Indie Xmas 2009 (Let’s Beat Together Those Bastard AAA Games)

I got this really funky idea this morning which could mean:

  • I want to get help generate tons of indie game sales. I want to build a huge hyped “xmas portal site” that helps sell tons of indie games this Christmas – all profits going to indies.

Here’s my idea in a nutshell:

  • We’ll register a domain that has “indie” and “christmas” or something like that in it (feel free to suggest ideas!)
  • The site will be bloody simple (think of something like this but a little more texts and download buttons and stuff)
  • The site will have Xmas colors and reindeers and bright xmas stuff (if somebody wants to help make layout, please feel free to show yourself!)
  • Only indies are allowed to submit their games
  • Each game’s position will be randomized with every page load – so every game has equal chance to being shown there. (It could even be an Xmas calendar type of thing where new game or games are revealed every day)
  • There will be images to click and links to click. Only images are hosted here, downloads must be hosted by you.
  • Payments go through your site. I collect zero pennies for this. 100% revenues go for indies and webhosting fees are on my shoulders (when the server crashes due too much traffic, we can ask for donations or something).
  • It would be good if there was a xmas special discounts (maybe something to be revealed in the calendar each day) as many games as possible. Ranging anywhere from 10% to 50% or more discounts. (To give customers more reason to visit the site)

As for promotion:

  • I will use my game release service to promote the site.
  • Naturally I’ll also use this and my own game sites to promote.
  • All indies who participate, if possible, should try promote the site some way (for example via their mailing list, blogs, twitter…)

Of course I’d benefit from this the same way as everybody else: I’d finish my game and put it available through this “indie xmas site” (in absolutely same manner as everybody’s elses game – not my game getting any bonuses or anything for being “owner” of the idea).

If you are interested, please reply in this blog post (or retweet or blog about this) and please suggest some ideas & improvements on how to handle this. Let me know if you are interested in participating or helping improve the design for this idea.

Basically the idea is to beat those bastard AAA games and bastard game portals the next Xmas. (Or at least give them a little nudge… and let *us* collect what’s rightfully ours.)

Viva la indie!

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Tom: yeh, there’s been some action going “behind the scenes” already. I aim to start this thing on Nov 2 with more action steps.

    (IGF submission deadline on Nov 1 -> getting my game ready by that ;))

  2. Juuso is absolutely right. If we are to make this happen before Christmas, it might be a good idea to start with the site implementation. For instance, I will be glad to offer help with coding tasks. Maybe someone can help with graphical design tasks ? Any audio/video artists ?

  3. Jason: that’s the whole marketing story. If it was “indie games all around the year”… then what’s the news in that? There’s already indie portals selling games all around the year. Reflexive, Steam, Manifesto… I don’t see how this could possibly compete with those. (Plus: operating this takes time & effort & server capacity – thus in a long run it couldn’t be “100% goes to indies” – and it would soon evolve to one more portal…)

    So, the story in this would be to have “indie xmas”. To get the press interest.

    It’s simply a marketing twist in order to get attention. Stories are important… Does this make any sense now? :)

  4. I’m interested! But I agree with Katherine, no reason why this idea couldn’t be bigger than Xmas. So the site name should reflect that broader focus, too.

  5. I mean I will look at it IN DECEMEBER ONLY. Raaar.

  6. Merry October. Actually I don’t hate you for this because you are trying to organise something in time for Christmas, so now is about the right time to talk about it. But I hate Christmas until December.

    Good luck with your indie portal. I will totally look at it if you get it going :)

  7. Alejo: I see… perhaps they can still buy them in december? :)
    (okay – we can think of this…)

  8. About extending it to january. I have to say that in some countries there is the tradition of giving the presents on jan 6th with the visit of the 3 wise men.

    Great idea BTW (a good experiment with a lot to learn from)

  9. @Juuso Yes!
    Of course!

    Confidence is the key to success!
    And hopefully, excessive use of exclamation marks!!!

  10. @Raul: sounds good.

    @Christian: yes, I see no problem (in case there will be a buy button in addition to download+website buttons)

  11. Hi,

    can we also put our games as freeware on the page while the user doesn’t see a BUY but a DONATE button? The link would lead e.g. to the PayPal page with a default text and money amount, like 5$ or so…

    Best regards,

  12. This is a wonderful idea.

    I will surely come with my games and for Christmas I’ll have a special discount.

  13. @Charcoal: you must mean when, not if. Right?

    @Robert: seems like there will be section for those, plenty of indie games “coming up”..

