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Will independent video games soon rival the strength of the independent cinema scene, and provide a similar role in reinvigorating the conservative mainstream? These signs are definitely begin to show, with a few breakthrough games like Uplink showing that the small scale independents can still have large success, as they did in the dawn of the industry. While the team behind the game have said that if they'd known how hard it was going to be in the beginning they wouldn't have tried, somehow I don't believe them. On a much wider scale independent companies are having success in specific fields with good buisness models – such as in MMORPG games where players pay a monthly fe for an ongoing experience and are often prepared to do without expensive and time consuming graphics for a greater depth of experience.
There are plenty of signs from the more artistcally inclined game designers that they yearn for a stronger independent scene in which to exercise their skills. Warren Spector (Credited as the main genius behind the original Deus Ex) went on a 'rant against the games industry' panel at this years GDC saying:
We need Sundances. Independent Film Channel. Equivalents of those. Just try to find some way of funding your stuff that doesnít come from a publisher.
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Outside these big industry names there are also things happening; independent games are getting better. Observe this article over at Euro gamer on some of the more interesting titles around today.
There are new models for lower cost gaming emerging, with new distribution models. Check out Ritual's SiN: Episodes . They intend to use Valve's Steam software to deliver game content directly to consumers in a format like TV serials, evolving and changing the way the game plays as more content is released and players generate feedback.
Its exciting and somethng that everyone should encourage and be involved with. More independent games means more innovation, games for smaller markets, games for adults, women, artists. Games that make you think, make you cry, games that move the industry into a proper art form, worthy of the name.