Thursday, 8 March 2012

Indie Exposure Addendum: Virality

Thanks to game developer Bateleur (FastRam Design) for recommending this video - it's well worth a watch. The video is a talk about how viral videos get popular, and I think there's strong parallels with the indie and iPhone games markets.

When I posted links to these articles on the TIGSource forums, a few points were raised. I'd casually mentioned a "mass gatekeeper" created by the consumer audience in my first article. This is to reference the point that the consumer network has replaced the gatekeeper that used to be publishers and platform holders. Developer Paul Eres suggested that the mass gatekeeper was less potent than the tastemakers: games press and gaming voices that inform large swathes of followers.

I think that both of these are true. Fortunately, I think that both of these gatekeepers are very similar to what they see as remarkable. If something's simple, clear and desirable enough to grab the attention of the general consumer easily, it's probably going to do the same for writers and key voices. Tastemakers tend to be time-poor, and while consumers may generally be more time-rich, they have a lot of alternatives in front of them. This means, in practice, that they're probably going to regard your product pitch in a very similar way. It's why your USP is so important.

There is probably a difference in how they would view your pitch, however. Prominent gaming voices tend to be seasoned veterans of gaming, and thus will probably see deeper into the uniqueness of a game's mechanics, and overlook any USP that's predominantly cosmetic. Of course, there's no reason that a voice needs to be part of the gamer niche to be a tastemaker - especially in front of a casual audience.

I can imagine a developer's personal story (the topic of the next article), could be very potent in front of tastemakers, as it's that's easy for them to get behind. A voice who knows you personally and enjoys following your ongoing journey is much more likely to recommend you than one who doesn't.

Anyway, watch the video and enjoy!