IndieCity: “The One Stop Shop For Indies”

By Jim Rossignol on August 3rd, 2011 at 10:00 am.


We’ve been hearing a lot about IndieCity, a new portal and distribution platform for indie developers and indie games, but it’s now open for sign ups, so we figured it was time to find out exactly what it was all about. We spoke to IndieCity’s project lead, Chris Swan, about what his team have been up and – given the known difficulty of pulling something like this off – what a portal like this can actually offer independent development.

RPS: Can you tell us a bit about what the aim of IndieCity is?

Swan: The aim of IndieCity is to become the one stop shop for indie games. As developers we’d witnessed how hard it could be to get on some of the major portals and also how quickly indie games would slide off of the front page. As gamers we found that the indie gaming scene was very fragmented, which meant browsing a lot of sites to stay on top of the scene. So at its core, the goal of IndieCity is to solve these problems by having an open approval system coupled with a recommendation engine and filter. This means the games that are highly rated or sell more copies, get greater visibility. However, we do know that what makes an indie game ‘good’ is highly subjective, and the recommendation engine therefore gives each gamer a personalised homepage of titles that appeals to their interests.

RPS: What do indie devs get out of signing up?

Swan: Right now we’re at the private beta phase and are trying to get as many developers’ games onto the system ready for our soft launch in a few weeks’ time, so the immediate benefit is being there for launch. If there are devs out there who are interested, they should sign up now here.

RPS: Can you tell us a bit more about the extended feature set of the site?

Swan: We offer a number of (hopefully) appealing features:

- No mainstream allowed. One of the few criteria for getting your game on IndieCity is that your game needs to be considered ‘indie’, which begs the question ‘How are we going to achieve that when everyone’s opinion of indie is different?’ The answer is to turn it on its head and get the community approvers to say whether a game is mainstream or not. In the tests so far this created a suitable ‘net’ that erred on the side of caution. We don’t aim to divide the games between indie and mainstream with a laser-like focus, we just want the obvious generic mainstream games to be kept out.

- High revenue share. We give an 85% rev share to devs if they integrate with our wrapper (offering leaderboards and achievements currently), 75% otherwise.

- The Underground, which is a sub-site where absolutely anything goes. So in this area you could release a very rough and ready prototype for a tiny sale price, and see if it looks like it’ll sell well enough that it’s worth polishing up. We’re calling this the ‘Pay to Finish’ model and it was obviously demonstrated so well by Notch, but it also applies to beta-purchase approaches, such as the one used successfully by Mode 7. We originally created this area as we found a lot of devs who didn’t want to be creating their own websites, building up SEO and trying to get the gamers’ attention; they just wanted to focus on making games. If we’re already creating a site where there will be lots of indie gamers it makes sense to allow devs to tap into this audience.

RPS: Do indies really need the help of a site like IndieCity?

Swan: We think so. As mentioned above it’s pretty hard work being a dedicated indie gamer currently. Right now you’re limited to either the cream of the indie crop on portals that you know and trust, or going round the web handing out credit cards details to unknown sites. So having a trustworthy one stop shop is something that we think could make a lot of people’s lives easier. We also plan on having a blogging platform on the site to allow for anyone to start creating editorial. What we’re hoping for here is that lots of people can start to become experts of various gaming niches, and by feeding the blogs into the recommendation engine the posts will again be pushed to the appropriate gamers who would be interested in reading them.

Another unique feature is our download client. Ok, so a download client is hardly anything new, but ours also ties into the recommendation engine and uses peer to peer sharing (if you enable it). This means that you can turn this setting on and leave the client running overnight, so that when you get up in the morning you’ll have a new set of indie demos downloaded. On top of that you can enable another setting and any of the games that use our wrapper will be auto-installed as well, ready for you to simply click play. We’re hoping that this will massively reduce the friction in finding and waiting to play new indie games, and has the bonus of reducing our hosting costs.

RPS: So what’s the timeline for the near future of IndieCity?

Swan: Right now we have our lead developers in the site testing the game wrapper/page creation/upload process. Then in a few weeks’ time we’ll start letting in some of the lead indie gamers, using an invite system to control the bandwidth and rate of uptake.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

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80 Comments »

  1. chrisw87 says:

    They’re having an IRC meeting this afternoon for anyone interested in finding out more, here’s what I got in an email yesterday,

    “With so many new sign ups to IndieCity, we’ve decided to do a short notice technical Q&A meeting in the IRC channel so you can come and chat to the team live, ask us whatever is on your mind about IndieCity and hopefully learn lots more about the project.

    The meeting will be tomorrow (3rd August) from 3pm until 5pm UK time in the IndieCity IRC channel, #IndieCity on irc.freenode.net.”

  2. Alextended says:

    Um, mainstream or indie, what? Plenty totally indie games have potential for mainstream appeal, they’re totally different defined characteristics that don’t exclude one another in any way whatsoever. You might as well start saying certain genres can’t be indie or something if you go down this (weird, illogical) path.

    There are of course tons of non-indie games that are also not mainstream either.

    Maybe they just chose their words poorly but I’d want people behind something like this to a) be against such notions or b) know more about what they’re talking about.

    As for “Pay to Finish”, that’s not the best naming they could go with since there’s no guarantee projects you buy will actually be finished, it’s up to the developers obviously.

    Anyway, how will this differ from Desura, which happens to have a strong established community, being a part of moddb and all? That their first benefit is “there for the launch” isn’t very appealing unless they plan to have some huge advertising campaign games can benefit from, but they aren’t saying anything of the sort.

    What about consumer benefits? Surely they have to offer plenty of those to compete against the other digital distribution services. Pleasing the consumer is making the ground more fertile for the developers too, obviously.

    I don’t think things for indie gamers (I doubt there are many who only play indie games by the way) are as hard or in any way as unsafe as they want to claim (as long as you’re careful, and especially thanks to great news websites like indie games and tigs, including the latter’s database) and calling the selection in popular portals like Steam as “the cream of the crop” is doing a disservice to the rest, which are many.

    Their client features don’t sound like anything new whatsoever either, outside the peer to peer bit which is only for their own benefit.

    Well, yeah, consider me heavily sceptical for now.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      They lost me at “generic mainstream games”.

    • Inigo says:

      No mainstream allowed. One of the few criteria for getting your game on IndieCity is that your game needs to be considered ‘indie’

      The process involves going up to a random member of the public and saying “I’ve just been playing ‘[Insert title of game here]‘. You probably haven’t heard of it – it’s pretty obscure.”
      You then gauge how hard they hit you in the face and/or genitals.

    • Plankton says:

      Steam sells “generic mainsteam games”. IndieCity sells “pretentious hipster games”. Sounds fair.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yeah, not a fan as well of the “hipster approach” to indie games. There are great and crappy “mainstream” games, there are great and crappy “indie” games.

      No need to have that “mainstream is to be destroyed” approach to gaming to promote indie games.. (cf the bottom right image on their site)

    • CMaster says:

      Yes, one has to ask where games like Minecraft, which while unarguably being independently developed equally has obviously mainstream appeal, or something like Super Meat Boy, which again has a broad appeal and is based off mainstream games of yesteryear fit.

    • Gunde says:

      The most interesting part of it is for indie developers to be able to get some exposure in a marketplace, getting rid of those games that already have great exposure makes it easier for users to find new, potentially exciting, games.

      I see it more as curating the marketplace to avoid too “established” games robbing all of the attention there.

      Any place where new and interesting games can get more exposure is a good thing in my book.

    • Alextended says:

      So they have a crystal ball that tells them what games will or won’t become big success stories to avoid putting them on their service at all costs because they aren’t indie enough? Cool. But then, how is it better than an RPS Wot I Think or otherwise positive mention of a game in slightly more mainstream media, which also don’t require a cut? Also, who decides the threshold, is it 100k sales, 200k sales, or what? Hell, outside behemoths like Minecraft, these numbers would be the very upper tier of indie game sales, so if approaching these disqualifies you then what good is it to even be put on this service as it almost guarantees your game really won’t do all that well because it’s essentially a requirement? No, it must be something else that they wanted to communicate and didn’t manage because this sounds more like it should be an improved version of tigs database with a couple of underdog promotion categories thrown in. Or something.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      WTF, people? “Mainstream” as in mainstream media, as opposed to independent media. They’re using it as a synonym for AAA stuff or games produced by large developers/publishers, nothing more.

