I check the indie games section on Steam every day or two, but as of late I can’t really keep up with the games being published. Yesterday five games were published, the day before yesterday there were five as well, and the day before that there were seven games published. It’s hard to say whether this is a good or a bad thing, probably both depending on how you look at it. It is certainly a good time to be a PC gamer, because the flood of new games coupled with countless existing games means that no matter what you enjoy playing there will likely be a game that is exactly what you have been looking for.
The great thing about so many developers being able to publish games is that you can easily find some very unique and interesting titles that simply are not available in the mainstream market. In Steam’s indie game section there are often titles that fill a niche that no other game has covered before: Kerbal Space Program, Plague Inc, Project Zomboid, GearCity, and Prison Architect to name a few. Of course, these unique niche titles are but a few among a sea of games that may or may not be worth the money.
Many of the indie titles being released on Steam are, in all fairness, not that good. This in itself is not a problem, but what worries me about this is that some legitimately good titles may get overlooked simply because it is sold alongside masses of other games. In order for a game to get lots of sales on Steam, it needs to get on a list where lots of people will see it. Getting lots of sales early on which will put it on the top sellers list, which will result in even more sales. Another useful list is the new releases list, which features all games that have been recently released. However, given the rate at which new games are being released, a game released now will probably only be on the first page of this list for a day or two, which is really problematic for small indie games aimed at niche audiences.
Still, it is great to know that there are so many indie developers out there. All things considered, the amount of games on Steam means that PC gamers are spoiler for choice, which is fantastic from a consumer point of view. It may not be ideal from a developer point of view, but there are still ways for them to ensure that a game reaches its intended audience. Using other websites, blogs etc. to market the game is one way, or selling the game at a small discount for the first few days is another effective method (because it keeps the game on the “specials” list). Indie developers just need to be creative and work at finding effective ways of marketing their games.