Ken's Design & Development Notes

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Posts Tagged ‘MineCraft

What is an Indie Game?

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During lunch today, I read an IGM article asking if MineCraft was still an indie game.  Apparently there is some internal angst about whether they should continue to cover this game.  Some people think MineCraft is too big and/or has made too much money to continue to be classed as an indie game.

I think that’s hogwash.

First of all Mojang employs only 16 people.  That’s all!  This is a small company.  In comparison, I work for a company that employs 10,000+.  Your local grocer probably employs more than 16 people!  OK, OK, most XBLIG indies are made by 1, 2 or even a few people, but since MineCraft is now available on multiple platforms, just how many people can they really afford per platform?  Not 16.

Second, they don’t make “too much money.”  How was that ever a qualifier of an indie game?  Is CastleminerZ no longer indie?  What about The Impossible Game?  C’mon, if we’re at all honest, most of us would love to publish a game that sells millions of copies.

Third, IGM took a poll, and so far, 73% of the readers think that MineCraft is still indie.   We’ll see how the poll ends, but for now it’s pretty clear to me that MineCraft is, and always will be, indie.  Yes, a big, successful, money-making indie game, but an indie game nonetheless.

Maybe Mojang will one day no longer be an indie studio, and maybe if MineCraft 2 ever comes into being it won’t be very indie-like, but for now, I’m sure Mojang can continue to be innovative and “independent” of the corporate influences that can stifle agility and innovation in larger companies.

UPDATE: As of 8/4 (Saturday morning) The IGM poll is up to 580 votes, and 76% of the readers think MineCraft is still indie.

Written by kenccone

July 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm