Indie developers suffering from cognitive dissonance
Submitted by Duion on
Some time ago I watched a presentation about indie games and how much money they earn and the result was that 82% of all indie games make less than minimum wage, 7% make enough to at least survive and only 11% make profit. To make it simpler, you got a 90% change of failure, if you go into indie game development. Imagine applying for a job and the boss tells you "Well if you work here, there will be an 82% chance you will be paid worse than in any other job or not paid at all, 7% chance you get the worst payment and 11% chance you get more than the minimum".
So one must be pretty insane to start working developing indie games, yet many people still do. Well and from my experience of meeting other indie game developers, I can say, many of them are probably pretty insane. I do not really count myself as an indie developer, but those are just the people I meet, since as an open source game developer you have no company, since other open source game developers are too nonexistent for that. I may be a bit insane in that regard as well, but at least I knew that it would be pretty much impossible to make profit developing indie games and knew that indie open source games will be even harder to make profit from, like factor 10 harder, so I did not even bother with that, it is just my hobby and what I like to do. However most others are not aware of the problems and think they can become successful, being an indie developer now is like the modern version of wanting to be a rockstar in the past. The chances of you succeeding are so slim, that they are almost nonexistent, yet most people still believe they can do it.
That is just the first cognitive dissonance those people suffer from. (Just as an info, cognitive dissonance is, when you hold a worldview that conflicts with reality, which then causes mental pain as you are confronted with reality). So reality shows them, that they are about 90% likely to fail and they can see 90% of people like them failing, yet they still think they can succeed for 100%. So when the (well predicted fate) finally hits them, instead of accepting reality, they flee themselves in even more illusions and through that suffer from even more cognitive dissonance.
One example was a developer I talked to who already probably suffered from cognitive dissonance pretty hard, as he seemed to be very angry, calling distributors unfair and all other indie developers being scammers and fakers. My argument towards him was just, that the conditions for indie developers are now better than ever, since there are multiple larger distribution platforms allowing indie developers on there, mostly for free. They give free distribution services, free promotion, free hosting etc so pretty good deal, if you ask me, I mean compare that to the past, where you had almost no chances to get anywhere as an indie developer as the stores had a very high entry barrier, so only option for you would have been to do everything yourself and starting at zero. Whatever that is not the point here, my point is, that the guy was just blaming everyone else for his failure, but somehow not blaming those, who could have been responsible for it for real, like big companies having monopolies for example.
When he found out, that I'm a game developer myself, he started attacking me as well, calling me faker and scammer etc even though having zero evidence for any of his claims and probably not even done any research on me, he just assumed everything based on nothing. Then when it came to argue why other indie developers fail, he would just say "Well they were just not good enough, since everyone who is just good enough and works hard enough will be successful". So when talking about others, he entertains a worldview where everything is 100% fair and legit, but when talking about himself, then everyone is unfair and a scammer. I don't know what I should think about that other than this is just pure insanity. The first worldview was already wrong, but the other contradictory worldview the same person held was also wrong, so he was holding two wrong and with each other conficting worldviews in his head, that must have given him serious mental pain. I mean it hurt me already just looking at it.
I did encounter such insanity loaded indie developers multiple times now and am just writing it down as therapy for myself. Sure he was not entirely wrong, the problem of those kind of people is just, that they encounter a problem, but refuse to acknowledge it existing and blame it on something else and do nothing about it. Fakers and scammers exist and are a real problem in the industry, but I think even a faker is intelectually superior to such a person suffering from cognitive dissonance, since the faker encounters the same problem, realizes it, realizes that he has to do something about it, then realizes, that he cannot and then decides to fake it to make it. The cognitive dissonance idiot already fails at the first step of this thought process. The faker just takes an immoral action somewhere down the path the insane person does not even walk down.
The faker also realizes that you have to do fakery to become popular and successful, it is almost 100% necessary. For example to sell more products you have to do marketing and marketing is just a form of lying or faking, lying and faking is 100% essential to marketing. When I told those facts to an indie developer, he would just go into cognitive dissonance mode again, switching to his reality where everything is 100% fair and legit and claiming that you can win the game by playing 100% fair, but he only did so when argueing with me, to show how wrong I was, just to later go back to his worldview where everyone is a faker and unfair towards him. This is true insanity.
I mean, even if you are wrong, you have to pick a side or a worldview that does not contradict itself to be able to act upon it. You could pick either side here, like everything is 100% fair and therefore you play fair, or think that everyone is a cheater and also start to cheat, you would at least make some kind of progress in some kind of direction for sure, but if you hold contradicting worldview inside you, you are just going nowhere or in circles or your brain blows up, since it cannot handle so much illogicalness. I for my part prefer to be honest and not become corrupt just to be successful. This is not just about game development and probably applys to any areas in life, but it was just where I encountered it a lot and used my personal experience as an example.
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