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Indie games, what is that? [INTRODUCTION]

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Post by The_gh0stm4n on Fri 05 Oct 2018, 04:24

People who have made it a hobby to play videogames regularly and who are following gaming industry developments, have maybe taken notice of the rise in so called "Early Access Games". If you want a very simple definition, these are video games that are still in the process of being developed. And in 9 out of 10 cases, these early access games are considered so-called "Indie games". But let's start slowly.

First attempt at a definition, and a small history

A common definition of "Indie Games" is that they are released without the financial backing of a major game publisher. Imagine being a game developer, and you have lots of ideas. Regardless of what you and any other people in your environment may think, you may decide to bring your ideas to a major game publisher. Usually these are big and well-known companies who - among other things - finance the development of the game, have the necessary personnel (programmers, designers, marketing strategists, plus oftentimes a huge army of in-house game testers, etc.) to be able to work on games in all development cycles, and in return also demand a share in any profits of the game. 

Now, game publishers can, and often do, reject projects for Indie games. Usually that is done on the grounds of "that will never work" or "people are not going to buy that kind of stuff". Of course, of course: whatever your personal feelings are about the average gamer nowadays, it is safe to assume that the average player is going to be more interested in mainstream titles such The Sims, FIFA, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Need for Speed, and similar titles. Nothing wrong with that, don't get me wrong. But this upcoming part of the Games4theworld platform is not about mainstream games. 

OK, your project for an Indie game was rejected by a game publisher, what are you going to do? Some developers may keep looking for smaller publishers, or they could use some sort of crowd-funding to help finance the development of their projects.

In the 1990s when "serious" PC gaming started to emerge, there were attempts by some Indie developers to self-market their projects, and some even tried selling their games by taking mail orders. Now, you don't need to be an expert in the gaming industry to figure out that profits are not going to be that great by sending these games through mail, at least not normally. According to some sources, even today with convenient digital distribution platforms such as Steam, Indie Games are not likely to be very profitable.

The rise of Early Access titles

In addition to crowd-funding, Indie developers may choose to release unfinished games (often called "Alpha", "Beta", etc. versions). One reason they do that is to gather community feedback, because - as hinted earlier - Indie developers don't normally have the same resources as big publishers. In this case, a large number of employees who playtest the games.

Providing Alpha/Beta game versions to the public also helps bringing in some cash, that will help the development of the game, at least in theory.

Another obvious reason for Early Access-formats is, to see if it is even profitable to keep working on a project. A lot of Indie games don't "make it" past the Alpha/Beta phases.

While I'm unable to tell any percentage number of e.g. Steam games that are Early Access-versions (you are welcome to do research on your own or post a comment below), other estimates give a figure of 15%

Another definition

So there is the aspect of financial backing, in the development of video games, that is often used to classify them as "Indie", or not. Other sources also take into account aspects of gameplay that are uniquely creative, or are otherwise aimed at niche audiences. What must be noted here is that there is no one single definition on what constitutes an "Indie game", that everybody agrees upon.

What does this mean for G4TW now? 

We are now proud to announce the side-project "The Indie Corner" on Games4theworld! In this section of the Forum we will be presenting you selected Indie games. And in accordance with traditions of G4TW, this will include a list of torrents with DRM-free/offline-playable versions of Indie games, plus a section for Support purposes. You are welcome to ask for technical Support or other issues, though the focus on The Indie Corner will be mostly on in-game walkthroughs, guides, Indie news, analyses/reviews, etc. 

For reasons of simplicity, we are going to assume a broader definition of Indie games: anything that is not in the mainstream and gets little (marketing) attention. That can include the...

Arrow countless Indie adventure titles, 
Arrow visual novels, 
Arrow un-official/fan-made standalone expansions of games, 
Arrow games that due to their gameplay mechanics were considered as "mainstream" in the past, but not today anymore (!),
Arrow games that were released by a major game publisher (!!), but which we nonetheless classify as "Indie" due to their gameplay mechanics, compared to the rest of the rest of the major game publisher's releases.
Arrow and probably a hundred other things that I forgot.

While we are for a significant part a repacker & Support group for DRM-free stuff, we encourage you to support Indie developers if you like a game and have some money left to spend. In addition to that, we will also be working on "showcases" - in whatever form - for Indie developers.

We will also be using our new YouTube channel for exemplifying gameplay on (selected) Indie titles. Feel free to subscribe if you like:

With that being said, I'd be happy to walk this - by G4TW terms - unexplored path with you. Stay tuned for more!
G4TW RETIRED Gatekeeper
Inspector General / Da Forumz O.G.
G4TW RETIRED Gatekeeper Inspector General / Da Forumz O.G.

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