With iPhones and smart phones becoming the norm, you can’t help but notice the emerging trend of indie games these days. With life becoming more fast-paced, we’re always looking for ways to have fun within a quicker and more easily accessible form, so does this mean that AAA games may one day be a thing of the past?
With THQ Australia, Team Bondi, and EA Visceral all closing down and most other Australian game companies concentrating on small scale iPhone or iPad games, the Australian AAA gaming industry does not look promising in the least. The news of KMM Games taking in Team Bondi does at least mean that we are still giving it our best shot, with rumours that they are joining up to make the new Mad Max game: Fury Road which we all hope will be a great success.
You can’t however ignore the fact that almost everyone you know has an iPhone or Android with at least 2 or 3 games on it, at least one of which they will rave about. Angry Birds was a huge success as far as indie games go with downloads passing 100 million back in March, and it’s also interesting to note that around 40 million monthly active gamers spend about 200 million minutes a day in front of this highly addictive app.
Personally I’m addicted to the awesome PopCap game Plants Vs Zombies, in which you defend your home with various plant types that shoot, grab and explode your zombie enemies. Yay!
But why are these so popular? I believe it comes down to one thing: Simplicity. These games are incredibly easy to use, so much so that even non-gamers can quickly pick these up and play during their spare time on the train, or on lunch breaks. Indie games have opened up the gaming world to people who usually would not have time to sit down and play something like Call Of Duty or Fable 3. The fact that these games sell for a mere few dollars is also a great incentive for people to buy.
From the game development company perspective indie games are much cheaper to make than AAA titles. They can probably release 3 times more indie games than they can AAA, so as far as looking at this from a business perspective, indie games for the time being have the potential to be much more profitable.
Don’t lose hope on the AAA games just yet though, there are still some that are going strong, and there are still those dedicated gamers that spend those long nights determined to close the gates of Oblivion, or like me, ridding the world of the Lambent Horde in Gears Of War.
As for me, I’m going to sit on the fence. I love nothing more than curling up on the lounge for a few hours and shooting up some aliens, but I also love the opportunity to play a quick fun game on those boring train rides to the city. Let’s just hope that the two can create some form of harmony so that we may enjoy both for many years to come.