With far less overhead when compared to developing a retail release, we're seeing more developers take chances and try something new without being afraid of losing large sums of money if the games fail to live up to sales expectations.
Ron Carmel, co-creator of the hit WiiWare title World of Goo, recently addressed a group of indie developers at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, TX and he had some interesting things to say regarding the advantages the smaller indie developers have in common when it comes to creating new titles for the current crop of digital download services like Nintendo's WiiWare and DSiWare.
Small size is one factor, he says. "Another thing is an emphasis on design over finance." Larger companies have a top-down direction, looking at when a game needs to ship, and therefore what features to invest in. With an indie studio, says Carmel, there’s the need to create a good game, which results in the typically-indie question: "When’s the latest we can ship?"
He goes on to talk about how successful 2008 was for these small developers and also mentions the new trend of publishers themselves dipping their toes into the indie market by creating in-house indie development groups of their own.
With the current recession going on, it's likely for consumers to focus more of their attention and money on these downloadable titles due to their inexpensive price tag and wide availability.
It's often speculated that we're not too far away from having all of the games we play be available as digital downloads, which will greatly reduce production costs to not only the developers and publishers, but to consumers as well. We're all for that!