Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel claims "the indie bubble is popping"
For Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel, there's really only one problem affecting the sustainability of the indie PC gaming scene at the moment: "too many games." In a recent blog post, the veteran developer behind the Avernum and Avadon RPG series discusses what the "flood of games" means for indie studios today and in the future. It's an issue Vogel says has gotten so severe, "even the gaming press has noticed."
Vogel situates his analysis around a fact that has been making the rounds in the media recently—namely the sheer number of games Steam has released this year. So far in 2014 the distributor has pushed out more games than during all of last year.
"Indie gaming started out as games written with passion for people who embraced and loved them," Vogel writes. "Now too much of it is about churning out giant mounds of decent but undifferentiated product to be bought for pennies by people who don't give a crap either way. It's not sustainable."
But Vogel doesn't blame Steam for the current situation, arguing that the boom in indie gaming has made the task of sorting and curating all those games "impossible." This left Steam "in a position of being hated for something it could do nothing about."
And with so many bundles now available, bundles Vogel admits he has also taken advantage of, the return from selling games is diminishing. The "problem" he identifies is one Vogel feels developers and gamers have been noticing for several years now, as the joy of uncovering a new indie gem has turned into a more stressful process of sorting an endless list of new releases.
"Also, it bums me out," Vogel writes. "I feel like some jerk who sees a guy's pants fall down and points and laughs and shouts, 'HA HA! Your pants just fell down!' The pants-down guy has my sympathy. My sales are way down too, so if you hate me, I hope that fact gives you a little smile."
There's a lot more to the Vogel's argument, and if you've thought about this issue at all I recommend checking out the whole thing.
Thanks, Games Industry International.
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