Indie game

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This article is about a type of video games. For 2012 documentary film, see Indie Game: The Movie. For independent role-playing games, see Indie role-playing game.

Independent video games (commonly referred to as indie games) are video games created by individuals or small teams generally without video game publisher financial support. Indie games often focus on innovation and rely on digital distribution. Indie gaming has seen a rise in the latter half of the 2000s decade, primarily due to new online distribution methods and development tools.

Some indie games have become very successful financially, such as Braid,[1] World of Goo,[2] and Minecraft.[3]

Overview[edit]

There is no exact widely accepted definition of what constitutes an "indie game".[4][5][6][7] However, indie games generally share certain characteristics. Indie games are developed by individuals, small teams, or small independent companies;[5][8][9] such companies are often specifically formed for the development of one specific game. Typically, indie games are smaller than mainstream titles.[9] Indie game developers are generally not financially backed by video game publishers (as these are risk averse and prefer big budget games)[10] and usually have little to no budget available.[4][5][7][11][12] Being independent, indie developers do not have controlling interests[6] or creative limitations[5][13][7] and do not require publisher approval[4] as mainstream game developers usually do.[14] Design decisions are thus also not limited by the allocated budget.[13] Furthermore, smaller team sizes increase individual involvement.[15] Small teams, scope, and no creative restrictions have made indie games known for innovation, creativity, and artistic experimentation.[4][9][15][16][17][18][19] Developers limited in ability to create graphics can rely on gameplay innovation.[20] Both classic game genres and new gameplay innovation have been seen.[17] However, being "indie" does not imply that the game focuses on innovation.[9][21] In fact, many games attributed the "indie" label can be of poor quality and may not be made for profit.[7]

Development[edit]

In order to fund the game, developers can rely on starting a crowd-funding campaign, finding a publisher,[12][22][23] or building community support while in development.[24] Without publisher support, developers generally rely on Internet digital distribution options.[25] Most indie games do not make significant profit.[26]

Indie game development should not be confused with hobbyist game development, as indie developers are generally more product-oriented than hobbyist game writers.[6] Many hobbyist developers create mods of existing games,[25] or work with specific technologies or game parts.[6] Such hobbyists usually produce non-commercial products and may range from novices to industry veterans.[6]

History[edit]

The indie game scene started on PCs,[5] where it remains prominent.[19] Indie games became popular via shareware distribution in the early 1990s.[19] However, as technology advanced--especially the transition from 2D to fully 3D gaming--requirements and high user expectations exceeded the ability of a single developer or small team.[19][27]

Indie games saw a steep rise in the latter half of the 2000s.[20] The expansion of Internet allowed games to be distributed online moving beyond retail sales.[28] This allowed for both developers to publish[5][17][19][20] and players to download such games from platforms like Xbox Live Arcade,[5][18] Steam,[25] or OnLive.[29][30] Similarly, developers have access to tools like Adobe Flash.[20] Indie gaming has seen a rise in the latter half of the 2000s decade, primarily due to new online distribution methods[31][not in citation given] and development tools.

Industry[edit]

Like mainstream video game industry is comparable to mainstream film industry,[32] so is indie gaming industry comparable to independent film industry.[13][33][34] However game distribution is shifting towards online marketing.[33] For developers, online marketing is much more profitable[20] and more readily available than retail marketing. Although, distribution portals have been criticized for collecting a large portion the game revenue,[16] in 2008 a developer could earn around 17% of game's retail price and around 85% if sold digitally.[20] This also leads to appearance of more "risky" creative projects.[20] Furthermore, expansion of social web-sites have introduced gaming to casual gamers.[5] Nevertheless, there are few examples of games that have made large profits, and for many indie game-making serves as a career stepping stone, rather than a commercial opportunity.[28]

It is argued as to how prominent indie gaming currently is in video game industry.[16] Most games are not widely known or successful and mainstream media attention remains with mainstream titles.[35][5] This can be attributed to lack of marketing for indie games.[35] Indie games can be targeted at niche market.[9][19]

Community[edit]

Indie game developers can be involved with various indie game trade shows such as Independent Games Festival and IndieCade.[4][36]