  14. Hmmm, my self-imposed dead line is the beginning of December.

    If I make that, I’m in!

  15. Awww, My game won’t be done by then. But if there’s a “keep an eye out for these tasty morsels in development” type section; I’d love to put a little gameplay video up. :D

  16. @Jake: as for “don’t stop”… we just might stop this in December, since after all this… is about Xmas sales! We’ll consider this – but if the point of this site is to provide “indie xmas” I have my doubts if we also say “but of course you can visit the site in january, no need to get anything today…”. Not sure if it’s against “the spirit of xmas [sales]” :)

    @Jake: sounds great – maybe a trailer at minimum?

  17. Yes. BMT, Plimus… cheques, dead rats – anything goes. The only thing I’m interested in that you guys give me working link to order page so that people can click it. (or just a download link, we’ll see).

  18. Don’t stop selling after Christmas day because people keep on buying well into January. I have the sales to prove it!

  19. Yeh, I see no problem. All the orders won’t be handled by this site, but rather each individual site.

  20. Hi Juuso,

    as promised on the Game Producer Forums, here I (saimo) am.
    Again, first of all, my congratulations and thanks for this initiative!

    I have a couple of questions.
    I made a 100% indie game that has been put on the market earlier this year by a publisher (for fiscal reasons, as a simple individual, I’m not allowed to sell goods). Can my game be accepted?
    Also, for various reasons, to buy the game it is first necessary to fill an order form – in other words, it is not possible to buy directly by means of a payment through PayPal and the likes: would my game fit the mechanisms you are preparing for your initiative?


  21. Great to hear that Troy. (And thanks others as well who like to participate).

    I was thinking of having 24 calendar doors to open. in each door, it would reveal a new game or games (and possibly trailers). each door’s content could be randomized…


  22. I’ll add my games to the site! And I’ll be able to promote this on my blog and monthly newsletter. I agree it should be Christmas only, at least for now – that makes it “special” and adds a bit of urgency for visitors if they think it is over once Dec 25 goes by.

    A randomized list for the home page is a good idea to make sure everyone gets visibility; however, I also suggest an alphabetical listing so that when visitors return, they can find their game again.

  23. @Ovo: the rest of the year… it could collect names for the next xmas… :)

    That’s the marketing plot – to have it only on xmas (“indie xmas”) – since there’s already portals/sites available full year. That’s the story to tell to people… and it just might be interesting enough to attract media interest.

  24. It might be wise to not color the name of the site with XMAS. Imagine it’s a big success, would be a shame to keep it only for xmas…


  25. Oops, I opened this like before I left this morning and didn’t think to refresh and see replies. I’d bet I can get a trailer of some sort by then, so I think it sounds like a great idea.


  26. There’s no way my game will be ready for Christmas, but best of luck to you! Hopefully next year if it goes well.

  27. I’ve also got people saying “will not get game done by then”… maybe there could be section for trailers as well? To get videos about *upcoming* games.


  28. Great idea!
    I’m in if I finish my game by then (50-50 chance).

  29. I’m in! And it’s awesome timing, ’cause I’ll have time to release my game by then.

  30. Sounds like a great idea, with several possibilities, depending on how well it goes. Too bad the game I’m working on won’t be done in time.

  31. Alex: I was thinking pc/mac, but not sure.

    Depends what everybody else thinks… I’d think it could be okay to have iphone games too – but would like to hear opinions.

  32. Is this targetted for PC only indie games, or are other platforms like iPhone allowed?

  33. Okay, sorry for the date confusion – don’t know what I was thinking. It’s 2009 xmas – couple of months to go. So, no need to invest money (we can talk about that if the server explodes :), just collaboratively get our games out and sell them.

    I don’t know the season starts… but of course December 1st at latest.

    I’m willing to operate this, yeh. Of course this can help sell my game as well, and there’s extra space on the server, so I’m not really losing anything here (and bit of time can be arranged for the promotion).

  34. Lol, did I really type 2010? Argh!!! I almost know what year it is…
    2009 of course! fine way to start this campaign :)

    /end of that.

  35. Sounds like a very good idea.
    When does the shopping season actually start? or when should the games be ready?
    I wouldn’t mind donating(investing) money to the upkeep of a good server for one or two months(thats how long it should take?). We don’t need a server for a whole year.

  36. Of course this is a great idea if you are willing to do it. Yet another avenue for sales is ALWAYS a good idea.

  37. i’m confused, you want to do this this year or next year? For me this is 2009 until december 31st.

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