iPhone games give indies monthly cash and allow “way lower” entry point than “big three” dev

By Patrick Garratt, Thursday, 23 April 2009 08:48 GMT


Developing games for the App Store means less outlay and less set-up risk than making titles for PSN, XBLM or WiiWare, indie developer – and “leet hardcore” Street Fighter IV player – Dan Boutros has told VG247.

“The cost of entry to a developer is way lower, you can control your own destiny by way of managing your own pricing and marketing, and you get paid monthly instead of quarterly, which does wonders for your ability to survive as a ‘free’ man,” said Boutros, who’s just finished working on Adept-Games iPhone puzzler Trixel.

“You can buy a top of the range Mac, download the SDK and pay for the dev license and any other dev-requiring software license for less than any of the big three’s dev kits. You may even be able to afford two or three of these setups depending on who we’re comparing things with.

“The other major distribution platforms (can’t speak for Steam) also only pay you quarterly, whereas you’re paid monthly by Apple.”

Boutros added that barriers to creating indie games on the console formats weren’t just financial. Developers are also unable to control when games are released on services such as Xbox Live.

“You’re also at the whims of the console format holders for when your game comes out, who sees it and when they see it,” he said.

“I worked on an XBL game for another team a few years back and even though our game was done in December 06, we didn’t release till summer of ’07, which really hurt the guys who had the bulk of their payment in the game’s back-end.

“This also really hurt our PR and marketing side as we didn’t know when the game was coming out and therefore couldn’t plan for it. Because the game was just a port, we were set loose at a time when the market climate looked at straight ports unfavourably, whereas six months prior, our selling odds would’ve been better. So yeah, definitely not a fan of handing over my fate in that way.”

Don’t expect an instant win, though, Boutros said. With a low entry point comes the hordes.

“Because of [iPhone’s] attractiveness, the competition is large and fierce, so you have to work harder to make something worthwhile and you have to work harder to pimp it.”

Trixel went into submission on April 20 and will cost you $3. See some screens after the break.

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