Puppy Games Tells Customers What It Really Thinks About Them

August 18, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A new blog post from Puppy Games co-founder Caspian Prince (makers of such PC titles as Titan Attacks, Droid Assault, Ultratron, and Titan Attacks) takes aim at customers and their worth to the indie studio in this day and age. The line that will likely get the most attention is that "customers are worthless," but the point of the post is to highlight how deep discounting and the mob mentality of the Internet (he mentions Phil Fish) has deeply affected his company and changed his perception since he founded the company in 2002.

"Where once you were worth $20, and then you might have become a fan and bought another 4 games off of us for $20, you were worth $100," Prince write in his lengthy blog post. "We only had to fix your computer for you once, as well, so the next four games amortized the cost of the initial support... Now you're worth $1 to us. If you buy every one of our games, you're worth $5. After Valve and the tax man and the bank take their cuts, you're not even worth half a cup of coffee."

And while Prince acknowledges that he needs customers, he also notes that - these days - customers have become "like ants."

"Customers all think they're worth everything in the entire world to us," Prince continued. "The funny thing is, you are. Without customers, we're dead in the water, homeless and living in a cardboard box outside Berko sewage plant. But individually, you're like ants. And all of developers secretly know it and don't talk about it. You're not worth supporting. It's far, far better to completely, totally ignore support, if you want to make a living."

Finally, Prince says that he is not too overly concerned about the fallout of his frankness:

"The more we argue, the more we bait the trolls, the more we seem to get into a death spiral of internet hate... the better it is for us," Prince writes. "There is no such thing as bad publicity. Phil Fish may have turned in to a gibbering bearded recluse but now he's a famous gibbering bearded recluse. Phil Fish only has to tweet a fart and it'll be all over the internet. Given that discovery is the #1 problem for an indie developer (and always has been), you can see that the more infamous and terrible we are ... the more money we make."

You can check out the entire blog post in context here.

Source: GII

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Comments

Re: Puppy Games Tells Customers What It Really Thinks About Them

I feel there are some good points mixed in with a lot of bad here.  I understand the point about customer costs with support as I deal with this on things I develop for no pay and people yell at me for not setting everything up for them 100% the way they want it.  It's ridiculous, and I don't take that kind of shit from anyone.  On the flipside, I don't think the pricepoint arguments are valid.  I think puppygames has chosen a style of games that explicitly can't sell well because of the flood of similar types of games.  They have a tower style defense game, and some other arcadey ones all of which definitely have that $1 Android/iOS feel.  This is due to mobile market shift, not devaluing over steam sales.  The large issue I feel like he is complaining about is that he can't rake in easy cash anymore from these types of easy make games.  On the flipside it seems like there are some companies that can excel in this field too, just look at Plague Inc for example.

Re: Puppy Games Tells Customers What It Really Thinks About Them

That mentality maybe healthy to some degree, I mean you don't want to go bankrupt on customer support. If you take it too far though, you'll be in EA territory. The difference being EA is huge and hard to ignore, that's not true for Puppy Games.

Re: Puppy Games Tells Customers What It Really Thinks About Them

I think within the person's framework you can still are and still provide support, but the economic realities put constraints on it that do not match up with personal expectations.

Re: Puppy Games Tells Customers What It Really Thinks About Them

Haha... I like this guy.

Re: Puppy Games Tells Customers What It Really Thinks About Them

Too bad we have to kill him.

 
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