Is there a certain point in which an Indie dev is no longer considered Indie?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by RemixDeluxe, Oct 29, 2016.

  1. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    What really defines a developer or studio to be indie and what separates them from the AAA companies like Nintendo, Capcom, Sega, Konami, etc.

    I was thinking about ones like Wayforward, Yacht Club Games, or even Scott Games (maybe not the best examples.) At some point or another they were not so well known but they've made some big strides with their titles and really made a name for themselves so does popularity and public knowledge increase their status to the likes of other AAA companies?

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    To me, I think it's when they get bought out by a major company and stop being self-founded. Like Mojang was indie until Microsoft bought them out, where as Wayfard, Yacht Club Games, and Scott Games are all still self-founding, even if they get some money for major companies, they aren't owned by them.
     
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  3. catlover007

    catlover007 GBAtemp Regular

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    Well per definiton an indie developer is someone/something who developes games from their own money.

    But nowdays some genres are even defined as indie, e.g. arcade style games.

    I think the in the market today there are already companies which are something like AAA indies but a single dev releasing a game is also an indie. So my conclusion would be to split the term indie, because it's definition is too wide.
     
  4. Autz

    Autz GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Indies usually are small groups of no more than 50 people. With more people, comes more tasks like self-advertising and such. If we go to the logic that indies makes games with their own money, then game developers like Square Enix or Capcom are indie developers, which doesn't fit too well.
     
  5. catlover007

    catlover007 GBAtemp Regular

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    Yes indeed, I meant that the money is the hand of the developers them self.
     
  6. Autz

    Autz GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    That also applies to Indies as well. And we don't need to split the term, indies fits more with small groups rather than big ones.
     
  7. zoogie

    zoogie simple pimp tool

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    When they get rich :P
     
  8. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I have still to undertake a study on when the term AAA arose, I maintain I had not heard it prior to a few years ago. Worse still is some assume AAA reflects quality and production values when that is not always the case by any means. I would also encourage being careful as there is a massive difference between a 50 million dollar game budget and a 400 million dollar budget.

    But as with all nebulous things it is... well nebulous and without a clear line. Some would say when you are your own people and not owned by or making games for a hardware maker or one of the bigger companies like EA, Ubisoft, Activision-Blizzard when they were around, Capcom (though the state of their finances...). But that said most of those have funded a whole bunch of micro budget games, loaned out IP to small devs looking to do something and otherwise given loads of little people a chance to work with them.

    Generally for me it is about as useful as casual as a term. It kind of means something (smaller, shorter games but perhaps with an interesting mechanic or a few risks taken that the new COD games probably will not bother with) but most of the meaning has been utterly destroyed by overly broad use, not to mention there being something of an indy game formula that some are amused by (small child in a dark and scary world, or a homage to mario, possibly both at the same time).
     
  9. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I really like the definition you displayed for the first part but the 2nd part sounds like you are describing a 2nd party which still sounds like they are partially owned such as Intelligent systems, Game Freak, Retro Studios, Monolith Soft, etc.
     
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  10. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    Well, you can still be indie and get money from the major companies. Basically it's not about where the founding is coming from, but who really owns them. Like Wayforward obviously is getting money from Nintendo for their games, but they aren't owned by Nintendo.
     
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  11. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    In that case what about companies that remain financially independent but the IP they create during a contract or whatever stays with the contracting company? Something like Bungie leaving Halo or perhaps or Naughty Dog and Insomniac and their history with Sony.
     
  12. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    That really falls under "2nd party." Like how GameFreak isn't completely owned by Nintendo, but their projects still kind of are owned by Nintendo.
     
  13. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Don't we then have a spectrum? Gamefreak likely can not fart without Nintendo's approval and a lot of such arrangements are closer to a tax dodge or bankruptcy protection accountancy setup, perhaps not as blatant as the film industry ( https://www.techdirt.com/articles/2...makes-150-million-still-isnt-profitable.shtml ) or some of the craziness pharmaceutical companies get up to but not too far off. Contrast that to someone like those listed previously which ran something closer to "make us four games through these dates, this would be your cut for doing so, you can also use our render farm/other niceties and I guess here is a chunk of change to kick things off".

    There is a famous quote from a judge in a porn case, the part that is relevant for me here here "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it". Not a particularly useful way to set about life if you desire firm lines but about as good I could do for this sort of thing.