look and feel good, especially ones that they have paid for. One thing that is almost
always mentioned in reviews of excellent, popular games is the degree to which they
are ‘polished’, meaning how
amazing they look and feel. A game that looks and feels
incredible but is lacking a little in the storyline department is typically forgiven much
more than an ugly or buggy game with a great storyline.
This does not really place any limitations on style though, as games can come in basi-
cally any art style with any kind of mechanics and UI (user interface) under the sun.
Whether it be a realistic, 3D-animated style or a 2D-cartoon-style game, it should not
be left rough around the edges or looking or feeling unfinished. The end result should
look polished and work smoothly, and the UI should not interfere with the gaming expe-
rience. (Maxim 2017, 7-8.)
The Marketing Strategy Framework
Many marketing strategy guides for indie games are actually marketing plans. The
terms are actually not interchangeable, as many may think. The difference is rather
simple: A marketing strategy is usually concerned with the end goal further in the fu-
ture, whereas a marketing plan focuses on the actions taken over a shorter period of
time, with the long-term end goal in mind. A marketing strategy may contain a market-
ing plan within it, or a marketing strategy may precede and lay the foundation for a
marketing plan (Lake 2016). As indie game companies are often not in a position to
plan too far ahead into the future, due to lack of business experience or the uncertainty
of the market, I feel that a slightly shorter-term, strategy-plan fusion is appropriate.
Indie game developers, as anyone new to marketing, may be intimidated by the idea of
creating a business or marketing strategy, fearing it to be a long, complicated and un-
pleasant undertaking. This is not necessarily the case. A marketing strategy can be
short and simple, as long as it covers all of the essential components. In fact, the
shorter and simpler, the better. The components I find most important for indie game
companies to use in their marketing strategies are: Pinpointing the USP, Identifying the
Target Customer, Defining the Correct Pricing & Positioning, Optimising a Distribution
Plan, Panning an Online Marketing Strategy, Designing Marketing Materials and Ar-
ranging Promotions & Partnerships. The SOSTAC framework will serve as a structuring
and planning tool for each component, as I go through them individually.