Thanks to everyone that participated! It was really fun and we hope to do it again some time in the future.

Hey Reddit, I’m Mike, co-founder of IndieGameStand - a website that spotlights a new indie game every 4 days for Pay-what-you-want. I'm an avid video gamer, dog lover, and craft beer connoisseur.

Keep an eye out for other team members (dliebner and canj) in this conversation and be sure to follow us on Twitter @indiegamestand.

We're here to answer your questions for as long as you'll have us reddit, so with that in mind - Ask Us Anything!

Comments: 128 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

KatieHal1611 karma

Why did you decide to do single game sales instead of game bundles like many other, similar, sites do?

mgnade22 karma

A few reasons:

  1. There are way too many bundle sites and we didn't want to be 'just another bundle site'
  2. I feel that individual games are lost in bundles and really wanted to give gamers a choice based on each individual game. Let each game sit in the spotlight a little bit and stand on it's own merits.
  3. As a gamer, I got tired of rebuying the same games over and over in bundles

Verizian5 karma

Very good reasons. I must say, in terms of quality, your site has not disappointed, with the exception of Blueberry Garden. I thought that game was just pointless

mgnade8 karma

Interesting that you picked that one - the only IGF grand prize winner we've featured. It is an odd game though - super artsy.

Juri7771 karma

Many other ? I only know of humble bundle.

mgnade6 karma

There are a ton: IndieRoyale, IndieGala, Groupees, BuildaBundle, are just a few off the top of my head.

Auyx9 karma

How do you feel about the sales disparity between games that have steam keys and those that don't, I personally have not bought games I would otherwise be interested in because they lacked steam keys?

Do you think Greenlight is enough of a solution to this problem and what would you change about it if you could be Gabe for the day?

mgnade19 karma

I think it's sad when people don't buy games because they don't have steam keys. Getting on Steam is a huge barrier to entry and there are a ton of great games that are not on there. The great thing about our site is we can distribute Steam keys retroactively - so a everyone that bought a game like Gnomoria (which was greenlit after being featured on our site) got Steam keys once it was on that service.

I don't think Greenlight is a solution at all - to get greenlit you already need to be a successful indie game or have a slew of fans to upvote your game.

If I was Gabe for a day, I would probably hire more people to work on Steam and get rid of Greenlight. Fans shouldn't have to upvote/spam Valve to get a game on Steam. They should have more curators working through all their submissions.

tgunter4 karma

What are your thoughts about the system that Gabe has previously suggested in interviews, where instead of having Greenlight, Steam would be opened up as an API? Getting onto the Steam store itself would still be difficult, but developers could still offer Steam-compatible games.

mgnade7 karma

I think that's better - especially if that would allow anybody to get on the Steambox. Hopefully the API would also allow devs to send out Steam keys too. It's certainly better than Greenlight, plus I would assume that the API would allow Valve to track usage stats so that they could tell when a game was popular and should be offered in the store.

mgnade4 karma

I'm coming back to this question because I don't think the sales disparity between Steam/non-steam is that big. Our top 2 sales (until Pid / Guns of Icarus Online) did not come with Steam keys. Even when looking at our top 10 games - only 5 had Steam keys and 3 of those 5 also had GoG keys.

burnpsy5 karma

How do you feel about all the people who pay less than $2? I've noticed very few games every go above that amount as the average on your site.

What is the most trouble you've ever had in running the site?

mgnade7 karma

In general, I'm happy with our average price since our price per game is much higher than a bundle where you get 6+ games for $6 or less. We're happy with anyone who stops by and supports the site no matter how big or small.

The hardest 2 things were: 1. Getting Developers before the site launched 2. Dealing with all of the tickets when Paypal's IPN broke during the Cognition sale

KatieHal162 karma

For which, I must add, your team did an AMAZING job of handling!

mgnade3 karma

Thanks - basically every purchase for 2 days needed to be processed manually - it sucked.

burnpsy2 karma

I never thought of it that way. It certainly does seem like more revenue for the developer per sale.