Indie Game Jam (IGJ) is an annual event that allows indie game developers to experiment and present ideas without publisher restrictions.[37] IGJ was founded by Chris Hecker and Sean Barrett[38][39] and first held in March 2002.[38] Each year, IGJ poses different questions about innovation of new settings, genres, and controls.[40] The IGJ was considered an inspiration for later game jams including the Nordic Game Jam and the Global Game Jam (GGJ). GGJ was first held in 2009 with 1650 participants in 53 locations.[41]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chaplin, Heather (August 27, 2008). "Xbox's 'Braid' A Surprise Hit, For Surprising Reasons". NPR. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ Mysore, Sahana (January 2, 2009). "How the World of Goo became one of the indie video game hits of 2008". Venturebeat. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  3. ^ Plunkett, Luke (January 4, 2011). "Why Minecraft Is So Damn Popular". Kotaku. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Gnade, Mike (July 15, 2010). "What Exactly is an Indie Game?". The Indie Game Magazine. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gril, Juan (April 30, 2008). "The State of Indie Gaming". Gamasutra. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d e MacDonald, Dan (May 3, 2005). "Understanding "Independent"". Game Tunnel. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d Thomsen, Michael (January 25, 2011). "The 'Indie' Delusion: The Gaming Category that Doesn't Exist". IGN. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ McGuire & Jenkins 2009, p. 27; Moore & Novak 2010, p. 272; Bates 2004, p. 252;
  9. ^ a b c d e Carroll, Russell (June 14, 2004). "Indie Innovation?". GameTunnel. Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  10. ^ MARCELO PRINCE, PETER ROTH (2004-12-21). "Videogame Publishers Place Big Bets on Big-Budget Games". Wall Street Journal Online. Retrieved 2013-07-01. "The jump in development and marketing costs has made the videogame industry "enormously risk averse,[...]Publishers have largely focused on making sequels to successful titles or games based on movie or comic book characters, which are seen as less risky. "We don't green light any more things that will be small or average size games.[...]"" 
  11. ^ McGuire & Jenkins 2009, p. 27; Moore & Novak 2010, p. 272; Bates 2004, p. 252; Iuppa & Borst 2009, p. 10
  12. ^ a b Parker, Laura (February 14, 2011). "The Rise of the Indie Developer". GameSpot. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c Kelly, Kevin (March 17, 2009). "SXSW 2009: Being Indie and Successful in the Video Game Industry". Joystiq. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  14. ^ Bethke 2003, p. 102.
  15. ^ a b Crossley, Rob (May 19, 2009). "Indie game studios 'will always be more creative'". Market for Home Computing and Video Games. Retrieved January 18, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b c Diamante, Vince (March 7, 2007). "GDC: The Future of Indie Games". Gamasutra. Retrieved January 18, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c Gamasutra staff (October 4, 2007). "Q&A: Independent Game Creators On Importance Of Indie Movement". Gamasutra. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b McGuire & Jenkins 2009, p. 27
  19. ^ a b c d e f Cobbett, Richard (September 19, 2010). "Is indie gaming the future?". TechRadar. p. 1. Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Irwin, Mary Jane (November 20, 2008). "Indie Game Developers Rise Up". Forbes. Retrieved January 10, 2011. 
  21. ^ Diamante, Vincent (March 6, 2007). "GDC: Analyzing Innovation in Indie Games". Gamasutra. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  22. ^ Thompson, Michael (January 18, 2010). "Searching for gold: how to fund your indie video game". Ars Technica. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  23. ^ Hietalahti, Juuso (May 19, 2006). "The Basic Marketing Plan For Indie Games". Gamasutra. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  24. ^ Marsh, David (February 26, 2008). "Nine Paths To Indie Game Greatness". Gamasutra. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b c McGuire & Jenkins 2009, p. 27.
  26. ^ Jan, Matej (June 27, 2012). "Congratulations, Your First Indie Game is a Flop". Gamasutra. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  27. ^ Chandler 2009, p. xxi
  28. ^ a b Iuppa & Borst 2009, p. 10.
  29. ^ Graft, Kris (September 17, 2010). "OnLive Opens SDK, Tools To Indie Devs". Gamasutra. Retrieved January 30, 2011. 
  30. ^ OnLive staff (September 15, 2010). "OnLive Offers Indie Game Developers a "Direct-To-Consumer" Channel on TV, PC and Mac". OnLive. Retrieved January 30, 2011. 
  31. ^ Walker, John (2007-11-22). "RPS Exclusive: Gabe Newell Interview". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2013-06-28. "The worst days were the cartridge days for the NES. It was a huge risk; you had all this money tied up in silicon in a warehouse somewhere, and so you’d be conservative in the decisions you felt you could make, very conservative in the IPs you signed, your art direction would not change, and so on. Now it’s the opposite extreme: we can put something up on Steam , deliver it to people all around the world, make changes. We can take more interesting risks.[...] Retail doesn’t know how to deal with those games. On Steam there’s no shelf-space restriction." 
  32. ^ McGuire & Jenkins 2009, p. 25.
  33. ^ a b Carless, Simon (October 12, 2007). "What Indie Games Can Learn From Indie Film Distribution". GameSetWatch. Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  34. ^ Iuppa & Borst 2009, p. 10
  35. ^ a b Taylor, Paul (August 26, 2009). "Building Buzz for Indie Games". Gamasutra. p. 1. Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
  36. ^ Edge Staff (October 10, 2008). "Driving Indie Games From Margin to Center". Edge Online. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  37. ^ Thompson, Berbank-Green & Cusworth 2007, p. 83.
  38. ^ a b Adams, Ernest W. (May 31, 2002). "Technology Inspires Creativity: Indie Game Jam Inverts Dogma 2001!". Gamasutra. Retrieved March 8, 2011. 
  39. ^ Fullerton, Swain & Hoffman 2008, p. 403
  40. ^ Fullerton, Swain & Hoffman 2008, p. 406.
  41. ^ Jacobs, Stephen (February 25, 2009). "Global Game Jam 2009: A Worldwide Report". Gamasutra. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 

Literature[edit]

External links[edit]