PGC Digital: indie survival in a digital landscape

PGC Digital: indie survival in a digital landscape

It's no secret that the entire world has been forced into a new kind of lifestyle of late, and many of us are finding ways to transition to a new digital-first existence.

With that in mind, a lot of the opportunities that independent developers rely upon have been lost, such as pitching at events, networking and promoting. However, it's not all terrible, and's Emily Rose had some insight to offer at PGC Digital. 

Influencer usage

Rose's opened her talk with the often tumultuous world of online influencers, and how they can be utilised to promote a game. Rose stated that for influencers to take an interest, the coverage also needs to be in their best interests.

"If your game doesn't stand out, they're less likely to go for it," they said.

"Everything is about their appetite and you're just a meal ticket."

Rose went on to highlight that broadly speaking, influencers are generally not invested in your project, and so a relationship with them has to be mutual at best. 

"Influencers are still valuable, but by reaching out to the right ones and cultivating meaningful relationships with them through your marketing team or PR, you craft an equitable exchange."

However, one particular breed of influencer is worth taking a look at if you're an indie dev, according to Rose. YouTube video essayists are a hot spot for finding a creator that'll take an interest in something specific about a game or genre. 

"Not everyone is aware of this but there is a slew of video essays. They take something about your game, like a certain mechanic or design aspect and will analyse it," Rose said.

"Analysis pulls views and if your game is interesting, people will critique it."

Shaping the future

Rose also drew attention to the importance of curating a keen audience, and investing in a solid community manager with a great personality that believes in your brand. 

They also speak about striking a balance with trends. On one hand, following a trend can ignite a positive reaction from an audience, but Rose discusses how certain trends can suffer burnout. 

"We love to chase trends and a lot of that lately has been nostalgia," Rose said.

"Cultural things often ger repackaged in news ways. If you decide to pursue dredging up the past you may run into issues. People get tired of trends too."

PG Connects Digital #1 is the best of our Pocket Gamer Connects conference in an online form, with an entire week of talks, meetings, and pitch events taking place from April 6th to the 10th. You can read up on all the tracks taking place through the week here.


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.