New indie PC platform 'ends discoverability woes'

New indie PC platform 'ends discoverability woes'

By Rob Crossley

December 7th 2011 at 3:16PM

Amazon-like recommendation engine 'gives all devs a fair chance'; Royalty rate at 15-25%

A new PC games platform has launched with the promise that high profile games won’t muscle out smaller titles on the store’s front page.

IndieCity, a digital games destination for independent developers only, incorporates an Amazon.com-like recommendations system that customises the storefront for each individual user.

The platform’s creator, Blitz Games Studios, believes the sophistication of the recommendations engine is an elegant solution to discoverability issues within the oceanic indie games market.

“What we’re trying to do is allow developers to make the most noise about their work,” said IndieCity project lead Chris Swan.

“We’re really proud of the recommendation engine, where we give customers an individual endorsements based on what they’ve played before,” he said in a newly published interview with Develop.

“It’s no longer about the big games on the front page any more – it’s about what you like and catering to those tastes. We want IndieCity to be a one-stop shop for all indie games. The only requirement we have is that the games submitted have to be from indie studios. As long as it is, and doesn’t crash or have viruses, then we’ll accept it on board.”

Swan said IndieCity’s the royalty rate is “much more competitive” than what’s generally offered on the leading PC digital platform, Steam.

“The standard deal is we’ll take 15 per cent if the developer integrates our achievements API, and we’ll take 25 per cent if they don’t,” he said.

“It sounds a bit hippy but we do see this as a bit of a lifestyle choice.

“Like you had the rough trade records indie music scene in the ‘70s, we think IndieCity is the same vision for games and developers. We want to promote the alternative world.”

The platform's store, which you can find here, offers a diverse mix of games from both established developers and new talent.

Swan said that, unlike with Valve, fun is not a factor in the approval process.

“How fun something is totally subjective, so it’s not something we’re looking for,” he said.

“The barriers to entry have dropped for indies, and now the real issue is discoverability. We think we can get good games noticed, that’s our mission. And we’re trying to make it as easy for developers as possible to integrate with us. We give you feedback on submissions, and it shouldn’t take more than an hour to set up your games page on our website. The developer will also get real-time sales and some gameplay analytics too.

“Discovery is the key to this, and we’re taking the same approach as Amazon. Our engine will ensure the good games keep popping up while the bad ones don’t. We don’t want to be the gatekeepers to determine what is fun and what isn’t. That should be down to the players themselves.”