So far, GDC, or the Game Developers Conference, has been rather slow to this point in showing us anything that we really didn’t already know. Which if you think about it is a pretty big bummer considering this was the conference where we saw the first Xbox and the tech behind it, among other highlights over the years. Microsoft has totally skipped this year’s GDC, and there really aren’t any new games being shown off, really, it hasn’t been much of a spectacle at all honestly. With the exception of one tidbit of information and that is coming from the corner of Sony, who yet again is dropping some info about the PlayStation 4 with some Vita love sprinkled in as well. When looking at Next-Gen, to this point, we have seen Sony throw blow after blow at the competition and drive home that they are gunning for the crown this time around. So when Sony announced a slew of Indie games that are heading to the PlayStation 3, Vita, and soon the PlayStation 4, people naturally listened. Instead of showing off too much before E3, Sony played it safe and brought forth more information to back that they are such an open-platform for the future by showing off a number of known and unknown indie titles. See Indie games aren’t easy for many small developers to get on anything other than PC, but by Sony showing that they are working with these smaller agencies to bring these cult classics to their platform, they are showing that they recognize the strategies for the future. The question however is, is indie gaming the future of the industry?
One thing is for sure, triple-A titles have seen their fair share of bumps in the road as of late. Consider this, Square Enix just lost their president a few days back, via IGN, because all of their big titles from the last year have failed to reach their projected sales figures. Sure, there are your typical monsters, but the problem is that gaming cost are rising and patrons wallets are pinched a little tighter. Instead of shelling out boo-ku bucks for big titles, many are being more strategic with their money and supplementing their anticipated titles with indie games that provide more depth than ever before. Sony is showing off exactly what their platforms are attempting to bring forward in terms of ease of access and creation for these small time money-makers. The biggest problem for those big-budget games is that the cost to make one is increasing exponentially and gamers seem to be floating to the casual side of the fence. More and more people are utilizing their portable devices, and even in some cases home consoles to enjoy a relaxing gaming session.
The U.S. is just an on-the-go culture, and because of that we like our gaming to either go with us, or that can be enjoyed in short spurts but also giving the feeling of accomplishment when completed. Indie games are fail-proofed when it comes to this logic, for the most part, as many can be completed in a short number of hours. Only have thirty minutes to play? You’re still going to make some good head-way and it’s going to provide multiple points where putting down the controller won’t affect you in a negative way. That is the beauty of Indie games, but they also provide you with something different as well, and that is probably the best piece that can come from the strength of the Indie game market.
When thinking about the main stream game market, the unfortunate piece is that they tend to be of a similar suit. Yes, there is a ton of great releases that come from the main stream market every year, but at the same time the corporate landscape and perplexity is what limits the innovations within these titles. That is exactly what Indie games give you. There have been some of the most simplistic, yet amazing titles that have come from the Indie game development lore, and that is what makes it so healthy and strong. It is also nice to see the fresh, new faces hit the market with fresh, new games. These games, many times, come from struggling small market developers that are selling off just about everything that they own to be able to publish their title and because of that they are invested in their creation. You can see the heart and soul that is engrained into the title, and the personal love that has been given to the game and, again, that is what makes them different and so appealing.
There is little doubt that the depth and the health of the Indie market is stronger than ever. The ability and avenues for delivery stretch way beyond the likes of consoles, and because of that, consoles strengthening their relationships with Indie developers is not only a smart investment, but a necessary one as well. There is, indeed, a future in Indie games and very well may move more in this direction. As we have seen, large market companies, and games for that matter have struggled over the last year and a half or so and because of that small market games have taken off and succeeded where the bigger have failed. PlayStation’s decision has been both eye-opening and appealing to consumers because it is yet another avenue for games to be delivered and shows that the health of gaming overall is at an all-time high. Indie games are here to stay and the systems and companies that are producing consoles and hardware to play them are brilliant to develop with it in mind, because it just lends more creditability to consoles and them presenting more content that PC gamers have always been able to enjoy.