One of the lengthiest discussions I’ve ever had at Indie Haven was trying to define Indie. After much deliberation I realized — who really cares?

Indie games are more a reference to the developers. The term independent developer exists because larger game developers pick up much of the attention and clout. When big budget titles that sold for $60 a pop were all the rage, only the biggest studios could produce games. That didn’t leave a whole lot of room for diversity, but times are changing.

This is the “year of the Indie” with so much focus placed on independent video games at Game Developers Conference and PAX East this year. The shift has been a long time coming considering it is easier than ever to learn about making games. Developers now have an easier time accessing the tools and resources they need to produce a title.

The other issue in past years was finding a home for those titles. There are now a bevy of platforms with Steam, iOS and Android serving as fertile ground for independent developers. Indie developers have steered away from consoles for the most part, but that may be changing with AAA titles not bringing in bringing in the revenue they used to. Both Sony and Microsoft are gunning for independent developers in order to bolster their online game marketplaces.

The emergence of XBLA gave indies a presence on Xbox, but Sony wants to seize that advantage with the PlayStation 4. Sony has gone out of its way to encourage development of indie games by putting the guts of a PC into its new console, which makes it easier developers. Now it is time for Microsoft to respond with the announcement for its next gen system slated for May 20. This fight over indies could be a boon for gamers. More access for developers means more games and a greater chance of seeing unique titles on next generation systems.

If the video game industry were a map then indie games would be hidden by the fog of war while larger developers start out in the spotlight. Independent developers have to work hard in order to be seen so they take risks for people to take notice. Thomas was Alone and Bastion are unique in design and concept, while games like Slayin try to satisfy a niche that a big publisher wouldn’t really want to approach.

It doesn’t matter to me all that much to who made a game as long as it resonates with me on some level and that’s the way it should be. I shouldn’t have to answer the question what is indie. The games on this site should succeeds or fails on its own merits, not for lack of funding or because it couldn’t find a platform.

About The Author

Editor In Chief

Jose is a straight shooter who always goes the paragon route. He joined the team at Indie Haven to spread the word about indie games all across the galaxy. When not aboard the Normandy, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area playing video games and plotting ways to rid the world of games like Colonial Marines.

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  • James Moorehead

    It’s a very interesting question and trying to define what ‘Indie’ is is always very tricky. You look at music as an example and indie is far removed from what the technical definition is.

    I suppose for me when it comes to gaming indie titles are about smaller teams or just an individual creating a game out of a labour of love, they have minimal budget, they care little for review scores and do it because they want to see if an idea they have in their head can work as a game.

    I’m not saying AAA isn’t a labour of love, in fact a lot of the time it can be I look at the guys at Rockstar and I know how passionate they are about their craft but the indie game sensibility is less about tracking stats and more about making games.

    Like anything though one persons definition means nothing and ultimate I agree, who actually cares as long as we get games that resonate. I personally hate the attitude a lot of people have that AAA is terrible and Indie is the best because there is good and bad in both.