Indie Games: The True Definition
Independent or “Indie” games popularity has increased recently, but nobody has concretely defined what does “indie” means. Basically, an indie game is not funded by a big organization or corporation and stands completely as an independent thriving business. This definition seems vague, so let’s breakdown the possible characteristics of what “Indie” game is all about.
1. Indie gamers are developed by Small Organizations with a little to no budget.
Indie games share similar characteristics. They are developed by individuals, small organization or any small independent teams (or companies) which are just formed to create a certain game. Indie games are not as big as mainstream or commercial games; they are not supported financially by any video game publishers which usually go with “financially-dependent” games. They are supported with a little money or to no budget.
2. Developers are not restricted with their artistic experimentation.
On the other side, being a creator of independent games give you the freedom you want. You don’t need to be restricted on your creativity, you don’t have to be controlled by any interests, you don’t need to take the comments as well as the approval of the publishers and credits shall be fully given to you because you worked on it fully. The whole concept and execution depend on how you wanted to develop it and you have your own deadline for the project. The only bad thing I can see is the amount of effort you put into but will be totally worth it because it is totally rewarding.
3. Indie games are an excellent area for innovation.
Being involved in an indie game developer, you would be amazed that your creativity has no limit and scope. You are free to do the things you wanted to see on your output. That’s why indie games are known to be an excellent area for innovation, artistic experimentation, and creativity. Eventually, indie games will find their way to commercial success because of its rising popularity. However, indie games don’t totally equate to unique, saleable and innovative because there are tons of indie games that are tagged as poor in quality and not marketable.
4. Indie games are developed by small organizations but distributed by bigger companies.
Moreover, indie games don’t necessarily isolate themselves from big publishers. They can be distributed and published by large publishers as long as they are developed by an independent team (or organization). Take for example the game “Bastion”, it was developed and funded by Supergiant Games (a small company) but was published by WB Games through Warner Bros. Bastion’s promotion and distribution was funded by a bigger company but the developers refused to take this money for the development. Another popular example of this definition is “Minecraft”.
Independent or “Indie” games have raised its prominence on the later part of the 2000s because of new ways of online distribution and video game development tools/gadgets are becoming widely available in the market. Cuphead, Undertale, Braid, World of Goo and Minecraft are some example of highly-successful indie games.