      Why are you getting hung up on word choice when the intended meaning is clear?

    • LionsPhil says:

      And there I was thinking “independent” meant “not at the behest of a third-party publisher who is funding you”, which is a nice, simple, straightforward definition that doesn’t require pondering if it has enough thumbnail-sized pixels and gimmicky platforming mechanics.

    • SeeBeeW says:

      There are a lot of cases of ambiguity between indie and mainstream titles that have nothing to do with ‘hipster elitism.’ I.e., are you still indie if you receive VC funding in the amount of a standard AAA budget, even if you aren’t affiliated with an established game publisher? In that case you aren’t independent in the sense of being an independent business, but that doesn’t necessarily come with the same stringent demands as industry funding. There’s also contest winnings and prizes to consider, which may be provided in part through established publishers (although again with more of a hands-off approach).

      But fine—it’s great to see how quickly angry internet men just lose their shit at even the most remote possibility that anyone is judging their taste in games.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      There are a lot of cases of ambiguity between indie and mainstream titles that have nothing to do with ‘hipster elitism.’ [...]—it’s great to see how quickly angry internet men just lose their shit at even the most remote possibility that anyone is judging their taste in games.

      This is true. But the phrase “generic mainstream games” is pretty clearly a value judgement, one way or another.

      If they had meant to define things in the context of purely economic semantics, they could have done so. But he chose a rather loaded cliche, used when one is trying to cultivate an air of elitism.

    • Urthman says:

      Valve is an indie game developer in all the ways that matter to me.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m with TillEulenspiegel on this.

      It’s funny, but almost all the comments above reek of counter-elitism, a sort of kneejerk response, with people parroting one another about how their elitism is better than another person’s. It isn’t about who isn’t hipster, it’s about who’s the most hipster of them all. And that’s kind of sad.

      They just want to provide a place which will highlight people who haven’t got massive budgets to promoting advertising for themselves. I don’t see why that’s bad. In fact, I’m fascinated by the idea. And frankly? If I didn’t browse weird corners of the Internet, I’d completely miss out on some gems. For example: RPS hasn’t covered Legend of Fae, and that’s a lovely little game, it truly is. CreaVures has only had a scant, snark mention in a headline and BEEP hasn’t even had that. And it took a while before RPS mentioned Drawn – Dark Flight. (This was thanks to John, whose gaming tastes I always approve of even when I disagree with him.)

      But can you at least see what I’m getting at, here? Their intention is obvious. It’s like, hey, there are these little games out there, so many of them, which barely get any attention, and don’t have much money to change that, and we want to show you them. They’re a business, obviously, they’re just in it to make money out of a niche audience of course. But their approach is better than many others I’ve seen, and they clearly care about what they’re doing.

      Hell, depending on their stance regarding DRM, they may even end up being the indie version of GoG. Should we be slamming GoG for not allowing all recent games on there? Isn’t the presence of The Witcher 2 on GoG pure hypocrisy? Should we be pissing on about how GoG defines ‘old’ or ‘good’? Why should GoG be excluded from this discussion when IndieCity are at the forefront of it? IndieCity, like GoG, have just chosen to back a particular market. And what, in hell’s name, is wrong with that?

      But yeah, it’s funny when hipsters decry other hipsters in the most hypocritical way possible. It’s funny… and really kind of sad. It’s a laugh or cry thing.

    • Alextended says:

      But Legend of Fae is on Steam, so I don’t think IndieCity wants it…

      I don’t think Steam counts as an obscure corner of the net either…

      Or TIGS or Independent Gaming. How is a new site like IndieCity going to be less obscure than these?