Ah, of course, PayPal. Why am I not surprised? Convenient and annoying at the same time. :/

mgnade3 karma

Yeah the biggest bummer is that when avg price is really low - that means the percentage that goes to credit card fees is higher.

DrugsAndMinecraft5 karma

What are the current biggest sources of traffic driving users to your site? What (rough) percentage of traffic is driven to your site from Reddit's own /r/gamedeals community?

mgnade6 karma

I believe reddit as a whole is our biggest referrer outside our own stuff (blog, Twitter, Newsletter)

Verizian3 karma

Are there any titles that you wish you could have featured, but were unable to for logistical reasons?

mgnade6 karma

The biggest barrier for us is Humble Bundle now - they have an exclusivity clause so you can't be in a bundle before them. I've reached out some devs that are really interested but scared that being featured on our site will void them from participating in a HiB. Some have even gone as far as to say they'll ask HB first to see if it's possible - they've never come back saying Yes, so I assume the exclusivity thing is the problem.

Verizian3 karma

I never knew about that. Honestly, they do tons to promote the community and they have lots of positive effort, but that clause is really selfish.

mgnade3 karma

Keep in mind this is all hearsay and what devs have passed along to me - maybe they're just letting us down nicely.

DrugsAndMinecraft3 karma

Possibly tricky questions so I understand if you don't respond:

  • Naming no names, are there any games that have been submitted to IGS that you have had to refuse to accept, due to reasons such as poor quality, technical flaws or offensive material?

This question is sort of prompted by the removal of indie 'seduction simulator' Seduce Me being removed from Greenlight by Valve, and your comments elsewhere in this thread that express dissatisfaction with the Greenlight platform:

  • Does the team have any particular moral orientation that reflects what kind of games you would be happy to display on the site (whether relevant now or in the future as the site grows)?

mgnade3 karma

  • Yes, there are absolutely games that are not up to our standard and do not deserve to be featured on our site. We've actually reworked our submission process since GDC so that we can comb through games as a team and schedule games in blocks now rather than as they come in. This should lead to us scheduling the best games we have available at any given time.
  • I don't think our morals ever affect our decision about whether or not to feature a game. We really try to mix up the genres we offer and find the best games/deals that we can and feature those. That's our mission. If the game is fun, we'll spotlight it. I haven't played Seduce me, so I can't speak to if it's fun or not. It can get dicey when it comes to erotic type games, so the game might have more of an upwards battle gameplay wise.... this is a hard question - if it ever came up we'd really have to all play the game and talk about it.

animusinteractive3 karma

Mike, we are a new indie game development company ourselves. How do we get on a website such as your own. We recently visited DMW in LA, and plan on attending E3.

We are releasing a game in 4-5 months. And something like your site would be helpful since the publishers all but squash out small guys like us.

mgnade4 karma

You can submit your game here:

We'll get you in our developer portal and then when you're ready you can submit your game for a sale slot.

You should try attending GDC / PAX over E3 since there is more of an indie focus at those events.

animusinteractive2 karma

Thanks Mike

If you had to name 3 things you constantly see indie developers make mistakes with, and what they should avoid. What would you recommend?

mgnade2 karma

  1. Indies need to start contacting press and creating a press list as soon as they have screens of their games - never stop marketing
  2. Show your game to people and get feedback - don't work in a vacuum
  3. Start chattering about your game on your site, newsletter etc. early

Niksmart1a3 karma

Why did you start this site, and how do you feel this could compete with other indie game websites?

mgnade3 karma

I came up with the idea in Jan 2012 after being frustrated by all the Bundle sites. I smashed together that PWYW idea with sites like Groupon/Living Social. I actually showed those sites to my designers when we started mocking everything up.

passion4indiegames3 karma

hey IndieGameStand! Is there any possibility that you will relaunch a game? I missed a few like Gnomoria.

mgnade3 karma

Our current sale is actually sort of a relaunch ... well at least a 2nd chance to get Brainpipe and Gnomoria.

