Indies and consoles: an imperfect system

Ross Miller
R. Miller|06.01.07

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Indies and consoles: an imperfect system
According to Gamasutra's Simon Carless, the independent scene is facing an uphill battle when developing for consoles, specifically in the realm of digital distribution. Carless argues that the difficulty in bringing a title across all platforms, both for technological and business reasons.

Other than some retro titles (e.g. Joust), a very small number of downloadable title are appearing on both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. Capcom's Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is one of the few exceptions, and Capcom's Christian Svensson said it required "considerable coordination" to get the titles on both consoles, which indicates to us that less established independent houses would have insurmountable difficulty.

Carless notes that Sony's collection, retro games aside, are predominantly first party (though we should note that flOw went to Sony because they actively sought out the independent title). Nintendo has always talked about bringing original games to the Wii, and there have been murmurings of a Game Channel, but so far all the only tangible indication of a non-Virtual Console title is Impossible Mission.

Carless' analogy to the film industry (three separate formats for theatre chains), though admittedly ham-fisted, does not account for industry history. It may be unfair to the independent developer, but there hasn't been a time when gaming was controlled by a single format. Sure, development teams are now much larger and require a bigger budget, but that hasn't stopped smaller teams from succeeding with Geometry Wars, Ragdoll Kung-Fu, and Alien Hominid (pictured). The state of indie games isn't ideal, but it seems to be getting better. We say keep on fighting, Simon.
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