Discoverability expert Simon Carless has shared his thoughts on the problem of indie games selling poorly on consoles.

Carless broke down the issue in his latest GameDiscoverCo newsletter.

One of the main factors is the rising popularity of Game Pass and other subscription services. People are less likely to buy new titles, as tons of them are presented at a monthly fee.

The other issue is that top-grossing games on consoles are mostly games-as-a-service. Destiny 2 and GTA Online motivate people to come back to them and play them for countless hours. 

Console stores have very poor discoverability, especially compared to Steam. Nintendo Switch and PlayStation usually offer bad recommendations and personalization for users, which, of course, affects indie titles the most.

According to Carless, developers of premium games should pay attention to the PC market first. “The era of ‘well, we messed up on PC, but our console versions saved us’ is disappearing for medium or high-budget games, especially since the Switch catalog got so big,” Carless notes.

Indie developers also should find additional ways to monetize their titles and try to partner with subscription services. It is just a new reality of game development when releasing a game on the store and even marketing it might not be enough to succeed.

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