People like to praise indie gaming and how much easier it is to produce games than before. At first I though this was cool, and as somebody who likes creating video game content and even has hopes of becoming an actual indie dev this made me exited.
But the more and more I think about it, I can’t help but feel that there are going to be massive downsides to the indie gaming revolution. It’s exactly because making games is becoming so cheap that more and more people are able to make games, and not just crap games but actually good ones. The laws of supply and demand state that as the amount of something increases vs the demand for it prices go down. And I fear that exactly this will happen in the future.
“But wait! Games aren’t cheap to make! The big companies spend hundreds of millions on development!” you will probably say. Yes, but here’s the thing:
A huge portion of that cost goes into marketing and not development.
As technology becomes more advanced more and more things become possible to do easier than before. Already we have programs like substance designer that makes it possible to easily create high quality textures with only minimal art talent, where as in the past this wasn’t the case. In the future the same thing will happen to other aspects of development which will massively lower the time, cost and talent needed to create content. And I mean actually GOOD content, mind you. You can trick yourself into thinking that large amounts of talent will always be needed and that good artists will never stop being needed, but this is just wishful thinking. Technology will at some point lower the skill ceiling to a low enough of a level that you will no longer need to be a pro to create decent or even good content.
You can debate how long it will take, but at some point the costs of game development will become so low that the only companies that have a chance of standing out will be the ones with the huge marketing budgets. There will exist such a huge oversupply that the price of games will plummet to sub-5$ and it will become almost impossible for anybody to make any real money of their game at all unless they have a huge marketing budget. Video games in other words, will become like beer: Cheap to produce and sell, but profitable if marketed well and sold in huge amounts.
This is the future of the games industry. 99.9% of indie devs are screwed.
RIP for profit indie development.
Yea I know this sounds very pessimistic but this simply sounds like the most likely outcome. Not that this will stop me from making content or anything, but I think any wannabe indie dev might consider having a plan B if his dreams don’t come true