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Submitted by Jamiex66 594d ago | opinion piece

Is The Recent Popularity of Indie Games Just a Phase?

Analog Addiction Writes: "With many gamers unhappy about the lack of creativity within AAA titles over the last two years, a lot more attention has descended upon the Indie scene. Releases such as Minecraft, Limbo and Braid have proved that quality can be produced from the smallest of budgets, and their uniqueness often results in a large fan base. With the current generation of consoles dying an exceedingly slow death, has the Indie crowd simply capitalised on a current gap in the market? And will their popularity wane as quickly as it was garnered?" (Culture, FTL: Faster Than Light, Hotline Miami, Industry, To the Moon)

Jadedz  +   594d ago
Nope
While the majority of the industry is suffering from sequelitis; indie developers are crafting new games, with neat ideas.
dedicatedtogamers  +   594d ago
Exactly. It's not a phase. It's the opposite: it is the shape of things to come.

Indie devs have more tools and more development power than...say...compared to 5 years ago, and definitely more tools, power, money, etc compared to 10 years ago.

What is Angry Birds if not an indie game that happened to explode in popularity? The advent of smartphones has allowed dozens of indie devs to flourish.

As time goes on, we will begin to ask ourselves "Why spend $60 on a retail 6-hour campaign when I can spend $5 on a game that's more fun, has less BS, and lasts three times as many hours?" Indie games will introduce ideas and mechanics that the big, AAA games would never be willing to risk. Soon, we will see the last excuses for AAA budgets (graphics, physics, voice acting) fall away as the tools to produce those thing continue to get cheaper and easier to use.
#1.1 (Edited 594d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Godmars290  +   594d ago
I have no idea how you reached that conclusion.

True, indy devs have the tools to make full games, but most are anything close to AAA budget. Though of course because a AAA budget represents a large investment, those providing the money don't what to take a risk on a new idea so we get more of the same.

Indy titles are going to continue to be low-budget indy titles, while big budget titles will continue to be largely unimaginative retreads which more than often loose money or be a former money maker that's suddenly loosing money because the public's gotten tired of playing the same thing, until the producers come to accept the risk in trying new ideas.

Which will then be milked starting the whole retread cycled all over again.
dedicatedtogamers  +   594d ago
@ Godmars

I would consider games like Chris Roberts' Star Citizen, Brian Fargo's Wasteland 2, Double Fine's kickstarter, Shadowrun Returns, and Obsidian's Project Eternity to be "indie", yet they are being made with multi-million dollar budgets. Yeah, not 100 million budgets, but far above what the typical "indie" had to work with a few years ago.
MoveTheGlow  +   594d ago
@dedicated

Yes, and those budgets aren't being completely funded by the "This needs to make a lot of money because we're giving you the money to make this game" crowd, they're being at least partially funded by the "This needs to get produced, and quickly, because I want to play it" crowd. I think - hope - that the selectors of who gets funded in Kickstarter are actual gamers, not suits who make decisions only based on target demographic metrics.

It's probably going to be some sort of middle ground - quasi-indie, more like a mid-tier "fan-funded" group. Not like the old mid-tier, the somewhat-budgeted games which were often movie licenses, "Like this game but" games, franchise offshoots, and a few amazing gems from a few well-funded auteurs (I'm thinking God Hand or Rez). Those were still largely funded by investments that were geared to make more money off of the investments.

Granted, @Godmars, you're not wrong by any stretch, but it's nice that last year not every big-budget title was horror-inducingly awful. XCOM: Enemy Unknown was a right decision (bringing in Firaxis) which emerged from a horrible decision (bringing XCOM to the first-person-shooter realm). Borderlands 2 still bucks the "realistic" green-brown shooter trends out there with its cartoony style and ridiculous sense of humor. The Walking Dead - although not the most funded game of all time - sure is a big production, and thoughtfully done.
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Blues Cowboy  +   594d ago
I personally feel that the indie scene is set to replace traditional AA (not AAA) - since they can operate with low overheads, more attractive RRPs and more latitude to experiment with new concepts. We've seen plenty of companies embrace the 'small team, low overheads' way of working as a direct result (not limited to Double Fine etc), and as we get less and less willing to part with £40 for a new game - and mobile platforms continue to rise - there's nowhere to go but up.

