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The rise of Indie games on Consoles

When the term “indie games” was first coined, the indie games were not even so popular at all, in fact hardly anybody knew about them. Today, Xbox One and Playstation have announced support for indie developers and are willing to welcome them to publish their games on their game stores.

When the consoles were released back in 2005 and 2007, console makers were reluctant to even show support to them. Independent developers used to publish their games for PC. It was only when Sony launched a platform for indie developers in the year 2007. Microsoft and Sony were both looking to catch the big fish while keeping the small developers away from spot light. Nevertheless, Wii, Sony and Microsoft are the three companies which have slowly shown support and care for the indie developers who now release titles for today’s consoles.

The real breakthrough of indie games came in the year 2008 when the game Braid produced by Jonathan Blow became a massive hit. It was one of the most downloaded game title in the Xbox game store. Xbox live community games were also released in the same year which were later renamed to Indie games. Because of the growing popularity of these games, Microsoft started to show more and more interest in them. Just the way it happened with “Braid”, a game called “2D boy” on Wii became a big hit and not to forget the “World of Goo” which was also a major hit. Sony also saw a late start in the indie game section but that was in the year 2009.

Even when the indie revolution was kicking off, not all could afford to publish their games on the big guy’s networks. Publishing require money and only those who the power could do so. That is the reason why the indie developers were not so happy publishing their games on Microsoft, Sony or Wii’s consoles and chose to stick with the PC.

The indie revolution saw a lot of games being published in the coming years on the Xbox console. Online forums had additional section for Indie games and the “real” players who like to play games online, those traditional games, were pretty unhappy and vented their disgust.

Indie developers continued publishing more and more games, but there was unhappiness. Developers were not able to earn enough money from publishing their games on Xbox and Sony networks because of restrictions and lack of promotional features. Whereas, the Steam platform paid 50 to 75 percent of the revenue to the developers. This is another reason why Steam has chosen to manufacture their own console called “Steam Machine” running the “SteamOS” which is basically a linux machine optimized to run games which you normally play on your PC. With such tight restrictions, the developers found it hard publish their games on these networks and the risks were too high.

2012 was the year when a lot of game developers went independent. There were several great releases on PSN and Xbox 360. There were problems with Microsoft and the developers while Sony was succeeding in building new relations with them. Today, both the platforms are trying harder than ever to gain indie support and trying to invite the indie developers to develop and publish games for Xbox and PS4 consoles.