What is the Indie Game Alliance?
Indie Game Alliance (IGA) is a collective group of indie designers and publishers who have banded together to help one another get their games in front of the people who want to play them. When we decided to make our game design hobby into something more serious, we started looking at the ins and outs of the gaming industry. We learned very quickly that designing a fun game is not difficult, but testing that game and producing these games was expensive, time consuming and required exposure to large audiences at the various game conventions around the country. It was easy to see why designers are told that making money as a designer is next to impossible. Being able to travel to major conventions as a nobody would be a major challenge and there would be a massive amount of up front costs just to get notices by a large enough audience to make a name and gain a following. We decided that we would keep doing what we were doing and try to make a name for ourselves through local cons and social media….at least we were trying right? Along came a tweet from Matt Holden about the Indie Game Alliance and what an opportunity we think this is for small design studios and publishers. IGA has offered us a chance to get our games in front of countless play testers at local and big cons. The minion program IGA runs will give our games a chance to be played at Cons and FLGSs around the country and the feedback will be invaluable for the development of our games. IGA basically answers, for us, all of our concerns about how we can make a name for ourselves in the gaming industry.
Why we joined?
As I said before, IGA is exactly what we need to help TGIK Games find the types of gamers that want to play our games. Looking at what IGA has to offer and the way they have their model set up, made too much sense not to join. IGA has a free model where small shops that are just starting out can join and gain some benefit from IGAs minion program. For TGIK, this is perfect. We can look at their pricing structure and map out what we are able to pay for through the success of our games. If it takes a few games for TGIK to gain a following, that is ok, we can benefit from the IGA program until the games are able to support the program on their own. Even if TGIK wanted to join in at a lower level price point, the benefits vs the price are well worth to cost. When we look at our expected cost of travel to local and major conventions vs the cost of the IGA program and what the minion program has to offer, the best move is obvious, go with IGA. We joined because the versatility of what IGA offers fits perfectly with the growth of TGIK Games.
Why we think it is great?
We think IGA is great because it brings together designers and publishers who are in very similar positions. It is nice to know that there are designers out there that are in the same situation we are. Looking for ways to get our games tested by a lot of people and receive in return, reliable reports on play test sessions. I don’t have the words to describe how important testing and good feedback are to designers. Add in the fact that tests spread the brand of TGIK Games and the games we make at the same time, this is marketing gold.
What has it done for us lately?
Since IGA is just getting started, we do not have a lot of expectations. We are just happy to be part of the growing process and we have an opportunity to get to know Matt and learn IGA as it goes along. But in a very concrete way, we have already seen benefits from being part of IGA. We have sent a copy of one of our games to IGA and at this point in time, our game is going to be played at GenCon 2014. This is beyond our wildest dreams for this year. Even if the game is played one time, there is no way we could have dreamed of having one of our games make an appearance at GenCon without us being there, very exciting. On a local level, we have already been able to meet one of the IGA minions that happens to live in our area and we have started a gaming relationship with one minion on a face to face level.
If you are a small designer or a game player, you should take a serious look at the benefits of Indie Game Alliance. I have not even covered the benefits for minions but there is access to free games and a chance to see games while they are in the development phase. This could mean that minions could make a suggestion based on play tests and their suggestions could make it into the final product. From where TGIK Games sits, we do not see a downside for anyone involved at whatever level that are involved. We believe this is a game changing service being offered because an industry that is very difficult to make a name for yourself, IGA has offered a service that will change the way gamers can access new up and coming games while helping designers get their games “out there.” With an industry that seems to be growing in leaps and bounds, IGA has come along at the right time to help us and others grow along with it.