A few indie developers have been talking about the indie bubble and how it’s going to burst. The indie bubble is the large influx of developers moving into the independent game space, all of those developers releasing games, trying to get press for said games, and trying to make money.
A lot of people are going indie simply due to the ease of being able to make games now. This is thanks to all the available tools, the ease of distribution, and partly due to all the stories of a select few people getting rich. People also want the freedom to create what they want to create since working for a bigger developer often makes people feel like a cog in the machine, a discardable tool, and/or a chunk of meat in the grinder.
I would say it’s easier to make it as an indie now than it was at any time in the past. This is thanks to the sheer “ease” of development and number of platforms a small team can deploy games on with the tools currently available. Yeah, there may be a flood of indie developers and indie games hitting the market, but are indie devs who are trying to make it doing any better than they would have 5, 10, or 15 years ago? I’d say yes.
Making a living as an indie was never really easy. Starting a new indie game studio is just like starting any other business. If you don’t follow the rules, plan ahead, or put some work in you’re probably not going to make it.
How to go indie and stay indie in 4 bullet points:
- Start a business – You have to (or should) create and register your business. You need some money to start, keep it going, pay your rent, and feed yourself. You have to buy any necessary tools like computers and software.
- Make a product – Highly recommend making small games to begin so you can get to #4 faster
- Market and sell the product – Try and hit as many platforms as possible
- Learn from your failures, improve your methods, and try again – This is the key point!
The money part of #1 is tough. If you really want to take a solid shot at being and staying an indie you have to give yourself some time for #4. I’d plan for making at least 4-6 games. I’m talking about 4-6 games with a short to medium development time of 3-6 months. If you’re making looooong games with a year or two dev cycle you severely limit your time in point #4 and are less agile.
#4 is huge. It seems like a lot of people make a game and get discouraged because they didn’t make enough money to drive a new Tesla away from the dealership. If a chef made a dish that didn’t taste great would they quit being a chef? No. They would modify the recipe until it was great. This is how making games works! You have to fix and refine your recipe to succeed.
You have to be friends with failure to succeed!
So if you’re saying the indie bubble is going to burst – in terms of the large influx of indie devs thinking they can make a quick buck – Yes, I believe there will be a lot of disappointed people. But for the ones who think they can make it, and put in the amount of work it takes – Yes, you have a pretty good shot at making it. You might not be rich in 5 years, but hopefully you will have found the joy in doing exactly what you want to do with your creative freedom while earning enough to pay the bills.
Some people talking about The Indie Bubble:
Marketing, Dumb Luck, and The Popping of the Indie Bubble – Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software
Everything Indie Is About To Burst – Indie Statik