I don't think we'll ever do a full-on promotion of a game, but we are looking at ways that people could buy old deals from our site and get them in your IGS wallet. Stay tuned for more info on that... we're still figuring this piece out.

passion4indiegames2 karma

that sounds good! really looking forward to it! I just bought the current deal, please let us know on twitter when we can get Gnomoria again!

mgnade3 karma

Definitely! We hope to build some cool things over the summer and have some new things around PAX Prime

iLag2 karma

In what way is IndieGameStand affiliated with IGM?

mgnade3 karma

I founded IGM back in Nov 2008 - but they are entirely separate companies and entities

Unlukey2 karma

What's your favorite game featured on your site?

mgnade3 karma

My personal favorite is probably Megabyte Punch - it combines MegaMan and Super Smash Brothers. My competitive side also really liked Gimbal.

Purpl3Surreal2 karma

What's your favorite rpg?

mgnade3 karma

As a long time gamer, my favorite RPGs are from when I was much younger. I loved Secret of Mana and ChronoTrigger on SNES, but my favorite all time is definitely Panzer Dragoon Saga. I was lucky enough to get one of the US copies for my Saturn.

DrugsAndMinecraft2 karma

What indie games are currently on your play list or to-do list? Are there any potentially underexposed titles that you would like to give a particular shout-out or heads up about?

mgnade3 karma

The past month has seen some pretty big indie titles: Monaco is Mine (great) Guacamelee (superb) BattleBlock (disappointing for me)

I've been playing those. I was actually playing through some of our game submissions yesterday and found Snorms surpisingly fun and Paranormal legitimately scary.

DrugsAndMinecraft2 karma

I've been watching a playthrough of Guacamelee and likewise think it looks superb. I don't have the right hardware to play it (PS3 or Vita) so have had to settle for a video series. Love the art style and wrestling inspired combat system.

So Snorms and Paranormal are scheduled as deals? Cool, you heard it here first people!

mgnade3 karma

Actually neither are scheduled just yet - we schedule in blocks, and I think 1 still needs bonus content - but yes they are in the queue.

JamesGammans1 karma

I agree Guacamelee was amazing, but all the hype surrounding Battle Block Theater did make it kind of a disappointment.

mgnade2 karma

It's not that it's a bad game... it's just not as good as castle crashers and took what 5 years?

Deerhoof_Fan2 karma

It seems like a lot of games these days are not challenging, and tend to coddle the player. That is to say, many titles are more like interactive entertainment than a genuine game. Some of my best memories in video games are from being frustrated with or stuck on a game that I'm bad at, getting better at it, and finally conquering the hardest parts.

Why do you think we see more challenging games like this in indie games? Do you see games like this ever making a prominent return to the mainstream?

mgnade3 karma

I think we see these really challenging games in the indie scene because a lot of the developers came from that harder generation of games and miss it. They're old enough now to make the games that they miss. I think an argument can be made that Super Meat Boy was pretty mainstream and definitely challenging, but I don't think we'll ever see extreme difficulty as a default in major titles. Legendary difficulty in Halo is pretty challenging...but that's an option.

KaiserKvast2 karma

What's your favorite game and why?

mgnade3 karma

Panzer Dragoon Saga - best RPG I've ever played combined gameplay and story into something epic

sgtspike2 karma

When will you start taking Bitcoin?

