Bear Game Launching July 28, 2022

In a AAA World, Be a Bear that Runs a Bed & Breakfast

Why Supporting Indie Games Helps Everyone

In an industry ripe with the most creative concepts in media, it can often feel we are moving in slow motion with every reskinned Gun Game, remake and remaster. It’s [mostly] universally understood that these decisions are made from a capitalist lens, and to be fair many of these titles do have longtime fan bases that will keep consuming the titles, be it from a place of nostalgia, curiosity or loyalty to the IP. I write this as one of these people, to be fair. AAA games are culturally integral, keeping games at the forefront of media as a billion-dollar industry, selling millions of copies every year while inspiring players across the globe.

While it’s hard to argue with the success here, it’s also fair to argue that fresh ideas are still fighting an uphill battle against a news cycle that often favors AAA announcements and other industry fluff. Indie games have come a long way, and it’s significant to understand why supporting indies helps developers and the industry as a whole.

They Take Creative Risks

Indie developers are not beholden to a lot of the red-tape that the AAA machine is. They can take idea-to-paper pretty seamlessly without the critical lens of executive level leadership. Indie games [usually] don’t have to worry about investor opinions, who view the dev cycle with a monetary returns focus. All devs want to make a living off their games, but indie devs rarely censor themselves or their projects to get there; leading to perspectives and experiences that would not usually be green lit by AAA entities. 

Support Within Indies is Cyclical 

Indie gaming allows more novice developers and creatives to break ground on a project without the normal developer pressure of intimidating profit expectations and loss of creative control. This lends to a developer community that cultivates support and education, which in turn advances talent promoting a healthy community that brings a large variety of games to the industry, which often attracts people that would otherwise not have been interested in gaming at all. Indie devs want to see each other win.

Telling Stories From Unique Perspectives 

Video games have been a medium unto itself in regard to telling stories. Narrative games are more popular than ever, giving players unique slice of life perspectives. Outside narrative games, indies continue to leverage their freedom and creativity to create experiences with important or irreverent themes that the AAA machine may view as too niche, too problematic or too confusing. Indies have the freedom to tell their story as they see fit. Whether it’s cultural, abstract, personal or sociopolitical – indie devs don’t have to worry about censoring their vision for profit. Indies make a difference by having the freedom to implement themes that reach people. Indies express themselves and entertain and inspire by proxy. 

Indie Games Inspire New Waves of Players AND Indie Devs

Playcrafting conducted a Developer Sentiment Survey which went out to hundreds of developers within our community, and it was very clear, by our developers’ answers, that they got into games because of a game(s). 90% of these inspirational games were indies, telling us that it only takes one unique experience to reach us, thus fortifying the importance of diverse games. Developers also feel inspired by games that seem realistic by scope and scale to develop, where large AAA do not inspire similarly as the scope feels untenable. 

On the player end of things, many people do not consider themselves “gamers” by their own definition, but spend hours on their mobile device playing games. These players would not likely be into games at all if not for the convenience of so many indie devs developing for mobile and appealing to this demographic’s niche interests. In 2020, smartphone games accounted for almost 50 percent of video gaming revenue worldwide, and as mobile penetration rates and smartphone usage continue to accelerate on a global scale, mobile games revenue is on track to surpass the 100 billion-dollar-mark by 2023. Indie games appeal to more casual players, as they are often at a lower price point and require less time invested.

All that to say, that all games play their part, no pun intended. All games reach, inspire and entertain millions of people a year. Indies help illuminate experiences that can reach even deeper, that have the creative freedom to entertain, make a stand or help players feel connected to something.

So hey, maybe while you’re killing time in your next game lobby, check out what indies are available on mobile or Steam – support all devs by supporting indie devs.

I used Bear & Breakfast as an example, and for the title, as I think it’s a great example of creativity in indie games. Playcrafting has no affiliation with the game, developers or studio — we’re just a big fan.

Krysti Pryde
Game Developer Relations Manager at Playcrafting

This article first appeared on In a AAA World, Be a Bear that Runs a Bed & Breakfast..