Last week, IndieGames.com and Desura presented a new fortnightly event called Indie Royale. For those who haven’t checked it out yet, the idea is pretty simple. A bundle of 4 games are presented for a price of $2.00. As the bundle sells more the price steadily increases. But if users pay more for the game than the minimum the price will be reduced.
It’s definitely interesting to see how the indie games bundle market has expanded since the Humble Bundle started the trend a couple years ago.
Anyway, when Indie Royale first launched I had a lot of questions, as I’m sure you did, about just how the site came to be and what the plans are in the future. Luckily Michael Rose (former DIYGamer.com writer) was able to answer them for me. Enjoy!
DIYGamer: Can you explain a little bit on how IndieRoyale came about and the motivations behind it?
Michael Rose: It all came about when myself and Simon Carless began discussing ways in which we could further support the indie scene (apart from IndieGames.com). Simon got talking to Scott Reismanis at Desura, and suddenly a vague plan was formed. Over around 4 months, we toyed with the idea until we finally thought what the hell, let’s give this a shot! As you’d expect, the last 4 months have been pretty stressful, but now that Indie Royale has launched, we’re totally happy about it.
Our motivation is getting the word out about all the smaller indie titles that most people pass straight over. I think the majority of mainstream gamers think ‘indie’ means Braid, World of Goo, all those indie titles that you and I class as perhaps ‘high-profile indie’. While these games definitely reflect what indie is all about, it’s a shame that so many titles get passed straight over and don’t get much press, especially the real excellent ones. Indie Royale has been put in place to bring those under-appreciated titles to the foreground.
DIYGamer: Inside the announcement email it says that IndieGames.com and Desura worked together on this, but who actually owns it? Who is actually running the site?
Michael Rose: The site is run and owned jointly between UBM Tech (IndieGames.com parent company) and Desura. Running the site is me, Simon and Scott, along with some of the great people at Desura and IndieGames.com, who have been helping out with support and backend stuff.
DIYGamer: What’s the profit split for the developers and for the people running the site?
Michael Rose: As you’d expect, we’re not fully disclosing details on this. That’s not because we’re ashamed of the split we’re giving – far from it – but rather that it’s a sensitive deal between us and the devs. As I’m sure you’ve seen, other indie bundles in the past (and present!) rarely divulge the exact amount that devs are getting too for the very same reason.
DIYGamer: The plan is to have a bundle every two weeks, why two weeks when, at least, the first bundle seems to be only about 5 days long?
Michael Rose: There’s a cooling down period of 9 days between each one so that we can have a sit down and breathe a bit! While this bundle has been on, we’ve been constantly on the edges of our seats, making sure it’s all going smoothly, answering support emails and patching areas up that need fixing. Imagine if we had to do that 24/7 each single week… I personally would explode. So the 9 days is in place to give us time to prepare the next bundle as perfectly as possible.
DIYGamer: What the relation here to the Humble Bundle? Is this simply a way to capitalize on the indie bundle business?
Michael Rose: We have no relationship to the Humble Indie Bundle, although of course, we love what those guys do. They revolutionized the indie bundle idea, and are doing a fantastic job with it. We’ve tried to take some inspiration from them and make something very different – so we’ve got the every 2 weeks feature, the interesting up-and-down money feature, the stats tracking payments going up and down… plus, we’re aiming at an entirely different section of the indie scene to them. As mentioned above, we’re looking to bring the smaller indies to the foreground, whereas the HIB usually relies on ‘bigger’ indie names. That’s not a bad thing at all, it’s quite the opposite! But I think while they continue to put a spotlight on those, we’ll be helping some of the smaller names out at the same time.
DIYGamer: Roughly 35,000 bundles have been sold so far. How has reaction been to these sales so far? Are they below, or above expectations?
Michael Rose: The initial surge was completely unexpected, and we were overwhelmed – indeed, the Indie Royale servers weren’t very happy on the first night! To be honest, our expectations were all over the place, and we had absolutely no idea how well it would do. We’re now looking to fix up all the holes, bang in all the features that people have been asking for, and make sure that that future bundles do even better!
DIYGamer: What’s the ultimate goal for IndieRoyale? Is this planned to be a persistent service or is this a limited run thing?
Michael Rose: It’s going to run for as long as we can keep it going! We’re not planning any end to it as of yet, and as long as people still want to buy great indie games, we’re going to keep providing. If, in months to come, people are saying ‘I can’t believe I never tried any of these games before, my whole perception of the indie scene has changed’, then our goal will be satisfied.
Again super huge thanks to Michael Rose of IndieGames.com. As the first Indie Royale bundle comes to a close today with over 35,000 bundles sold I’d say the first was a success. It will be interesting to see how the indie games market changes with a site such as this and whether or not we’ll see more bundles appearing over time rather than games “going it alone” so to say.