The gaming industry has been turned on its head a few times since the release of the first video-games consoles. It was the Atari console, released in 1977 that brought the first glimpse of the digital world into our homes.
Since then, the gaming industry has grown into a respected multibillion dollar industry with enthusiasts the world over waiting for that next big title to sink their thumbs into. Even those without consoles and PCs have been benefiting from products of mobile app development, the mobile games of which, have attracted players of all ages, genders, races and creeds.
Though perhaps one of the biggest upsets in the industry comes from those small developers, ranging from one person to a tiny team, who have tried to take some of the market share away from big publishers like EA and Blizzard by independently developing and publishing their own titles. We call these developers, indie developers; and they have been responsible for some of the biggest changes in the industry in the last few years, here’s how:
Established development companies are chasing gaming formulas we have all seen thousands of times while indie developers are looking at new ways that the videogame medium can be explored.
We have, as a result, seen an explosion of stunning pixel-art graphics, games that explore the human psyche, exploration and puzzle games, many of which haven’t needed to rely on a gaming culture of violence, gore and sex to increase their sales, and also the likes of which have never been seen.
This has shown gamers a new way of exploring digital worlds, ones where new types of stories can be told; and the gaming industry has become more vibrant as a result.
While established developers have the bankroll needed to fund games, indie developers generally don’t, and for a large part, they fit the bill themselves.
Crowdfunding on the other hand, has given indie developers the ability to secure funding for games, directly from the fans themselves.
Since these games are therefore being funded by interested gamers, and also developed by enthusiasts (who want more than just a pay-check), we are seeing games developed by gamers for gamers, and we are better off as a result.
This brings me to my next point. Established developers have a tendency to try and dictate what is hot on the market and what types of games ought to be played. Anybody paying attention to the gaming scene in 2018 can tell you how developers like Bethesda and EA have given their fans exactly what they didn’t want; and have shrugged it off when the resultant backlash hit.
Indie-developers have taken an approach where they work alongside gamers, listening to their needs and desires, releasing updates that pander to what gamers want, and not on what they think would make them more money by attracting in the lowest common denominator.
All of this is making Triple-A developers a little uncomfortable. And while the indie-development scene is on the rise, it isn’t quite taking business away from top developers just yet. They have shaken the industry up hard enough though that big developers and publishers are starting to look at the way their clients interact with their games and brands.
As they try to keep up and step up their game, we will likely see higher-quality products coming out; or at least we can only hope so. For now, however, we will keep saluting those indie developers who are trying to make the industry better for the player.
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