The Neighborly Way – A Little Communication Can Go A Long Way For Indie Developers

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by Bob Reinhard

I love indie game developers. I really do. They’re generally passionate people with a deep love for gaming, and I can appreciate that. I can relate to that. Nothing thrills me more than hearing a very passionate creator talk about their work. But perhaps even more than that, I’m thrilled at the fact that that kind of passionate talk doesn’t have to be restricted to a monologue.

The gamer community has always built itself around communication. From the early days of standing behind someone in an arcade and going “whoa, this dude is awesome!” to the days when we’d link up Gameboys to trade Pokemon all the way to the internet age where we can sit on Twitter and joke about Xbox One reveal details to each other. The gamer community is one where word-of-mouth can get you a lot. And thanks to the internet and the “Pass It On” gamer mentality, this is a very important tool that is easily available for indie developers themselves to benefit from.

I’ll give you an example. Today, I was watching a live stream of one of the streamers I really enjoy watching. He was playing Stealth Bastard, a game I’d heard about in passing but hadn’t seen much of. I was quite liking what I saw, so I posted a random tweet saying I was kind of interested in the game.

And to my surprise, I got this as a response:

Stealth Bastard tweet

On the surface, this seems like a near-effortless little thing. And in truth, it really is. And that’s what makes it so incredibly brilliant. By simply searching for their game’s name and taking a few seconds to send a charming, clever little tweet, I found myself thrilled with the prospect of supporting this game. I can now say that on a surface level I LIKE these guys. I want to support their product because they’ve taken the time to be personable with the gaming community.

With that simple tweet, I’ve found myself moving the game up on my priority list of games. Why? Because I like the people behind it. It’s as simple as that. Instead of simply being a product that I have on a grocery list, it’s now something that has a personal feeling behind it. I know that there are real people behind it. People who are taking the time to come down to our level as consumers and join us in the gamer-style communication.

Twitter and other social networking outlets give us a really great platform for this. Indie developers can spend a few hours out of their day to step down and joke around with gamers, maybe answer questions, or generally just thank us for talking about their game, and in an instant, they’re going to be more apparent and liked among out community. Gamers LIKE talking to game developers. They LIKE knowing that when they purchase a game or tell their friends to check it out, it makes a difference for the creators who made the great product in the first place.

This isn’t an isolated incident. Many developers have taken to this approach, and it’s paid off quite well for some from what I can see. And I think it’s very important for indie developers to know this platform is out there. I can attest to it personally working, and I’m sure many would agree that a little friendly communication with your audience can go a long way in making you a more respected, and promoted, producer.

So, I can say right now that I am very positive on the prospect of speaking about Stealth Bastard to my friends. I want more people to know about this game and play it. I want to spread the word. And all it took was a silly joke on Twitter.

Take to the community, and they’ll carry you onward.

But seriously, check out the trailer for this game. It’s neat! And affordable. And the developers care!

Stealth Bastard is available on Steam for $9.99 and is also available on PSN as Stealth Inc. – A Clone In The Dark (Great name!). Check it out! 

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