[Prototype Website Available] Tools to Help Devs - Seeking Feedback


New Content Edit:

Hi Guys! We've decided we'd like to give people a more complete taste of the kind of thing we have in mind, check our first interactive chart at http://www.steamsuccess.club/ and see how game success has evolved on the steam store in the last four years!

Original Post:

My friend and I are considering a project to help fellow game developers be successful and we're
looking for feedback.

We want to create a website showing player taste trends in the games market.

Which genres are popular? Which ones aren't? What kinds of games are people buying, and which ones are being ignored? We want to help answer the question, "what should my next game be?".

The answer isn't always easy. In his GDC talk last year Erik Johnson showed the estimated revenue for puzzle platformers is twenty four times less than action RPGs. For anyone hoping to make a living from games, knowing this stuff really matters. What we're suggesting is a data-driven tool catering indie developers, equipping them with the information they need to draw conclusions like Erik does in the video below, and ease the process of making important design decisions for their projects.

So, do you have any feedback on this idea? What do you like? What don't you like? Do you have ideas that might improve it? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Patrick & Carson

*edit: link to talk mentioned above:
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King of Raccoons
Why not just have the website be a place for people to post there games and the website advertises to the person viewing the webpage, say for an example a user with the account "Coolcheez" has looked at a lot of shooter games, so the website should recommend new pages of shooter games indies are making and developing, the site could make money by hosting banner ads or being a platform for indies to sell on


Yellow Dog
@EvanSki That sounds like every distribution platform that already exists...

PNelly's suggestion isn't for a distribution platform where customers come to play games, it's for a place where developers can go to see analysis on the current state of the indie games market.


Not sure how often the traditional "indie" company would put a resource like that to work as most people have a set project they have in mind or 100's of them; however, I would definitely check the website out. I think for me to regularly visit the page or stick it in my favorites it would need to be a hard break down with actual info from the indie producers themselves... which might not be that hard to get, but it would certainly entail more work.

Also, if you are trying to brand yourself as a place indie developers could go to get market research it might help if you strictly followed up any predictions you make... on a set or maybe quarterly schedule. Although, I think most successful games probably have about 1-2 years of development put into them. Maybe try to capture the feel that certain investment websites have, I'm thinking about "motley fool.com" as I type this. A message, like if you know how to make a game and can bring it to launch you can make a living; although, maybe try to avoid the rose tinted glasses vibe a lot of websites give off and highlight some failures too. Failures that were technically proficient and just didn't sell well for whatever reason.

I think your biggest problem would be turning it into a "serious" spot indie devs go to for research; as opposed, to just another game review website.

I guess I would be most interested if it was a cold business oriented website that focused on the realities of the indie space, while strictly being free from conjecture. I probably won't hold my breath, but it is weird how the next game our company is tentatively looking at is most likely an aRPG.

I went through the video you posted quickly, and was surprised to hear about a game being moddable as such a big draw and that local multiplayer was less so.

Otherwise, the games budget vs what it is selling for and the little snippet about games under $10 having little revenue were interesting. The survivorship bias question at the end also got me thinking and every once in a while a more indie based title just kills it.

I have noticed that the game industry even the non-indie side of it seems to be more "secretive" than the movie industry as far as budgets go... although, I have not done much research. Maybe, if your site could get budget breakdowns that would be cool. Another thing I just thought of would be some type of projected sales metric; when an indie game is released I feel most of the time there is no major expectation, kind of just launch it and hope for the best.


Yellow Dog
I was about to suggest that this site would be a good place for the editor to share essays and videos from industry experts, such as the video you've put in your post. I then realised that you'd basically be remaking Gamasutra.

While I think this kind of service would definitely be useful in a developer-facing site on its own, I think your areas of expansion are more in the region of producing widgets and infographics which other sites (such as Gamasutra) can display in their own way. I wouldn't bother trying to pull the market from their site to yours, but instead offer services to these sites rather than to developers directly. Perhaps something similar to the UK Data Service?


I don't like how it caters badly to both sides of the coin.

Quite obviously this idea doesn't have the bigger fish in mind. You don't have the reputation, industry experience or the army of contributors and researchers that the likes of GDC and Gamasutra have. This puts you at a huge disadvantage at getting your point across to anyone, let alone getting them to listen even if you do.

With your initial staff size, I'm also skeptical of what analysis you can do that an average indie developer can't also quickly do. Remember that you're talking to people who have at least some experience in statistics and logical analysis by the virtue of their profession. What can you do that they can't just by reading Unity analytics reports or looking at installation counts on the top entries of each Google Play category, for instance?

One more problem is your apparent assumption that going against the grain must imply failure or at least suboptimal performance. While large publishers must work off an economy of scale, smaller publishers can still thrive off catering well to a niche audience. It's the same way how gay pubs stay in business, even when the LGBTQ+ community is much smaller than the mainstream pubgoer population. And because it's a relatively captive audience and doesn't draw the kind of unwanted attention that leads to oversaturation, it's relatively safe income that sometimes beat more popular offerings in terms of income per staff or stability.

As it stands, your idea is basically faced with a triad of audience choices, none of which you can really win from:
  • Large mainstream publishers that are too big to listen to small voices like yours
  • Smaller publishers that already has a voice of its own comparable to yours
  • Hobbyist publishers that would rather listen to their own voice instead of yours
I would recommend that you test the waters first by submitting articles to places like Gamasutra and getting their opinion on the market-worthiness of your work. It's common for new writers to think they're the best thing since sliced bread, even when it's stuff that actual industry professionals wouldn't bother with.


@EvanSki @Druid TC @Pfap @FrostyCat I appreciate your responses. Frosty - your candidness is always appreciated ;).

To clarify a little bit, what we're interested in building is a data-driven, analytical tool catering to smaller shops and individual developers. We want to equip people with the information they would need to draw conclusions like Erik does in his video above, perhaps with some articles highlighting key findings. A news centered website stating our opinions to visitors isn't really what we have in mind. If social media, search engines, store pages, and (ideally) sales and play data can be drawn on, a quantified view of what works and what doesn't ought to be produceable.

We created this thread (and a few others like it elsewhere on the web) to figure out what kind of interest might exist in that. Fail fast, fail early, as they say.

I'll edit the top post to give a bit better idea. Thanks again guys for your feedback.


Hi Everyone,

In the spirit of completeness we've created a simple, single chart prototype at http://www.steamsuccess.club/ where you can review varying rates of genre success on the steam store.

Really interested to know thoughts, feedback, criticisms from you guys.

Cheers - Patrick