that mentality is: ‘No, you’re not’.”

But Curve Digital’s publishing director Simon Byron says that indie firms are right to compete on price to give them an edge over triple-A releases.

The indie sector has to work harder to push itself up ahead of gamers buying anything else. Price can be one of the best ways to do that,” he said. But I don’t think that publishers are undervaluing indie games. From our point of view, we are picking the price points that we know work for the types of games that we are publishing.”

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