      But hey, keep calling people hipsters instead of writing any kind of compelling argument.

    • zeroskill says:

      Wot Urthman said.

  3. Eclipse says:

    looks promising, we’ll see if they can build a community around this thing

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, I have high hopes for this, too. (And I love their icon. It amuses me for reasons I cannot entirely discern.)

      If this ends up with a GoG-like community, I will be very happy.

  4. aircool says:

    I wonder if they close your account if you haven’t logged in for over 24 months?

    • BarneyL says:

      I wonder if they can cancel it immediately like Steam do?
      There’s no way of telling, you can’t read the Indie CIty terms and conditions until you’ve registered and agreed to them.

    • Gnoupi says:

      The terms contain the usual paragraph:

      TERMINATION
      Without limiting to any other rights it may have IndieCity may remove, restrict, cancel or suspend access to and use of the Service and any part of it, if it considers (in its sole discretion) that you have breached any of these Terms or if it is reasonable to do so.

      The usual which apparently says that they can terminate their service to you any time they want, without telling you why.

      These are the terms for the beta stage of the service, though, so it may change later.

  5. ShadowBlade says:

    Hmm.. This is interesting. We’ll have to keep an eye on it :)

  6. Premium User Badge

    phlebas says:

    Hmm. They’re pushing an indie ethos and the first thing they do is to offer developers incentives to integrate with a proprietary wrapper? That sounds a little odd.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      hm. Steam achievements and their integration in these recent treasure hunts are certainly some of the things that make steam so appealing, so trying to achieve something similar is a logical step.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I skeptically assume that they plan to make that 10% back from advertising-esque behaviour, not unlike how some freeware wants to “offer” you a browser toolbar by default.

    • Kefren says:

      Funnily, the idea of the achievements thing being built into some games puts me off quite a bit.

    • Wulf says:

      And what’s to stop a clever developer offering wrapper and wrapperless versions at different prices?

  7. DSR says:

    Ok, another one… Whats wrong with Desura?
    http://www.desura.com/

    Seriously.
    You people need to stop giving birth to multitudes of handicapped mutant halfbreed distibution services.

    Steam exists. Desura was made. Impulse is dead but the Origin in here to stay no matter how hard you twist your nipples in disbelief.

    I rest my case, gentlemen.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Impulse is not really dead yet, to be fair. And Origin is not really indie friendly, it’s a distribution for EA games.

      But I agree that Desura already exists with this exact purpose, and it does a correct job at it, so why duplicating again the idea? I mean, aside from the obvious “slice of the cake” money argument. The slice is quite thin already, in my opinion. Steam takes the most of the market, including for indies, so their concurrent here would be mostly… Desura? Yeah, that will work well for everyone.

    • Tuan says:

      @DSR
      Just to to Desura’s website. When you click on “Popular Games” the ones that show up first are:

      Half-Life 2
      Diablo 2
      GTA: San Adreas
      Half-Life
      Battlefield 2

      You really don’t see the difference between Desura and IndyCity? Try re-opening your case.

    • Gnoupi says:

      @Tuan – Yeah, that’s indeed one thing wrong with Desura, they don’t separate indie and mods from their game lists, which leads to the most modded games being on top of the list. Silly.

    • Joe Duck says:

      @Tuan:
      And why is that bad? I do not get it.

    • Alextended says:

      Desura doesn’t sell those games, but Desura also supports mods, hence the popularity of said modable games on it. Just like the top stuff on gog.com are the freebies. I suppose Desura does have to improve visibility of the games they sell in some ways but having a slightly improved interface, a feature which can happen to Desura or any other website/service on a whim, is hardly compelling. And of course the two other tabs are all indie games, you missed that.

    • Gunde says:

      @Alextended

      That’s one of the interesting parts of IndieCity, if they can pull off having a recommendation engine that works well the “featured” games would be ones that appeal to each and every user. So that and a marketplace that offers space and exposure to games that otherwise wouldn’t get it will separate it from Desura.

