Posted by Nathan P. on August 3, 2006
Lots of shtuff in the blog-o-sphere is making my brain swirl today. We got Phil Reed on “Forge Games” Are Not “Indie Games”, the announcement that IPR got the Ogres Choice Award for Most Influential Company and this RPGnet thread titled The Forge Manifesto?.
I self-identify as an independent RPG publisher. I’m pretty secure in that self-identification, so lets leave that aside for now.
Am I an indie publisher? Am I a Forge publisher? Where do I lie on the “fringe <–> mainstream” continuum?
More and more, I’m looking at these questions less and less as identity concerns, and more and more as marketing concerns.
In a marketing sense, Indie Games are a brand. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, eh. Personally, I think that the self-publishing community is healthy and prolific and self-supporting while being mutually supportive, and thats awesome. Are there people that buy Indie Games like theres people that buy d20 Games? Yes. Definitely.
Do I want to market to those people? Thats the question that I’m trying to answer with each of my products. Being an active member of the Forge and Story-Games and an infrequent poster to RPGnet, and my games being carried on IPR and Key20 positions me in a certain way in the community. Honestly, if I wanted to deny the Indie label and try to refocus my outlets to other market segments – that would be a lot of work. Would it get me more sales? I don’t know.
And let’s not forget the fact that IPR as a whole probably grosses more than many “second-tier,” if not first-tier, large-press RPG publishers. Let’s not forget the fact that a number of individual independent publishers probably move more books in a year that these publishers, and that they make money on every sale. So it’s not like the Indie label is a bad one to have, in terms of moving product.
But it’s a little sad, that in the end, it all comes down to the green.