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Monday, January 16, 2006

Is Indie Gaming Losing It's Soul?

Twitch Guru begs the question of whether indie games are becoming big business and whether that entails the kind of evil market pressures normally reserved for larger titles. The centerpiece of the argument lies with Valve's Steam:

As Valve's Doug Lombardi said to me after I put the question of undercutting independent publishers: "We're not looking to undercut anyone - just give developers and publishers more avenues for reaching customers." Of course he left out the part about beating the snot out of the likes of Battlefront in the process.
-- Is Independent Gaming Getting Evil?

Considering what Valve has done with the mod scene .... namely market the living hell out of it until only large mod teams with commerical level asset creations have a seat to the table ... I'd be suspect of Valve and the indie scene myself. Valve's practically redefined their business strategy to mean "value add" and software like Steam is precisely the kind of thing Valve would use for their own benefit. Just as the concept of mods has become so twisted that it's virtually lost all of it's original meaning, I could easily see a similar dynamic happening with indie titles as well.

And Steam still isn't my favorite thing in the world. Overengineered to benefit the publisher, not the user. So while Darwinia might be a great indie title ... I won't know because I'm not letting Steam back on my box.

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Corvus said...

This ties in nicely to my Round Table entry this week. As does the announcement of ads in CS.

Good news is, you can still download a demo and purchase Darwinia at

Josh said...

Which I actually already had up in another tab ( ) :)

That is good news about Darwinia ... I had heard from the mumblevine that it was exclusive on Steam.

Corvus said...

It was exclusive (according to a post on their site at one point), but it must have only been for a set period of time.

You going to contribute to the table this week?

Josh said...

Yeah, almost drafted something this weekend, but I'm being continually ambushed by allergy medicine as of late.

Sneaky, sneaky allergy medicine.