      But this is still all speculative, and we’ll have to wait and see what happens with it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      Maybe this service will compel Desura to improve their interface? I think it’s entirely bizarre they list games they don’t sell on the front page of their game store.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Sent mail to the contact at Desura about removing the shortcuts to other games on the “popular games” tab, and I got this answer:

      “Totally agree I will make a change tonight.”

      So I guess there will be an improvement on the interface!

    • Vagrant says:

      Another reason is due to better marketing? I’ve never heard of Desura until now, I’ve heard quite a bit about IndieCity. And Steam, while supporting indie games, can be quite difficult to get approval to sell your indie game..

    • Wulf says:

      Statement: Desura exists, yes.
      Question: Is competition bad?
      Comparison: Steam seems to be making other digital distributors up their game and improve.
      Conclusion: Competition is good, why support a Desura monopoly if you don’t support a Steam one?

    • Alextended says:

      You have a habit of making up shit Wulf. I don’t buy from Desura, I buy directly from the devs. I won’t buy from IndieCity, I’ll buy directly from the devs. It’s really not hard or unsafe as they want to claim and I don’t see how a new portal can become more mainstream than indie focused coverage websites. Especially when they’re so against anything “mainstream”, lol.

      Anyway, when you start something like Desura you sort of should tell me why you’re worthwhile. I don’t feel IndieCity did that, hence my posts. The same if someone starts a new non-indie DD service, people will want to know why they’d chose that over Steam, gog, gg and the like. It’s essentially asking “how is it competitive?”.

      Vagrant, you’re weird, Desura has at the very least been mentioned in pretty much every gaming outlet, mainstream or not. Everyone knows moddb, and moddb made a fuss when they launched it. It’s known, though there’s always room for improvement. If people feel like using it or just buying from the usual places or the devs themselves is another matter. That you didn’t know of it doesn’t mean shit really.

  8. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    huh, if you register, you still need an invite to actually get in. kind of stupid, really should be the other way around.

  9. Joe Duck says:

    It was a pity you did not ask what is the difference between this and Desura.

  10. dadioflex says:

    “No mainstream allowed”

    Well, okay, seeya! Best of luck.

    • rayne117 says:

      I have found a new breed of hipster: The Anti-Hipster Hipster.
      Man the harpoons, boys.

    • Wulf says:

      I’ve been noticing this for a long time, it grates on my nerves, actually.

      “I’m too cool fo yo casual shit, boy.”

      Mainstream gamers cannot be hipsters? Oh yes they bloody well can. This comments thread proves it.

      It’s funny really. Mac owners are considered hipster elitists but none of the Mac owners sport a tenth of the superiority pouring off of some of the people in this thread.

      It’s funny, that. It’s like calling hipster is all just projection.

  11. Dawngreeter says:

    I thought the question of indie and big publisher was money? Like, if making your game cost you more than 30k United Statesian Money Units you’re not indie.

  12. rustybroomhandle says:

    Adding a chime to the Desura tune here.

    Desura is already doing this and has an established community, and will soon be supporting Linux, my most used desktop operating system.

    You can’t really separate mainstream and indie. Minecraft is an indie game from an indie developer, but everybody and their brother Sally know it, and it has sold a few million copies already.

    Technically, Valve is indie also, no?

  13. CMaster says:

    @Dawngreeter

    Taking the most literal definition of the word “independent”, then yes it’s about the money, but not how much.

    Rather, the question is “where is the money from?”
    So, if you haven’t taken any publisher or similar organisation that has control over the process’s money, then you’re making an independent game. So Minecraft, The Path and Half Life 2 are all indie games. However, Privates or Torchlight 2 aren’t. It gets a little more complicated – if you’ve taken money from investors who expect a return, but are neither monolithic nor having any impact on the process, is that still independent?

    • Gnarf says:

      I like that. That pretty much excludes any game that integrates with the IndieCity wrapper, right? Because that’s like some other dudes paying them money for making the game like so. Like IndieCity is basically this publisher dude who’s like “yeah, great stuff, those are some tight graphics, and how about if you mechanic a little achievements into the gameplays?”

