LIST: Top 5 Publishing Platforms for Indie Devs

5. Steam Greenlight

ss_b208def4d78a761118a0a79ed9f9d93992d831c4-600x338Steam is king when it comes to PC gaming. Their Greenlight community is an excellent tool to allow and encourage indie developers to put up their games on Steam and reach millions of players.

Unfortunately, it’s not the easiest choice. Applying on Steam requires a lot of time and effort. Furthermore, receiving enough votes from the community can be quite a feat. Specially when it comes to art games.

You will find countless Zombie titles and games with ridiculous names. Those are usually the hits. They’re either in fashion, or sound funny enough to create curiosity. A serious game may not be that easy to sell at first glance. They may be hard to explain, or difficult to accept. Be ready to invest part of your life if you choose to pursue this platform.

4. Engine Portfolio

Many game engines showcase their own assets store as well as games created with their tools. Although not the most popular platform, if your game is interesting enough, the engine marketing department may decide it’s worthy to promote.

Small engines that may have recently started business can award a great amount of free marketing if your game shows their capabilities. It’s a matter of choosing to be a big fish in a small pond.

3. Kongregate

kongregate_logoIf you’re looking for truly small “indie” games, this is the place to go. There’s a lot to filter, and you may stumble upon terrible games, but there’s nothing more satisfying than finding that hidden treasure.

Most of the games on the site are free, so don’t expect to make much money by publishing it there. Kongregate does pay a small fee from advertising revenues, but unless you have hundredths of thousands of players each day, don’t expect too much.

Kongregate is an excellent platform for testing out prototypes and getting feedback from the community (they have a great community, by the way). Every game features a public chat room, which makes it very easy to get people’s opinions (not apt for the faint of heart though).

It’s very simple to setup and account and upload your game, which should make it one of your first tries.

2. Android

google_play_logoThe mobile landscape is very underestimated. It is currently flooded with clones, micro-transactions and games that cater only to casual gamers. Nevertheless, hardcore gamers do have mobile phones with them too, and I’m tired of hearing how frustrating it is to be unable to find appropriate games for these players.

There seems to be a void which, amazingly, hasn’t been supplied.

The platform does limit the sort of games you can develop, of course. Touch screens create an interesting challenge. If you design a game for this platform, it better be designed for this platform. Make sure it is meant to be played with a touch screen, not with a mouse, a keyboard or a gamepad.

I chose Android over iOS for one simple reason: convenience. It is dead cheap ($25 one-time developer fee) and requires no approval from third parties (your game can be played in a matter of hours). I do prefer iOS if your intention is to make revenue, but for designers that are starting out or proficient ones that are putting out new and interesting games, your intention should be to get it to as many people as possible.

You do have to take into consideration compatibility issues. Whereas iOS is limited to very few devices, Android is found in all sorts of shapes and sizes, which means, your game may not function the same for every player.

1. Official Site

This seems like an obvious one, but as a game creator, you should be getting people to your personal site. If they like your game, they may want to play your future creations. Don’t make it hard for them. Give them a reliable site they can habitually visit.

An official website also allows to create a style, a brand, a name. You have flexibility to present your game in any fashion, without restrictions from other publishing platforms.

However, unless you already have thousands of followers, I do recommend you do not rely solely on your official site. It’s very hard to coincidentally stumble upon a game when it’s not in a popular site. In the end it’s a matter of making use of all possible platforms.