Thanks for bringing up that indie games are not necessarily the counterpoint to AAA woes (a topic you've covered and illustrated well in the past).

I'm seeing a lot of gaming commentators, especially on YouTube, try to build a narrative about the indie market as the shining light to gaming industry woes. But none of them point out, as you have in the past, that the majority of indie games fail because it's a very crowded and demanding market right now. I look at a lot of demos - the quality out there is astounding. But getting people to notice your game is so hard. These days, if you can manage getting 300 reviews on Steam, that's a big deal!

There is this narrative that indie is the new saviour of gaming. But I think it's primarily encouraged by people who don't have a lot of exposure to the absolutely saturated market - and that's just Steam. Let's not talk about getting noticed on something like Itch!

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I think the second point that you raised in the trends, about game dev not necessarily being a full-time thing for many indie developers, has some indirect positive consequences that perhaps not many realize.

1. There's time for the dev (if they choose to) build a fan base. The longer time from conception to release means more people can get excited about the projects, as the fan base organically (in most cases) grows awareness for the game. Most of my recent purchases and wishlists are all word-of-mouth finds.

2. Ultimately, it's up to the dev to make their game, but they can make real-time pivots in how they do that based on whatever parts of the fanbase they choose to listen to. The fans feel like they're a part of the development process too. It creates a relationship that feels much colder with a AAA dev studio.

But to your point, not all games enjoy these benefits, and many fall by the wayside while others race past. Even among my wishlisted upcoming indie games, I can foresee differences in how they will be received when they are released, just by the number/quality of interactions.

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