For more than thirty years now the games industry has always worked in a certain way, people rented offices and then set up studios to create games, they employed staff to work in-house, and then got those projects funded and distributed by publishers. If you ever wanted to opt out of that setup, you had to work alone or in a small team as an indie developer- you operated in a totally different and separate stratosphere; the system neatly self-segregated. Meanwhile in the background, the business worked to the seven-year cycles dictated by the lifespan of the major consoles. It was a machine of discreet components, however that machine isn’t working as well and there has been the start of something new.
The new beginnings started about ten years ago, due to the dawn of the broadband internet era gradually allowing indie developers to distribute their games digitally rather than as boxed copies this immediately cut out manufacturing and distribution costs out of their budgets. Developers also have the option company voluntary arrangement which enables them to repay any outstanding unsecured debts if they have any, this could help the business in the long term. What also has helped indie developers massively was the arrival of the iPhone which created a stable marketplace for the previously chaotic mobile gaming sector, the release meant that new development applications like Unity, GameMaker and Twine meant that people didn’t need to know how to code to make games, or spend months even years developing their own graphics engines. Big companies began to take notice of this, and the console manufacturers opened online stores and courted indie developer’s to produce weird titles including World of Goo and Braid which both came out in 2008. Then as the ever-popular Stream arrived it blew up the whole PC games market.
The whole result of this evolution means that the industry now works in a radically different way than it previously did a decade ago. Until this new generation began, console makers generally stuck to one architecture for the lifespan of their current machine. The massive changes that have affected the games industry over the last few decades have in fact created equally big problems. The move to a digital marketplace where thousands of developers are able to sell their games in online app stores has now created a huge problem with discover-ability, as not all developers will be able to build an audience when they have access to new titles on various platforms including Stream, the Apple App Store and Android. Due to this wide accessibility of games many believed here may be an indie apocalypse, however indie games have mass communities which are ever growing.
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