Extra Credits: Innovation

This week, we discuss the Indie and AAA branches of the game industry, and how joining forces might help them to drive innovation.

Recent Comments:

  • Also Valve never started as an indie company. Their first game was published by Sierra (now known as Activision-Blizzard).

    I know, but they had their own financial backing from back when some of them worked for Microsoft and then got into self-publishing when broadband internet became common enough. I brought them up because they always had the freedom to do what they want. Nobody's pusing them to release the next Half-Life.

    EDIT: Same with Wolfire Games (they're behind the Humble Bundles). They had a moderate success with their first game, developed without any financial backing (AFAIK) and now they're funded by sales of the few games they made and by pre-orders of their next big thing.


  • I know, but they had their own financial backing from back when some of them worked for Microsoft and then got into self-publishing when broadband internet became common enough. I brought them up because they always had the freedom to do what they want. Nobody's pusing them to release the next Half-Life.

    Sorry but Valve are about as indie as Apple. A good example to use would be CCP who funded EVE-Online by designing and selling a board game.

    That doesn't change the fact that these companys are exceptional.

  • Sorry but Valve are about as indie as Apple.

    Indie or not, they innovate and don't need an EA indie label. Seems to me like the risk without such a publisher is loosing time and your own money if you fail, while with them you'd risk loosing a lot of money and all the rights to your own ideas if you succeed. Can't move to a different publisher either if they try to screw you over too, since they own your work fully and can do whatever they want with it.

    That doesn't change the fact that these companys are exceptional.
    Because they made exceptional games, which is what every "indie" developer strives for according to the episode. Still, there's plenty of not-so-exceptional stuff on Desura and other non-traditional distribution platforms already that would likely still be meh if they had a bit more money.

    It's a hard decision to make I guess. Not a perfect plan for lots of innovative, risk-free games but instead a possible alternative for developers who can't or won't get their first game out with other funding models.

  • Hey, if I could get publisher funding and still be allowed to do what I want, I'd happily trade away my IP. I mean sure, maybe I'd like to work on the sequel of a successful idea, and I'd ask if I could, but more resources only makes better games.

  • I'd like to see the link to Portnow's plan that was mentioned in the episode. I'm sure there's more to it than just what was mentioned in the episode.

    However, based on what was mentioned in the episode, it seems that the most advantageous thing for an indie dev to do in such a system would be "just enough to pass muster", and that would be a measure to ensure that they're not giving away anything too good. The problem I can see - at least on a superficial level - is that in order to avoid getting screwed, the indies in such a deal would have "vaults".

    I mean, that's what I'd do in such a situation. I love the medium, but I don't love it enough to get screwed/exploited for it. And, if I were kept "lean and hungry" I'd only do what I was paid for and nothing more. Judging by the episode's description of the plan, the indie guys in the equation would get boned. I may not be understanding this correctly, but it seems like the only reward they get is to be able to do the work. It's like saying, "Congrats! You get to shave years off your life and wreck your family for peanuts! And us, well, we get your IP which we'll probably run into the ground if this initial offering does well. After the project is over, we'll promptly fire you and get some guy to work on what you've started. But, hey, at least you got to do the work, right? That'll look good on a resume."

    I found this episode quite interesting because I'm thinking of starting a project myself, and I'm wondering whether I should shoot for an end goal of Triple-A or just try to make the best of an indie project. My major concern with attempting AAA is that I'd invariably lose rights to the IP. Is it wrong to want to profit off of one's hard work? The major concern with trying to make the best of an indie project is that - naturally - it won't be as polished.

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