The cone of influence for indie gaming is getting bigger. Games such as Journey have done their bit in helping indie development stand out, and Kickstarter certainly has had it’s say. Unity announced earlier this year that they are releasing tools for Playstation Development, while Sony has decided to waive their $99 licensing fees for Playstation Mobile development. So what does this say about indie gaming; how does this affect the thousands of developers out there?
Okay, so let’s look at the Ouya. Big kickstarter following, lots of people eagerly awaiting the release (myself included), lots of really amazing looking games promised (see Operation Giant by Fenix Fire Entertainment) and most importantly, an opportunity to get involved on a massive scale, in what we love: gaming.
Sony has embraced indie. Unity 3d, arguably the indie developer’s best friend, has also made mobile development free. However, there has been no word from Microsoft about following a similar pattern, which saddens me, in all honesty. Indie gaming is without a doubt, growing rapidly and while some of the bigger companies like the ones mentioned have been taking note, Microsoft is neglecting this field. Their latest stroke of brilliance means indie gaming isn’t getting a chance on this console, doubtless to pursue other equally important fields such as sniffing glue and shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly.
Going back to indie, one series that really stands out for me is the Longest Journey. Dreamfall: The Longest Journey provided some of the most beautiful environments I’ve seen, and Dreamfall: Chapters, which promises to take full advantage of Unity 4, will be worth looking out for. It’s quite interesting that it has been handed down to Ragnar Tørnquist’s studio, Red Thread Games, to be financed and published independently. I am of the opinion that this is a trend that might be followed by more developers in the future. Kickstarter has been kind to those who managed to provide a worthy presentation and a brilliant idea, which weeds out ones that just don’t work with the audience, and gives full freedom to make something beautiful.
Indie gaming focuses on one thing and that one thing alone: gaming for the gamer. It gives us what we want, without the thousands of middlemen having their say pollute the entire process. It’s beautiful in a very raw sense, and it’s burgeoning; hopefully, this will bring back the focus on the games themselves. Indie is empowering gamers to create for other gamers; frankly, it’s about time.