Show me the long term

August 17, 2014 | Filed under: business | showmethegames

It was a long time ago that I set up www.showmethegames. It was done out of exasperation with a conversation I’d seen 100 times in private lists and forums and email conversations that goes like this:

indie #1: we should set up a site that encourages people to visit each others indie websites
indie#2: thats a cool idea. It should have forums and a blog
indie3: ...yeah! and it should have regularly updated content...
indie4:..not only that, there should be embedded video, and also devlogs, and listings for all our games
indie1: Excellent, who is going to set up the site?
....sound of tumbleweed....

So I thought ‘fuck it’ and set one up myself. I got a lot of indie games listed on there, paid a web designer to do a logo and initial site design, and spent some time talking to other indies, even recording video from conferences to post content…

And it did ok. We ran a sale once, and that got very good traffic. But then I got busy. VERY busy, and getting anyone to write content for it was like pulling teeth. I should know better, because I was fighting against…

THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS

Which is basically why nobody had ever done this before. So about three months ago I changed my strategy. I’d left the site neglected for a while, but now I had a new outlook, and it was this…

“I am going to invest in building up SMTG as a decent traffic generator for indie game developers. It doesn’t matter that I do it alone, or that others are benefiting from my work and financial investment. In the long term I’m building up an asset. It’s not worth much yet, but it will be, and in two years time I’ll be glad I did it.”

So I hired a proper game journalist to write cool articles each week for the site which are now online. I also re-engineered the back-end a little bit to support me updating it more often without a lot of legwork by me. I also have other plans, to be revealed soon. I’m spending a few thousand dollars here and there. Not a lot, but not totally insignificant. Many indie games sites die through lack of traffic and interest. I’m prepared to do what it takes to keep this site running.

To that end…it needs more games. It needs recent games. HIGH QUALITY indie games that sell direct (through humble widget is fine), and that are finished (not early access). Do you know any? If so email em at cliff AT positech…. etc.

4 Responses to “Show me the long term”

  1. Mark says:

    “I also re-engineered the back-end a little bit to support me updating it more often without a lot of legwork by me.”

    Why did you not use an established CMS such as WordPress which would mean a lot less work for you?

  2. cliffski says:

    Because SMTG was set up with a whole randomized content system that would be a pain to do in wordpress. Plus it bugs me to constantly have to update those systems every week to patch the latest security flaw.

  3. Dan Hulton says:

    The slider on smtg is pretty odd, FYI. The arrow that leads to the game looks like the “show me the next game” button. For a while, I thought I’d missed the arrow by like a pixel and had to go back and forth a few times before I’d figured out the intended behaviour of the widget.

  4. Colm Larkin says:

    I think you are right. It’s a long term investment but I imagine will be pretty useful once it’s there.

    I’ll be in touch once I finally finish :D