this article is totally editorialized - how bout you put some links to backup your claims - this entire thing is COMPLETELY opinion. 2011 is set to be one of the biggest high profile gaming releases from major companies in recent years. Check any 2011 release schedule to validate this. I don't think you really grasp the concept of what an "Indie game or developer" really is.
2011 will be a year of turbulent change in the video game industry. As we all know, and can easily tell by the comments section of many news articles here on gamespot, many gamers are becoming fed up with the gaming industry as it stands. Anti-corporate sentiment is strong and lawsuits are flying back and forth, leaving the gamer with not much more than a repackaging of the same game they played last year. Not to say all games made by EA or Blactivision are terrible, I have enjoyed a lot of Starcraft 2, and at a friends house played a lot of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. But even these games are surrounded by corporate controversy, and that is the first reason why things are going to change in the coming year.
What will gamers turn to after they tire of these large companies charging high prices for re-packaged content? The independent game development scene, of course. It has become obvious that this is the direction the video game industry is headed, and 2011 will be the year that it explodes. Lets start with a definition of an indie game, and then analyze exactly how we can tell that we are entering the year of the indie game.
While most people have heard of and probably played indie games, it can still be confusing exactly what an independent game is. The most concrete way to define it is any game not published or developed by a major game developer, such as EA or Blizzard Activision. So technically, anything not by one of the major publishers is independent. However, the smaller the company gets, the "more independent" the game becomes. When the company is smaller, there is less pressure to meet deadlines, and less pressure to make the game adhere to whatever guidelines the big companies have decided makes a comercially viable game. This gives independent developers a lot more space for freedom and creativity, which can result in some unique, and often some incredibly fun games. Independent can range anywhere from a 50-man team working in an office to Cousin Steve working out of Auntie Ann's basement.
I have made the bold statement that 2011 will be the year independent games take over the scene. How can I back up this claim? There are several trends I have recently noticed that all tie together:
1. Higher sales of downloadable games: With online platforms such as Steam, downloads have risen dramatically. In fact, 2010 was the first year that more downloadable games were sold then retail games(I singlehandedly led this push). However, not all games downloaded are independent. In fact, most are probably major games(though no one can be sure). However, this does prove that, as gamers start to download more and buy in a box less, that independent games will have a lot easier time selling their games, as it is much easier to simply sell a game through Steam, or through your own website then in a store.
2. Dramatic rise in sales of Xbox indie games: Most xbox 360 owners have seen the indie game section of their game marketplace. And statistics show that in the past year, more of them have actually been purchasing these games, possibly due to Microsoft's implementation of a ratings feature for these games. Arcade games have also been on a steady rise since the release of the xbox 360, and while not all arcade games are independent(such as Battlefield 1943), many of them are.
3. Massive success of recent PC indie games: While Xbox has its way of distributing independent games, PC is where indie games will have their greatest growth. Or I should say, are already having their greatest growth. The best example of this is the ridiculously high sales of Minecraft, the java-written cube shaped sandbox sensation(minecraft.net). Since the release of a paid version last June, nearly 900,000 purchases have been made, making Notch(minecraft's creator) one of the richest men in independent game development. He has since started up a company to help with the development of minecraft and other projects. Another example I just recently have heard about is haxball, a free online flash soccer meets air hockey game(haxball.appspot.com). In 4 short months, haxball has spread across the internet like wildfire, and despite its ridiculously simple controls has consumed thousands of man hours(and many hours of my own). This trend will surely continue, and don't be surprised when more games such as minecraft sell hundreds of thousands of copies.
While the success of notch may make it appear otherwise, indie game development is a poor career choice. Even the most succesful Xbox Live indie developers can hardly make a living for one person. However, the low prices attract a lot of players, and as more and more people discover the wonders of indie gaming, those sales numbers will continue to grow, and more and more indie games will be produced as more people realize they too want a slice of the pie. While they will never break the sales records of Black Ops, indie games are definitely the thing to watch(and play) in 2011.
I really doubt indie games will ever be more popular. On the computer they can be great but most on consoles are pretty shallow.
So basically you're telling us that a market that has been growing over the past years will continue on growing... Thanks for the info, but that was kinda obvious.
I hope you're right, but you're probably wrong. For decades the independent game scene has produced little gems that critics love and gamers ignore. It's sad, but true.