+bitcointip $1 verify

mgnade6 karma

That would be awesome wouldn't it! Personally, I'm intrigued by bitcoin and would love to add it, but we honestly haven't even started looking into integrating it yet. Paysafecard has also been highly requested.

sgtspike2 karma

It would be! Take a look at Bitpay. They'll help you integrate it, charge only a 1% fee, and can deposit USD directly in your bank account for free if you do not want to hold on to Bitcoins.

mgnade6 karma

I have a coinbase account and successfully purchased/sold a bitcoin over the past few weeks (made $20+ or so). I really need to talk to Dan about it. I think the biggest obstacle would be integrating it into the cart and converting to the USD average price etc.

denna_resin2 karma

What do you think makes a good indie game stand out from a mediocre or bad indie game? How do you decide which games to feature on your site?

mgnade3 karma

*I'm a big fan of unique art styles and experimental gameplay - I think if you have one or both of those things, your game naturally stands out as different. Bad games are pretty obvious from video trailers, but you have play a game to really separate the great from the mediocre.

*We posted about our new process on our forum not too long ago:

Freemantic2 karma

How unforgiving is the indie game industry? It seems like your first major game is make or break it sometimes.

mgnade3 karma

The indie game industry is evolving and changing - much like the film industry did years ago. Many "indie" games are the equivalent of indie films like Silver Linings Playbook - there are some elite indie developers that aren't taking the same financial risks since they have distribution through Steam, XBLA, etc.

Games take a long time and it's hard to recoup your time and money if you're not getting your game out to the masses. It's like anything, if you don't stick with it, it's hard to be successful.

scoi0072 karma

Were you ever worried - either when you started or after you'd been going for a while - that you'd run out of games/partnerships?

The site is based on a very time-driven turnover and I think the 3-day guarantee is part of what really incentivized me to keep coming back. Was that ever a cause for concern?

mgnade3 karma

It was a huge concern at first especially leading up to launch. It was hard er to sell developers on the concept when it didn't exist. It's become 100% easier now that it's been running for a few months. I don't worry about running out of games at all anymore. We do work on looking for really great games and reaching out to those developers though. The reality is that the more developers and users we have using our site - the easier it is for us to bring folks the best games/deals available.

northwoods212 karma

  1. What part of the game do you find most lacking in most Indy titles?

  2. Where would you like to see Indy devs improve most in the years to come?

  3. What major (big budget) game developer would you most like to see go out of business and be forced into developing soley children's games? And why?

mgnade3 karma

  1. I guess most (bad) indie titles can be buggy
  2. I think indies are doing fine. I just want there always to be room for the smaller teams - I don't want every indie title to have win the IGF to get on steam.
  3. EA's SimCity DRM sucked a big one - so they come to mind right now. Anybody that is making single player games where you have to be connected online to play them should stop.

BooBooTheGoofer2 karma

Hi Mike.

My son is 14 and is very interested in pursuing a career in the video game industry.

What are some good resources to gain some insight into what the various career paths are, what skills they would require and software/knowledge would be required?


mgnade3 karma

I'd encourage him to go to a GDC career fair - but he should check out Universities like Full Sail or Digipen.

burkhalp741 karma

Are you related to an employee at UT Dallas?

mgnade2 karma

Not that I know of

Rob_Saget1 karma

Would you be interested in coming on my podcast and nerding out about video games?

mgnade2 karma

Absolutely - mail me at mike at with the details.

Fatdude31 karma

Are you ever planing on selling past games again?

mgnade1 karma

Right now we are not planning on it. There are so many great games and it seems unfair to rehash games - plus it makes each sale more important to grab. There will be indirect chances to grab games you may have missed though (just look at the current DataJammers deal) and we should be rotating in "unlock any past deal" prizes for top contributors.

Amonette20121 karma

One of the things I really like about your site is that 10% of the sales go to a charity designated by the games designer/company. How did that concept come about? Was it an idea you started with or did you have a 'hey, we can help people too!!' moment?

mgnade1 karma

Some of the other bundle sites have a charitable aspect (and many others do not) - we thought it would be a cool way to mix it up and help people but also offer up more variety than always supporting EFF / Child's Play etc.