There'll be an identity crisis soon, though. What is an indie game now? Is Bastion or Journey an 'indie' game? Interesting times ahead.
pr0digyZA  +   594d ago
I think people want good games, and many indie games are supplying this demand. There is also a lot of creativity in indie games, something I think people are really craving after the many shooters etc... we have played. This combined with the lower price point and higher quality of product that is coming out has allowed indie to flourish. I think it can therefor go for as long as any other genre in the gaming industry.
Elwenil  +   594d ago
I think the lines are blurring between what makes an "indie" game and what makes a normal title. Games like Minecraft have certainly exceeded everyone's expectations as far as popularity and sales and proves that you don't have to have a game that holds your hand through everything or has mind blowing graphics. Games like FTL and others remind me of older games when things were simpler and not every game had to sell millions of copies. I still enjoy BF3, GTA, RDR and many other AAA titles and they definitely have their place but today when more publishers are talking about increasing the selling price of games, I'm glad there are some much cheaper alternatives out there. I don't think indie games will replace AAA titles, but I do think they are something the industry sorely needs.
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mandf  +   594d ago
Yes and no. A high percentage are horrible, while others shine. One platform type of holder will claim the indie game is the future or the standard for video games. While it is only half true. Some indie games inspire and innovate and larger publishers take notice and build off it. Most are rehashed crap with bad mechanics and horrible graphics. My favorite games are indie games but don't let any trick you into thinking indie games are where it's at all the time. Many indie games are crap trying to sort through them all and wasting money sucks. Before anyone claims reviews and the such, indie games 90% time don't get reviewed unless they are break out games. I know I'm a sucker but I love indie games it's just so hard to sort through all the crap but there are gems out there.
sdozzo  +   594d ago
Here to stay as it's cheaper for consumer and maker.
NBT91  +   594d ago
In some cases free for consumer. Can't argue with that price!
TongkatAli  +   594d ago
Sound Shapes is incredible 10/10
dennett316  +   594d ago
Indy games are not a phase, and they shouldn't be. They will allow the next generation of talent to work their way through the industry, and with that, bring new ideas and notions that the AAA game makers can rip off wholesale and also improve that market - it's cynical, and it sucks, but it does happen.

The risk you run is that games like Sleeping Dogs and Dishonoured may gradually start to fall off the map in the next generation as the costs become too high to develop those types of slightly risky ventures for fear of sinking a developer. Many may well choose to favour the low budget route rather than run that risk. It's not necessarily a bad thing if that does happen so long as the games replacing them are good. Those medium-high budget titles have provided some real gems over the years though, and it'd be a shame to see that die off.
#8 (Edited 594d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
The_KELRaTH  +   594d ago
Nothing has really changed. User created/ small independent groups content has been the driving force for many popular titles.
i.e. Battlefield series became a huge hit manly due to Desert Combat / EoD conversions, Doom, Quake, UT, C&C (the list is huge) became huge hits due to user content. iPhone/iPad games are mostly developed by 1 - 2 people - exactly how it was for the majority of games for Atari / Commodore / Sinclair etc.

It's a sad by-product of a successful publisher that rather than encouraging new talent they make sure their games are blocked from user creativity so they can sell you their limited (and often unimaginative) add-ons themselves.
Epic is main the exception as they promote user content and offer a full range of tools and training.
papashango  +   594d ago
Left 4 dead, counter strike, team fortress, dayZ the zombie shooter culture in general thrived in cs before cod world at war and left 4 dead made it a thing.

These all started off as mods along with desert combat which in my opinion started the modern warfare shooter culture we are in now.

The sad state of gaming we are in now has devs locking down engines for dlc and stifling innovation which is a huge reason there is modern shooter fatigue in the industry.
3-4-5  +   594d ago
No...but it will lead to Higher quality indie games and high quality games overall.

We can have 3,000 people trying out ideas instead of 300.

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