Braid, Limbo, Super Meat Boy, even the games not on Xbox Live Arcade or PSN, like Breath of Death VII: The Beginning. They're all really fun and charming games. And to people below talking about Mass Effect 3 and Halo 4, generally those are great games worthy of our gaming dollar. The majority of games out in the store though are not as good though. Those are the games people need to stop buying.
I agree, so many games are just rehashed products and I had already started looking into the indie development scene to find new fresh products that aren't bogged down by corporate bull. I loved StarCraft and although I love StarCraft 2 it just feels like more of the same... no major innovations.. seemed more like an attempt to build another eSport than produce a game worth time. As more game companies move into a heavier corporate theme they loose what they were, no long about making something amazing, more about making the almighty dollar.
Gotta love games like PvsZ, Minecraft and Super Meat Boy, I highly respect indie games, they go where no one else dares to go, like Tim Schafer for example. I enjoyed this article.
Another thing is this - for every gamer who is tired of the "same old, same old", there are two new fresh faced kids ready to buy the new "re-packaged" game, simply because they have never played the originals before.
While i agree that full priced re-packaged games are getting tiresome, all the time they are the best on offer, then they will continue to sell better. Some indie games are little gems, but most of them are completely aweful. There is no way indie games will break the corporate money milkers.
I love my games published by major developers. They may all be 'not much more than a repackaging of the same game they played last year' but I thoroughly enjoyed those games, and I would not trade my demon's souls, or red dead redemption, or even epic mickey for another pixeljunk or flower game.
your blatant narcissism aside, indie games will never dominate the scene. one simply has to look at the sales of WoW or Call of Duty
Ahh yes. You pointed out one thing I like about Microsoft, and that is they support more indie games. I by no means have hatred towards Microsoft, I just prefer Sony's PS3. Back to the point I wish Sony would make more of a push for Indie Games. I was looking forward to illomilo and I was dismayed to see that it was only for the 360.
Some indie games are amazing indeed,whilst others fail to measure up. I like indie games a lot for a reason, it gives the fans a chance, fans in general know what fans want. I do expect good things from 2011 all around :D
We've got to the point where big budget games are being compared to Hollywood blockbusters; that's a fair comparison and I don't feel it's necessarily a negative one. They have evolved with the medium, whereas I feel many indie games are still stuck in the Atari, NES & 16bit era. This is fine if you like that sort of thing, but to me it seems as though rather than innovating, the indie scene is just doing the same thing the big companies were doing 20-30 years ago...the only difference is these games are quick and easy to access rather than having to buy them at a retail outlet. I like games with a good, solid storyline and a lengthy, immersive single player campaign. Most indie games I encounter are throwaway titles...pay a few pennies, get 20 or so mins of enjoyment as you jump your doodle up some platforms or blast some ragdolls out of cannons. There are not a lot of Braids, Limbos and Zeno Clashes out there, and as much as I like those three, a game like Bioshock blows them all out of the water. I like the concept of supporting the little man, paying the independent studio rather than the big shady corporation...but while the big shady corporations keep making the better games, I'm going to keep buying them. (PS - if anyone can point out any good story-driven indie titles, I'm more than willing to give them a try and maybe change my opinion!)
You guys should try out Polynomial, if you like indie games, which is on Steam for like $10. You've probably never played anything like it, so it's kinda hard to describe it. It's like if Geometry Wars was 3D in first-person view, with lots of music; it's great.
Read and Comment this thought provoking article http://www.gamespot.com/users/mkb32/?tag=userpanel;profile
I totall would be on the boat for this. Theres just a coulple points that frighten me. Ive played a couple of indie games on xbla, pc, and Iphone as well and the only unfortunate side affect is the flood of 'shovel-ware' that comes along with. For every Minecraft you get, You get 43 "Cubecraft" or "rectanglebattlebuilder"s. On XBLA as well for every supermeatboy you get a 987 'I made a game with zombies in it" (sorry to the guy above me who was praising this game.. but really? you liked it?) I like COD games, not as much as a great singleplayer story.(I.E. Alan Wake, Bioshock, Oblivion, Dead Rising, Prince of Persia, Assassins Creed) and that is what I want more of. I grow tired of having to dig though piles of cruddy games, especially since I dont get to play games as much as I used too.
Good article, ive never bought an indie game before but ill admit. Braid, Limbo and SMB look alright. Well at least gamespot gave them a high score. And i can't say 2011 will be the year for indie games. They're not advertised like Halo or COD. One day perhaps they will but this soon, only time will tell.