  14. Tony M says:

    How do you decide if its indie? “Well we ask a large group of people if they think its indie”. Anyone else find that strange? No? Maybe I’m just a rebel. Well that is, I’m a rebel if you guys all agree I can be a rebel. I wouldn’t want to rebel without approval from the majority.*

    *PS before anyone vents, this isn’t a serious criticism of the service. I wish IndieCity the best of luck.

  15. Merus says:

    Hey guys has anyone mentioned Desura?

    • Dr I am a Doctor says:

      Oh man I just wanted to mention it!
      I’ll also add Bob’s nD to the list of indie sharing projects

    • Bodminzer says:

      Haha yes. Bobs nd. A real thing that will definitely exist. Yessir.

  16. sexyresults says:

    I think they’ll find a great niche with this service.

    • Gnarf says:

      I think I’m going to need a working sarcasm detector for this.

  17. Mirqy says:

    “75% or 85% revenue share to developers.” My guess is, no other platform is as up front about their cut, and that no other platform is as generous to developers. If that’s so, I can see why this would be hugely valuable to the Indie scene and worth supporting.

    Also, I’m struggling to think of anything duller than an argument about what’s indie and what’s not so…let’s not?

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      Well, 75/85% of nob all sales is still 75/85% of nob all sales (and the work required for the extra 10% may/may not turn out to be worth the effort, who knows?) and it’s hardly unknown what the going rates generally tend to gravitate around for percentages so… yeah, not *necessarily* as big a sell as it seems. Obviously if it’s a runaway soaring success then any percentages in the devs favour are supergood percentages.

      So aye, on the one hand, IndieCity *could* become a sort of IndieSpotify or something depending on the take up/usefulness of the recommendation engine. Or it could become just another portal to sell your wares on alongside a thousand others.

      There’s quite a few things I’m unsure about and they’re nothing that can be answered really until launch so I’m just gonna hang fire and see how this one goes before making a judgement either way.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      We can have an argument about what’s duller, maybe?

    • Mirqy says:

      Dawn – hmm…cottage cheese? The quarterly financial reports of a Japanese chemical company? I’m open to suggestions.

      RobF – fair enough, may be generally known what the percentages are, but not to me.

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      Sorry if that was unreasonably abrupt and presumptuous, bit of a hit and run post there.

      Yeah, unless we’re talking retail or olde-school casual portals then you’re generally getting a % not too far off from Indie City’s lower tier there.

  18. Dana says:

    Yeah, but I get all my indie games from Steam….

  19. Mr. ThreEye says:

    From their site:

    “The developer area will have a number of helpful documents such as ‘Working with the Press’ by Jim Rossignol from RockPaperShotgun.com, ‘Game Rating Advice’ by Alex Chapman from Sheridans and ‘Tax Advice’ by Wayne Neale from GrantThornton.”

    What, exactly, is the extent of your involvment in this site Mr. Rossignol and how come you do not disclose it in the above interview?

    • Dana says:

      Uh oh, conspiracy theory

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      Just a guess here but as a member of the press writing an article to help indie devs deal with the press? Judging by y’know, a lawyer writing something about law and a tax guy writing something about tax.

      Wild, I know.

    • Mr. ThreEye says:

      Maybe I expressed it a bit harsh, but I still think he could’ve at least mentioned it, you know?

    • BeamSplashX says:

      “To discover the truth behind this conspiracy, you must defeat me, Jon Romero.”

  20. MonkeesLover1963 says:

    It will only allow indie games with a price tag right? Aren’t a lot of the best indie games (the ones I think he’s talking about) free?

  21. Calabi says:

    I’m not liking the sound of this to be honest. With the answer to the first question especially. A rating system, the most sales, the most popular. Good way to just end up with a bunch of entrenched games.

    Is it a shop or a chart system. Theres no democtratization with this. Theirs little incentive for them, to sell new games. All it needs is a few good ones and they are set up at least for a while.

    The rating system some subjective, easily exploited system decides whether people buy your game or not.

    I’d prefer if proper business people were doing this rather than some people on an idealised trip.

