You could make the argument that AAA titles in the video game space have a fleeting sense of creativity. Mostly you find brown shooters and underdeveloped copies of more successful titles. But every once and a while you find a truly innovative experience with the polish and professionalism of the AAA space. The Portal series, LA Noire, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Heavy Rain immediately come to mind.(The latter published by Sony)
But the real center of innovation and out of the box thinking comes from the indie game developers that are flooding the industry as we speak. The continuous support of this radical game creativity is becoming critical to the health and ingenuity of ideas in video games. Huge publishers have become frightened at the thought of releasing a game that isn’t already proven to be popular. Money is tight and risks aren’t fun for your wallet to take. So we leave it to independent creators to show the AAA publishers that the idea of change shouldn’t be such a scary thing.
Nonetheless revenue is also important to independents if they want to continue creating new experiences, and it is certainly not easy to get your name out to the public without cash for advertising. Thus it is very important for those bigger companies to realize that independent game development is a very real and very profitable avenue, and they need to show their support in the form of allowing said indie games to be sold on more popular digital distribution platforms and advertise them on those platforms so the public can recognize and buy these games. Steam was one of the first platforms to show their unwavering support with their “Greenlight” program, allowing users to nominate and vote on indie titles to become available for purchase. I adore the idea of giving users a say in what indie games deserve the spotlight.
I am a huge Microsoft fanboy. I have purchased and loved the original Xbox and the 360. Originally they seemed to be avid supporters of independent game development. Creating a whole section in their marketplace dedicated to selling said games. But recently it seems they have lost sight of the independents. First they remove their XNA developer tools and then I hear around the internet stories of many developers that are disappointed in the way Microsoft handles the business side of things, stopping devs from having the freedom they need to create amazing games.
On the other side of things Sony has shown an insane amount of dedication to the indie space. Announcing that on the next generation of Playstation consoles the creators of these games will be able to release their games when they choose to do so at the price they believe is right for the title. Giving a huge sense a freedom and welcome-ness to the people that brought you PSN exclusive titles such as Journey and Guacamelee. With this in mind a huge amount of game creators are showing their love of the Playstation by porting games like Hotline Miami and Thomas was Alone only to the PS console. The best part of all this comes in the form of portability. The PS Vita is seeing a huge spike in awesome indie titles and these games are mostly perfect for portable use.
I love seeing larger than life companies sympathizing with the small indie devs and helping them get their games and ideas out into the open. I have a huge amount of respect for Sony and their support of small start ups and future gaming heroes.
Do you play indies, are you even excited for the future of the independents? Comment below and share your thoughts.