Chronotrigga1 karma

I know this AMA is 2 months old but I am hoping you can answer my question. A decade ago (2003), was a very successful browser-based game developed by Daniel Liebner. Is your co-founder, Daniel Liebner, the same guy who created this website? He's got great programming skills I was very interested in how he developed said site.

mgnade2 karma

He is the same guy. I know he went to school for programming, but also is self-taught. You can message him at dliebner on reddit for any more samuraiwars questions.

AFBlueGold2881 karma

As a college student who is very interested in getting into game development as a hobby (I am studying to be a software engineer), what is the best way to "get my feet wet"? Also, how do you choose a programming language for the project?

mgnade2 karma

I would suggest doing a game jam like Ludum Dare (starts today) where you make a game prototype quickly - keep prototyping and produce the game that you fall in love with.

Matthias7201 karma

What is your favorite video game munching snack?

mgnade2 karma

Popcorn! - now that I'm older I go with Skinny Pop

iheartindies1 karma

Other than your own site, even if you aren't a consumer of their's, what is you favorite bundle site (competition)? And, why do you like them?

mgnade3 karma

probably Humble Bundle - they get some of the elite indie game developers and their site functions well

Green-Boots1 karma

I heard you are a dog lover so what dogs do you own? What is your vaforite video-game dog?

mgnade2 karma

I have 1 dog - Pepper - she's an Irish Jack Russell. Best Video Game Dog ever... the dog from Secrets of Evermore by Squaresoft

dota2brewmaster1 karma

What are your favorite video games?

mgnade4 karma

Favorite of all time: Panzer Dragoon Saga, Super Metroid Indies: Journey, Braid, World of Goo Current Console: Halo 4, Marvel vs Capcom 3

Pheon8091 karma

What's your favorite kind of mainstream beer?

mgnade1 karma

I don't think people would consider Yuengling or 21st Amendment mainstream - so I'll go with Guinness

scoi0070 karma

Yuengling is one of the best liquids ever created.

mgnade1 karma

I have a friend who lives on the west coast and brings an extra suitcase to load up on Yuengling to bring back

KatieHal161 karma

Favorite kind of dogs, favorite craft beer brewer. Go!

mgnade5 karma

I have an Irish Jack Russel - so obviously she's my favorite. I'm growing really fond of Corgis too.

I'm a big supporter of the local Philly/Delaware beer scene: Yards Brawler and Dogfish head's experimental and big bottles rock.

am4zon1 karma


mgnade2 karma

Not sure how to respond to all of this: Blue Futurama (cartoon right?) Never played EVE/Dust

am4zon1 karma


mgnade1 karma

dammit - I should have put together LoL - Dan and Canj play that all the time. I know that if I start it will consume me so I keep putting it off.

IndianMasshole1 karma

What are favorite gaming memories?

mgnade1 karma

I have a lot of fond memories playing Mortal Kombat 2 and Mario Kart together with friends - at my house, in friends basements, etc. Great memories from 5th/6th grade

Fatdude31 karma

Do you plan on increasing the number of the deals?Right now every deal ends in 3 days.What about weekly and monthly deals?

Also if you wanted to make an announcement to your buyers about something that isnt gaming related what would it be?

mgnade1 karma

There is no plan on increasing the deals - 4 days is sort of our gimmick.

jackmeeker1 karma

what's your favorite kind of muffin?

mgnade1 karma


ClickerMonkey1 karma

Why should I go through you to distribute my game?

mgnade1 karma

I guess the biggest reason is that you can setup your game in less than an hour: - for your time you can get a good return depending on your game:

Dyh911 karma

Hey Mike,

Are you guys based out of Philly? After doing some digging I found that you guys were at the Philly Tech Meetup last month.

I'm a Drexel student looking for an internship in the summer. ARE YOU GUYS LOOKING FOR AN INTERN??!

mgnade3 karma

We're technically based out of Wimington, DE - if you have some LAMP coding skills send me an email (mike at indiegamestanddotcom). If you can get down here a few days a week, we may be able to work something out.