I dunno, dude. If you're into indie games, it might be it's biggest year, but it needs people to care. I care slightly, but I really don't follow indie games that much. With Steam, I've bought more indie games than ever before, especially this sale, and I can say most of them were throw away games. Best indie game I've played, and a game I honestly enjoyed and wanted to beat, not "experiment with" like other indie games, was that horror game, Amnesia. It reminded me of how Counter-Strike was before it was a Valve owned game. A company that thought gaming was for gaming, and not a form of art. Which gaming is not a form of art. You don't control art. Art is for pondering. Only hippie trash thinks gaming is art. :)
I just adore small games (puzzle or platformer), thats all i know. World of goo,bejeweled,Plant vs zombie,Braid, Super meat boy, Minecraft, Beat Hazard, And Yet It Moves just awesome. Guys please give me a list of top 10 of this kind. I WANT GAME.:D
Even Super Meat Ball is doing well I suppose. So yes, you could be correct and it is only in the interest of games and gameplay that you are !!!
Indie games are on the rise but I wouldn't totally agree that they're going to be the next big thing. Sale increse? Absolutely. But no further than the hardcore gamers. I say that because the EA's, the Activisions, the Ubisofts, etc have the advantage of advertising. Believe it or not, advertising works or else companies like Activision wouldn't waste money on the ridiculous advertising campaigns that they've been putting out.If indie companies could get advertising, then yes, indie games could school the blockbuster games. Then again, if they were advertising, they'd probably be borderline no longer an indie team/company.I hope indie games do better next year though. Something to think about for 2011. :)
Never a fan of those indie games; still stuck in the PS2 Era with the Devil May Crys and platforming goodness. However...I would love to see the creaters of Black Ops and every other Re-skin developer fall to these creative mini games.
I know that I spent more time and money on independent games in 2010 than on games from large publishers. League of Legends, Bloodline Champions, Alien Swarm, Wild Ones, Plants Vs Zombies, Basilisk Games' Eschalon Book 1 and 2, mods like Zombie Panic Source! and a ton of Flash games to boot. That's not to say I didn't dip into plenty of major releases, but I still probably had the most fun this year with those ones I mentioned. Granted many of those were released in years prior, but I discovered them for the first time this year. Might be a bit too bold to claim that Indie games will ever overtake games from major publishers in terms of sales or popularity though. I think you could say they will continue to gain more market share and become a more viable avenue for developers. You could compare it to what happened with the music industry starting in the late 80's with indie labels vs major labels. I know from experience that if you told someone back in 1994 that you listened to mostly indie music, the average music fan, wouldn't know what the hell you were talking about or have an example to grasp on to. Now most people under 35 know what indie music and music labels are and can think of at least a few artists who fit the bill. The market share has also continued to steadily grow in that area too, quite drastically even in the last five years and I expect we'll see the same with the games industry too.
Indie games win in terms of innovation. I think corporations place too much emphasis on delivering what has worked in the past to minimise poor sales risk and to appeal to existing markets which are large, but this means that they forget about their dreams! Indie games, on the other hand, are usually completely innovative! Take for instance Mount and Blade and its combat system, no longer just a click to attack, but you control the attack with mouse movement in real time. From what I understand it was built (initially) by a man and his wife!
Good read.. Yeah it's very cool to see independant games popping up.. I'am actually pretty interested in the independant MMORPG's comeing out.. Tera is not own but some huge company like NC Soft or blizzard and Rift will be Trion Worls first foray into the MMORPG world.. And i've played the beta, it's actually very good and compares to WoW already at launch..
I can honestly say that minecraft is the game I've had the most fun with in 2010...and that scares even me. Bought it before it went beta too...so free updates :D
I don't know there is to many anticipated games coming out this coming year for me to pay attention to indie games very much, such as Cryisis 2, Killzone 3, Dead Space 2, Bulletstorm, Ghost Recon: Future soldier, not to mention the new Oblivion possibly.
I know I'm going to end up supporting more indie this year. I've had a few in the past but nothing like what is happening, or what I am looking forward too in the future.
I wish this wasn't true cause indie games tend to be too easy and/or to short. Atleast they always have excellent art design and creativity.
I'm going to try and be nice because I agree with you but your argument for indie games is rather half a$$...i mean forget xbox arcade and xbox indie games, and even computer indie games...your whole argument could be won single handedly with the iphone os. The market for indie games games grew so fast that major game companies are trying to get in on the action because there is money to be made from indie games...hell the angry birds developer just got bought up.