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How Small Game Studios Win: Cooperation
By Topper Bowers
This is a follow-up to a previous article.
In a world with high-quality games that nobody can find, cooperation is key. Traditional approaches to user acquisition (UA) often put indie developers at a disadvantage. However these creators will win against industry behemoths by sharing data (like player identity), cross-promotion, and reducing inter-game friction.
The Current State of Player Acquisition
Traditional gaming publishers, with their portfolio of games, have the resources to bring players into their ecosystem and cross-market to increase the Lifetime Value (LTV) of those players across their games. They can afford to spend on advertising, with Cost per Installs (CPI) ranging from $0.05 in developing countries, to about $1 for mobile games, and upwards of $15 for AAA games.
In contrast, indie developers face significant hurdles. They are forced to rely heavily on crowdfunding, platforms like Steam wishlists, and labor-intensive community building. Web3 games, which are primarily indie, face additional obstacles, such as advertising bans, app store bans, and the complexity of wallets, which adds more friction to the user acquisition process.
The Power of Cooperation
The key to success lies in cooperation. Indie games, by banding together, can pool resources to share CPI costs, marketing efforts, and reduce risk. This cooperative approach enables a group of games to achieve a more significant market presence, akin to a traditional publisher, but without the same loss of creative or economic control. It’s about games supporting each other to compete against larger entities.
Cooperation allows indie developers to bolster their visibility, share costs, and compete effectively against larger studios. The gaming industry’s future might just lie in embracing this unity, helping to ensure that more quality games find their audience while providing players with a broader array of innovative experiences.