Gaming Needs Better Definitions For Indie Games

With publishing models changing and budgets increasing, the term "indie game" has lost consistent meaning. A focus on scope and resources is needed.

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ApocalypseShadow77d ago

Who cares. I've seen awesome and cheaply made Indie games. And I've seen terrible AAA games.

I don't care how much it costs to make, or if it is 2D or 3D or VR or published by big or small companies or who makes them. It can be a big budget or small budget.

Only labels I'm worried about is "GOOD GAME" or "BAD GAME." That's all that matters.

zachyBROosevelt74d ago (Edited 74d ago )

I feel like you can also add in ''GREAT GAME'' and ''TERRIBLE GAME'' to those labels but yes dude preach it

isarai76d ago

No people are just overcomplicating it. Indie = independent, as in not owned or produced by a publisher. Simple as that, a AAA indie can exist, so can a simple smaller indie game. People just need to loose the notion that budget and scale have to do with the definition of "indie"

sourOG75d ago

Nailed it. “Only pixelated side scrollers on a 20k budget can be called indies!” No, only an idiot would say that and we shouldn’t redefine terms to appease idiots.

NeoGamer23275d ago

Before Cyberpunk I would've agreed with your definition.

Now, I do agree that indies are independent. But to me it is independent to make their own game design and monetization models that are not overseen or driven by an external influence.

To me, a studio owned by a publisher cannot be an indie because there is always the chance that the publisher jumps in and makes game design decisions for monetization, etc. But, a self-owned studio also cannot be considered independent if they have a large third party investor behind them. Because again the investor may force the design for monetization.

You look at CDPR and Cyberpunk. I think a lot of the decision to release for holiday 2020 came from external influences. The had large investment backing that was probably blocking against another game release delay and had significant marketing agreements for the game to release in 2020 probably which pushed them to releasing.

Lightning7775d ago

CPR a is a publisher, they were never indie. They're big enough to spawn other AAA studios.

Bungie a also a publisher. In fact they're talking about branching off to other studios doing projects related to Destiny and projects that are totally new not related to Destiny.

Quick note I'm glad Bungie is one of the handful of publishers to get out from under MS at the time and Activision and go on to be one of the big boys in the industry. They're realizing their own strength and talent they they can operate independently as a mega publisher. It's not every day you hear a studio being gobbled up and escape with their livelihood not once but twice.

LucasRuinedChildhood75d ago (Edited 75d ago )

No, independent doesn't necessarily mean self-published. Your version of "indie" doesn't actually align with the official definition:
"Indie music or films [or games] are made by small companies that are not owned by larger companies."

Under your proposed definition, Hotline Miami is not an indie game just because Digital Devolver are involved ("produced"). Hotline Miami absolutely IS an indie game as Dennaton Games is a small independent company (just 2 developers) and they aren't owned by Devolver.

It's true that there is some variation in the budgets of indie games ... but a straight up AAA indie game is an oxymoron as no small company could realistically make an AAA game. They'd need to hire loads of staff and would no longer be a small company. It doesn't make sense.

That Cambridge definition I cited makes things incredibly simple and makes more sense. Would be interested to see if I've changed your mind.

ziggurcat75d ago

No it doesn't. Indie simply means independently owned. That's the only definition required.

Seraphim75d ago

quick google search and the first answer I get "What defines an indie developer" is,
"What Is Indie Game Development? Indie, which is short for “independent”, refers to a game made by one person or a small team, especially one without financial support from a publisher. This means that unlike the big-budget titles made by the top developers, indie games are made by people working on their own dime."

For a while now I've thought we're getting a bit loose about who is or isn't an indie developer/game. Simply being an independent developer doesn't mean they create indie titles. Personally I'd agree with what google tells me. Perhaps the one exception to that being, "of working on their own dime." Simply because it could be crowd funded, a small loan or investment from someone into the game, etc. To me indie has meant an individual or small team working on a project; obviously w/o a massive budget as that's not necessary for indie development. But what exactly defines a small team. Is a team of 50+ a small team. Is it 100 or less. Under 50, 25 or less.

75d ago
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