With recent releases on the PlayStation Network store such as: Rogue Legacy, Surgeon Simulator, Hotline Miami, CounterSpy and a slew of others including the fact that my personal game of show from E3 2014, No Man’s Sky, will make its console debut exclusive to the platform, it’s difficult to deny we’re in a golden-era where indie games are really spicing up the ecosystem of video games in a world that was previously plagued by only top tier, AAA releases.
Near the end of the last console generation, sometime in 2011 or 2012, I was unsure how I felt about the future of games. I simply found myself bored playing shooter after shooter because that’s what sells. With the current generation of consoles, I’ve really been seeing some diverse, different games that have given me a newfound optimism toward the future of the industry (truly starting with the launch PS4 game, Resogun, in my mind).
The prime advantage of indie titles is that they are developed and funded by, very much obviously stated, independent studios. With that, these small teams can craft a game that really embodies a certain tone and voice that may not appeal to the greatest common denominator, but will gather attention from like-minded individuals who enjoy that type of entertainment. For example, a publisher such as Activision or EA would never publish a game like Surgeon Simulator, but Bossa Studios sure would. And since that game is targeted at people who have a warped sense of humor like me, there very well may be enough of us out there to recoup the lower-than-standard production costs.
I recently had a conversation with someone who said they didn't pay $400-500 for a next-gen console to just play indie games. Now that’s understandable, but this takes me back to my original point about diversity. Had I just wanted to play indie games, I would have bought an Ouya or even stuck specifically with Steam, but being the eager console-gaming man I am that does indeed enjoy big-budget titles, I bought both Sony and Microsoft’s new machines at launch.
Considering they will undoubtedly have AAA releases launch on the platform as well as indie title after indie title, the current diversity of games and the plethora of choices (which also helps that Sony and Microsoft will often give these games out for free on a monthly basis to their subscribers) has really made me confident about what’s to come. The game industry is changing, and with the newest, functional game streaming services available...it is an exciting time to be a video game enthusiast and tackle that change head-on.