Looking for hits with Indie Piņata
Why one Warsaw developer decided to create its own bundle
Meet Indie Piņata - not the must have accessory for every start-up's launch party - but a new type of bundle featuring titles from Pocketwatch Games, Spry Fox and Team17, among others. What makes this bundle special is that developers curate the titles to make sure gamers are getting something they'll really want to play.
It's the idea of Crunching Koalas, a small indie studio based in Warsaw, and Tomasz Tomaszewski agreed to explain a little bit more about it to GamesIndustry.biz.
Q: I imagine you're quite busy developing games - what made Indie Pinata a worthwhile investment of time for you?
Tomasz Tomaszewski: Crunching Koalas is not only a development studio. We also self-published our first game, MouseCraft, so it kind of makes us a publisher. When planning our release we anticipated that a niche title like ours may not get as much visibility on Steam as bigger, more renowned games and because of that we must try to find some other ways to reach audiences that may be interested in our product.
We thought other indie game devs surely must have the same problem, so it could be a good idea for all of us to team-up, and promote good, original - but also similar - titles together.
Q: What has the response from other developers been like?
Tomasz Tomaszewski: It wasn't easy to convince them at the beginning - MouseCraft is our first self-published title and when we started planning the event, a few months ago, we were still not recognized as game developers. Things started to get easier after MouseCraft was announced as a console title and after we agreed on the rules of Indie Piņata with Steam. These things definitely heightened our credibility as a studio and after "recruiting" the first two or three developers, it was downhill all the way.
Q: What was the key to choosing that first batch of games?
Tomasz Tomaszewski: Obviously, all the selected games had to be available on Steam. Afterwards, we looked for titles that can appeal to the same group of players and are similar to our own game. Like MouseCraft, some of the selected games can be described as casual titles, some of them are puzzle games, a few have a similar graphics style. Two of them are even inspired by Lemmings and Incredible Machine titles - which highly influenced the look and feel of our game.
Q: And why is the bundle available for ten days, as opposed to a week or a month?
Tomasz Tomaszewski: We were thinking about making it a seven day event, but it's the first time this kind of event is organized through Steam, so we thought it may be a good idea to launch it quietly and start the media buzz after making sure that everything is working properly. That's why ten days seemed better than seven days.
Q: Do you think developers need to look at new ways of curating digital games, now that there are so many available?
Tomasz Tomaszewski: We think that the number of games available on Steam can be overwhelming to players. Thanks to events such as ours - one can find more niche games and also the ones that are of similar, interesting themes to the specific player. With current massive amount of games on Steam - and with categories being still too general, it's hard for many players to find games they might like, if said games aren't blockbusters promoted on the main site - and only a few, bigger titles make it there. The tagging system helps a bit, but an event like this might help players to find more great titles that might interest them, and quicker. We basically try to let some hidden gems shine.
The current bundle is available until 10am PST July 26.