In Indie Games, Are Looks More Valuable Than How The Game Works?

Good Looks Are More Valuable Because They Are Rare -- Learn How To Use This Insight To Help You Promote Your Indie Game...

When you learn more about what motivates your gamer to play and buy your game, then you'll have an easier time developing games that sell themselves.

So in this article you're going to learn about gamer buying buying behaviour.

These insights about what motivates a gamer to buy certain games, will help you when you're developing your indie game. They will give you new, fresh ideas on how to design your game in a way that is marketable.

I'm not talking about pandering. I'm not talking about making your game easier, or more "accessible".

I'm talking about how to make a game YOU want to make AND make it attractive to a lot of gamers as well.

If game devs don't learn about gamer buying behaviour, then they'll never understand why their game didn't sell... and they'll wonder why shitteir games, less quality games than theirs sold more.

So, get ready to learn something new about gamer buying behaviour so it can help you sell more copies of your indie game.

Indie Game Marketing Lesson 1: Perceived Value vs. Inherit Value

So, my sad attempt at a meme isn't that entertaining or funny. But it is loaded with huge lesson.

What I mean is, why would gamers spend more money on irrational things like cosmetic upgrades, and not the game itself?

It's more rational to think that the video game has more value than the superficial stuff around the game, right?

And this is what I mean when I say, "Inherit Vale".

Let me give you some examples, and all of this will make sense...

Your car has inherent value. It offers you transportation. It gets to you places faster than walking or riding a bike.

This is the inherit value of something. It's what the thing DOES. It's the rational reasons why people use and buy things.

It's the same thing with video games. Video games have inherent value. Two things people value in video games are theme and mechanics.

But there is one problem...

People don't buy things based on inherent value.

Let me explain...

Indie Game Marketing Lesson #2: Inherit Value Is a Commodity, Where The Lowest Price Is Most Important

Every car does the exact same thing: it takes you from point A to point B.

Same with video games: every game has some sort of theme and mechanics.

The inherit value of something is a COMMODITY.

It's like sugar. When you go to the grocery store, you're not going to buy the most expensive sugar... because sugar is sugar. It's a commodity. Why spend more.

Same thing with indie games. They are a commodity. There are so many games flooding the market everyday, that there is a surplus.

This change in the indie game market has turned games into a commodity.

So, it's like why would you buy expensive sugar when the same sugar is cheaper? Why would a gamer buy a $60 indie game, when they can find the same amount of fun, gameplay, and story from a $10 game?

Of course, gamers buy $60 games. But it's NOT because of the game's inherent value. I'll explain what the hell I'm talking about soon.

This is the heart of my point: gamers complain about game prices because to them games are like sugar -- they have become a commodity.

But, let me tell you about "Perceived Value" and how this will take your game out of it becoming a commodity.

Indie Game Marketing Lesson #3: People Buy The Perceived Value Of Games NOT The Inherit Value

Gamers say that graphics don't matter. But then why do they spend a lot of money on cosmetic upgrades? Why do they spend more on that than the actual game itself?

Also, why do gamers buy games when the THEME and MECHANICS are broken? How many games come out at launch and don't work -- yet gamers still buy? How many games have huge plot holes, and the story and them make no sense -- yet gamer still buy?

Well, remember how I said gamers will buy a $60 game. Well, it's because those games have "Perceived Value".

Perceived value is bigger motivating factor in selling, than anything else. To understand what perceived value is, let me give you an example...

You can either buy a hardcover or a soft-cover of a book. The contents inside are exactly the same. But, a hardcover book has MORE perceived value?

Why? Because of looks.

A hardcover book looks better as a room decoration than a softcover book.

I know what you're thinking. People buy hardcover books because they're more durable. And they're more expensive because it cost more to produce.

As a marketer, and as you'll soon learn as you start developing and selling more games, you'll notice this...

People buy with emotion, then justify their purchase rationally.

Nobody is going to admit they buy a lot of books because they can show off to friends when they come over, and make their house look nicer. They'll tell people that they love reading. Yet, they probably haven't read 5% of those books.

How Something Looks Is MORE Valuable Than How Something Works

My point is, the way something looks is worth MORE than how it works. Why? Because good looking things are more rare than the actual things.

We hold good looking things in high regard because it's rare.

Also, good looking things are NOT a commodity. And how something looks is not rational. It's an emotional response. And remember, people buy things emotionally. And how something LOOKS is more important than the how it actually works.

Ok, so what's my point? I'm talking about sugar, cars, and books! How does this help you sell more copies of your indie game.

Let me show you that next...

Here's a List of Takeaways You've Learned So Far...

So, now what? Let me give you one more thing...

How To Sell Your Indie Game Using Perceived Value: A Simple Formula

Ok, you just learned a lot of jargon, and lot of abstract ideas. Now let's take those ideas, and let me show you, exactly, step-by-step on how to use perceived value to help you sell your indie game.

Most indie games talk about the mechanics of their game, or the theme of their game.

But instead of mechanics and theme, what I want you to look at is the LOOK of your game.

What makes your game's LOOKS different than other games?

For example, pixel art games had a high perceived value. But if you take a quick look at today's indie games, pixel art has become a commodity. That's because of it's over-use. And the perceived value of pixel art has lowered because it's not so rare anymore.

But even if you are using pixel art, how is it DIFFERENT than other pixel art? Undertale is pixel art. But what made it stand out is it's simplicity, and its animation. The animation made pixel art characters look and feel alive. That's rare.

My goal here is to have you gain an insight about your indie game in terms of how it looks.

So, before you finish off the day, I want you to think about...

What's Unique About My Games' Looks?

If you can come up with an answer, you'll have a better time communicating to a gamer why your game isn't another commodity.

And how you describe your game will impact whether a gamer will see your game as a commodity or something rare.

Bonus Extra Credit: Your Action Plan

Remember, gamers buy emotionally and justify their purchase rationally. To get a gamer's attention, you must lead with an emotional hook. And how your game looks is how to grab them emotionally.

But, you also need to describe WHY your game is different and unique. By going back to my question...

What's Unique About My Game's Looks?

...will help you come up with way you can describe your game to show off how it's unique.

Now as an extra credit, go write a blog entry on WHY your game is unique and different. Instead of a devlog about game theme and mechanics, talk about why your game is beautiful, or cool, or why it looks great. This is the content that gamers like to find and consume.

And when you're done, send me your link. My email is konrad (at) And I'll be happy to offer an marketing insights to help you get your game more attention, and help you sell more copies.

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