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Lack of exposure a problem for digital platforms - Hello Games

Joe Danger team acknowledges self-publishing also means self-promotion; Sony Pub Fund helps with "inexperience"

Hello Games' Sean Murray has said that one of the major obstacles for success on digital platforms is a lack of exposure on formats such as Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.

Murray also said that "fruitless" meetings with publishers in the early stages of development prompted the team to self-publish the game – only to see renewed interest in the title once it was announced to the public.

"The reaction was good once people saw the game - but that's the problem for everybody on digital download," said Murray in an interview published today. "There are so many good games coming out on XBLA that they don't even register on people's radars.

"Something like 130 games were released last year, and most people can name maybe eight or ten - and that's not because there weren't great games. And it's the same on PSN - they don't get talked about, and it's the same for us. We'll say: 'We're Hello Games and we're working on Joe Danger,' and most people will say: 'Who and what is that?'"

Murray acknowledged that marketing and raising the profile of the game is something that comes with self-publishing – calling it a "scary" prospect for independent studios, but part of that pressure has been alleviated by signing up to Sony's Pub Fund, designed to support indies on the PlayStation Network.

"For four of us, that was a scary idea, to be the publisher, to handle marketing, localisation, ratings, and huge expense - as much as the whole development cost of the game itself," offered Murray. "Ultimately we decided to make that commitment - we believed in the game we were making, we believed we weren't going to be able to make the same game through a publisher - so we decided to go it on our own, put in the extra money, and since we've made that leap Sony has been really supportive.

"We're signed with something called the Pub Fund, and that's something that helps developers like ourselves with that publishing process. That's what it's set up to do - to create these electronic publishers, people who are perhaps inexperienced like us."

The full interview with Sean Murray, where he also discusses the "heartbreak" of the QA process and momentum behind developing the game, can be read here.

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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