  22. drlemon says:

    Ok. In my opinion, Indie is a game that is published by the developers. Valve is indie, in this case. But that will most likely be too mainstream for them. Also, by not allowing free games, this may fall victim to the same fate as the XBLA indie store. The thing is, we won’t go looking here for amazing graphics or sound design. we want something cheap and hopefully innovative.

  23. allthingslive says:

    Looks like an innocent attempt at getting indie games noticed and providing an easy to track place for games. I’m certainly signing – up, and whether it crashes or becomes a giant, recognizable game distributor like Steam or Gamersgate, I’ll stick with it. I’m learning to program right now too, so maybe if I get good enough I can make a little game on my spare time and make a few bucks through their system.

  24. Veracity says:

    we just want the obvious generic mainstream games to be kept out

    Jesus Christ [/Edward Woodward]. I’m going to hazard that won’t be difficult.

    I have far more games than I ever get around to playing and there’s more turning up all the time, so they’re claiming to solve a problem I really don’t have. I certainly don’t see the use to consumers (ie me, because obviously everyone’s the same as me) of yet another DD site, especially not one with its own Steamworks knock-off. Maybe it is of use to developers who can’t get through Valve’s arcane approval process, though, if the cut’s worth removing the hassle of just selling direct and e-mailing RPS and TIGSource. Also unsure how well asking the internet which games are good is likely to work out – isn’t that how XBLIG doesn’t work? Maybe they’ll make it more robust.

    Has anyone ever had anything rejected by Gamersgate? Hard to imagine what, looking at the size of its catalogue.

  25. Jambe says:

    Who are these “community approvers” that Chris Swam spoke of, and how do they gain such status?

  26. Gadriel says:

    I’m interested in everything about this except for their method of determining a game’s suitability for their service. I’m sorry, but getting a panel of users to judge whether or not a game is “indie” enough is retarded.

    I like the idea of a centralised distribution platform for small-time developers with little to no advertising/publishing budgets. I don’t like the idea of applying some kind of vague pretentious entry criteria to it. It would be pretty easy to weed out the independently-developed but well-funded titles that don’t need a platform like this. They’re really not hard to spot. In fact, the visibility of those titles is what generally defines them.

  27. DOLBYdigital says:

    I think this is a great idea and I really like the Underground sub site. I have to check out Desura again and see if that is similar or not… I always associated Desura with mods but it may also support Indie games, its been awhile since I booted it up :)

    Either way, more indie exposure is fantastic!! In my opinion, indies and modding are the only innovative and creative developers out there… they are the only ones willing to take risks…

  28. eejit says:

    What are you guys on?

    I thought indie was “independent”, as in no publisher? They usually have small teams and little budget, but isn’t that what it means? Why are we all acting like its a cult and making 101 definitions for the word?

    I am going to make a cult called rich, and you dont have to have money to join you gotta stand on your head for 5 minutes, but thats up for interpretation as you may only have to stand on your feet for 2 minutes or 3 minutes on a pole.

  29. Jabberwocky says:

    I think there’s a few valid interpretations of indie:
    - developer with no publisher
    - developer who is not working with any external funding
    - developer with a negligible budget
    - small developer making innovative games
    - not part of the established industry big name players like EA/Nintendo/Ubisoft/Vivendi/Sony
    - bound by genre; quirky 2D sidescrollers are totally indie, WW2 FPS’s totally aren’t.

    So “indie” can mean some combination of a business model, game innovation, and team size, depending on who you talk to. There has been plenty of “are they indie enough?” controversy in the independent games festival, so obviously peoples opinions vary.

    Now if you agree that indie is a hazy concept, then the idea of a IndieCity asking their customers who counts as indie seems reasonable. The practical result is that IndieCity will end up supporting games that the majority of their customers want to see on the site. Plus, IndieCity is giving their customers a voice that will steer the direction of the service. That’s a great way to get people involved, and have them devoted to the service. Having a bunch of controversial discussions on your forums about each new, “potentially indie” game can’t hurt to drive traffic to the site either.