During our class discussion on Capitalism, the idea was briefly mentioned that the term “indie” is being used as a marketing tool.
Now indie games, I see as a relatively “new” phenomenon, only really coming into the public eye in the last 4-5 years or so. There was the “Indie Game Revolution” sponsored by Nintendo, PAX Prime had special areas during the convention that was entirely dedicated to indie games, and Nintendo hosted “Nindies” at a hotel nearby, where PAX guests could play indie games on Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS systems. Steam even has a special category for “indie” games, and Nintendo has recently promoted sales of “Nindies” with special Valentines day discounts.
This then begs the question. Is Steam, Nintendo, and other gaming companies using the term “indies” as a way to describe certain games and evoke a certain idea of “indie games” to consumers? Is it trying to define what makes an indie game a “indie game” and using a blanket term for a much more diverse genre of games? For most developers who want to publish their game on a distributing site like Steam, or launch it on Nintendo’s or Sony’s systems, there’s the issue of being approved by them, being green lit, and if it is one of the main ways to distribute an independent game to the majority of gamers, then wouldn’t it mean that these companies then have the say as to what makes a good “indie” game? Of course, there’s always the option of distributing it on a personal website, or making a web browser based game, but is it enough to be able to share the game with others? It seems like the notion of being green lit by Steam or approved by the other AAA companies is helping yet hurting the indie game developers. Yes, we’re moving forward in videogame diversity, but is the recent notion of “indie game” set by big companies pushing us back?
Thoughts on this? Agree or disagree?