Posted on 13th May 2009 at 11:17 by Introversion Software with 4 comments
“If something you do costs you money it’s a hobby, if something you do makes you money it’s a business.” These were very comforting words to me during the early years of Introversion. Back then we were a small operation – three people, no office, I was working only part-time, and I spent a lot of my time worried and embarrassed that we weren’t a “proper business”.
We had been lucky with our first game release, Uplink, and had made (almost) enough cash to drive us forward and make our second game Darwinia. Darwinia then won a number of awards at the IGF in 2006, and we rapidly followed up with DEFCON which has been our strongest seller to date. Looking back, I guess there was a certain sense of invincibility within the firm, coupled with a sense of arrogance that somehow we just “knew better” about what to do and how to do it.
It was May 2007 and I had grown tired of living and working in the same space – working from home sounds like a good idea, but I found I could never switch off and it was slowly driving me crazy. We rented a town house in Bermondsey and for the first time ever Introversion had an office. This certainly felt like a major step forward, but it didn’t really change the way we worked or behaved. We were working on Multiwinia at the time and the game design was really coming together well, the X360 port of Darwinia was in full swing and we had made the decision that Multiwinia would be Introversion’s fourth major game launch.
Posted on 7th Apr 2009 at 13:41 by Introversion Software with 0 comments
Despite a much-welcomed revival of indie gaming talent recently, and the increasing prominence of events like the IGF awards at GDC, the games industry has not always been a friendly place for independents. Introversion was founded in 2001, a particularly difficult time, when publishing giants and their game franchises battled it out for limited retail space and front-page magazine adverts. This was just before the age of digital distribution really got underway, and the top 10 charts were constant reworkings of IP dug up from yesteryear. As a result people are often surprised to learn that Introversion will be celebrating its 8th birthday this year.
Despite these unfavourable climates and some admittedly rocky times, Introversion has steadily grown and evolved, and we’re often asked at trade events to shed a little light on how we did it. We’re asked to advice on subjects as diverse as which publishers to work with, how to finding a good lawyer and how to plan game launches. From a personal point of view I used to get pretty worried when advice was sought about our marketing strategy – it rather implied that we had things sussed; that marketing for us was an exact science, with a goal, strategy and a measurable outcome. In reality, it felt that more often than not, we owed our successes to haphazard experimentation, chance encounters and one-off pot luck, than any formal marketing strategies, or colour-coded launch plans.
Posted on 9th Mar 2009 at 13:23 by Introversion Software with 9 comments
The Curse of Darwinia, as it has become known at Introversion, actually began way before we ever got near the Xbox Live Arcade deal with Microsoft three years ago. So before we delve headlong into a discussion about the murky world of commercial independent game development, let me give you a quick recap for those unfamiliar with Introversion and the infamous Darwinia.
Darwinia was released on PC back in March 2005. It got a lot of critical acclaim, but suffered from a bit of a botched retail launch (our fault for over-pricing it), and seemingly had only a small hard core following online. That all changed in late 2005 when Darwinia was released on Steam as only the second non-Valve game on the platform. Sales shot through the roof, and almost seemingly overnight everyone knew about the game and Introversion.
After that we got an email from CMP, the folks who run the GDC games conference. They suggested that we'd be eligible for the Independent Games Festival which was running at the next GDC in March 2006. We entered and waited. Sure enough, we soon found that we'd made it to the short-list of games and received some complimentary invites to the conference which was being held in San Jose. Yay!