Is Indie Game Development Dead?

Paulo Cristo
5 min readOct 1, 2019

The short answer is no, but have no doubts; it is suffering from a terrible and chronic disease, and eventually we can say that it is in fact slowly dying…

The times when a solo indie game developer could easily make it on his own are long gone. These days it is very common to see larger companies, with COOs, CEOs, CTOs, dozens of developers, artists, etc… associating themselves with the label “indie” just because it is (still is) trendy, while back in the old days the “indie” word, most of the times, would be a synonym for a solo game developer behind the title. Ok, maybe these don’t ́t have an external publisher (because they don’t ́t need one) but still, is a bit erroneous in my opinion. So even the true meaning of the “indie” terms are changing.

But at the end, the real question might actually depend on the expectations of any independent game developer “wannabe”. So, it is not exactly about knowing if indie game development is dying or not, but more about knowing if it is still worth to become an independent game developer. And also here the short answer would be indubitably; No! It is not! Not to make a living for sure.

If your expecting to live entirely from it or have some sort of sustainable income from it, my advice is “give up!”, this will not be your “big escape”. You will probably starve to death before you can achieve anything. On the other hand if you ́re willing to do this only as a hobby, just for fun, or just because you want to show off your work to the world, then go ahead and do it.

There are many reasons why nowadays it doesn’t pay off to live from game development alone. Sure there are a handful of successful cases, but remember; for each developer that makes a hit, there are a few thousand that failed completely in the darkness, in the exact same time frame. Among others, two main factors arise; money and marketing.

The game industry has become the biggest industry in the world. The business of games generates more money than the music or the movies industry, and somehow it turned into the new “gold rush”. So, as you would expect, all the big sharks are there now, and many companies that were never into gaming, now want a piece of the cake too. The difference between them and the solo developer who works alone at home is huge and can expressed…

Paulo Cristo

IT problem solver (aka; Software Engineer), Gym addict and Hobbyist Writer. Blockchain & Web3 believer. Talks about #remotework #itrecruitment #web3 #gamedev