Indie Alley is all about the indie game scene, where games are made based on their merit and less on their marketing.
This week, prior to GDC starting, a small group of independent game developers announced an initiative they’ve been calling Indie Fund. This fund will act as funding source for other independent developers who may not have the capital to bring their ideas to fruition.
Any gamer in their right mind should really be excited about this. I’ll tell you why: this means games are about to start being more about playability and less about how much money can be spent on commercials, etc. Think about all the games you’ve really enjoyed recently? Why did you enjoy it? Was it continuing a story from another game you really enjoyed? Did it introduce a new way to play and old game?
Now, think about the games you’ve played in the last six months that you were excited to play but that ended up disappointing you greatly? Why were you excited about them? Why did they end up disappointing you?
Before I go any further, let me explain how a game gets to your house today. A developer comes up with a game. They put the research into engines, design, control schemes, etc. They actually make the game. The developers then enter into a deal with a publisher to put that game into the publisher’s existing distribution channels and relationships with console makers, etc. to get that game to the stores where you buy the game. Without the publisher, the game would never leave development.
Becoming an indepent game developer is really hard (see a blog post I wrote elsewhere on this topic). On top of that, publishing a game requires a lot of money, a distribution channel, and in some cases, a lot of clout. If you wanted to make a game tomorrow, it’s not likely that you’ll have any of these at the same time and in enough quantities that you can really get into game development.
With the Indie Fund, any ambitious gamer (yes, even you) has a chance at getting enough support (in the form of money) behind an indie developer to get a game from development to a target platform. They provide transparent and public contracts, and allow indie development shops to maintain their IP, which is quite likely the best thing an developer can have.
If the Indie Fund is successful, prepare for the ecosystem of games to change dramatically.
- P.B. Winterbottom: Hearts, Pies Stolen; PC Port on the Way
- Indie Alley : Shoot 1UP Review
- Colony Defense: An In(3)die Game Review
- Indie Alley : Masters of Belial