Chicken Wants To be A Dinosaur

Don't get scammed when releasing your indie game

Game scam here, game scam there, game scams everywhere; and unfortunately part of the process when releasing an indie game. If you can have one take away from this article then it is this; Do not sign anything you haven't read and be sure to contact a lawyer when needed.

If you fall victim to one of these scams such as free steam keys, be proactive and act quickly, you can handle it but it would have been best to avoid it in the first place.

"The Fake Influencer Scam"

At the time of writing this article, this is by far the most common game scam you will be facing as an indie game developer trying to make your mark on the world. Every game developer gets these emails, in fact, it is not limited to game development, we all do.

The scam is simple- The scammer will send you an email claiming to be a game reviewer, streamer or "influencer" of some kind. Between the email's name, icon, profile, bio and other information, everything will look legit at first and sometimes it is "sort of legit". However, if you investigate the email further you will often find that the streamer or influencer emailing you is not the actual influencer in question- the person is a fraud.

You can verify the influencer by going to their official social media and sending an email to their business address listed.

A lot of the time these scam emails are automated, which makes it a little easier to spot. Be vigilant and check the source of any email you receive and who they are claiming to be. Do not be afraid to challenge them. Your finances are at stake here.

There are many ways to handle these types of scams, I have heard of some game developers handing out real steam keys that they intentionally invalidate in order for the scammer to get bad reviews. In this business, reputation is everything; I personally opt to avoid these individuals at first sight and focus my neurons at more important tasks like gameplay.

But this leads us to the next indie game scam.

"The Bundle Game Scam"

Due to the success of the original humble bundle, you will get a lot of offers to include your game as part of their "bundle"- This is not inherently a scam.

The scam begins when the scammer claims that you will get an amazing offer from 10, 20 or even 30%+ of the bundle sales if you can just give them a measly 10,000-50,000 steam keys of your game.

The scammer will ask you to sign a contract then send over the keys to them asap so they can put it into their distribution channels to start making you that well deserved money.

Once signed you will get an instant Happy Hour as it is called as the scammer sells 3-10x as many keys as per purchased. They will communicate with another party who will instantly buy up the keys.

You will be left with 10% or worse from the original amount you thought you were going to be getting. At the same time, the scammer and his friends will be selling your game at a lower pricing through other stores.

Your potential customers will naturally go to where the lower price is and this will completely screw over your ability to sell full priced copies of your game and you will not be receiving the negotiated amount you thought you were going to get.

Yes, this is legal. This game scam is not as common as the Influencer scam but it is far more insidious as it is legal. Always make sure to get a lawyer to read over any contract before you sign anything

How to make a game and stay motivated

The Pistol Running Sketch - PForPistol

To make a game is very similar to running a marathon, its difficult but there is a path forward.

Tips For Modern Indie Game Developers

Mock Gameplay PForPistol

Being an indie developer does not mean only making a game on your own. Here are 5 critical tips from an indie game developer.

What does DLC stand for anymore? Patch, Patch, Patch

Shooting Sketch PForPistol

In fairness, patches are a great asset of modern gaming, they vary wildly compared to what a DLC is and how they add extra content to an existing product.