The next generation of innovative video game makers will be kids in bedrooms creating hit blockbusters like teens used to write music, according to an Xbox chief.
Agostino Simonetta, the European region lead for the indie ID@Xbox self-publishing platform, believes we are about to hit a golden generation of leftfield developers, one-man-bands in some cases, who will help to shape the future of the video games industry.
He reckons opening up game development to the masses, allowing anyone to build a top game with easy-to-use tools like the Unity engine, means we’ll now have an army of talented kids creating classic games akin to teenagers writing hit songs in their bedrooms.
It comes as ID@Xbox celebrates 800 indie-made games, which have made $1billion in revenue from buying gamers through their Xbox One consoles. And it’s likely we’ll see even more next month during Microsoft’s E3 2018 Press conference.
Simonetta said: “We like to call them independent games.
“‘Indie’ as a term was very useful at a specific time and place, but I think now it also has some negative connotations sometimes. ‘Independent developers’ gives a better picture of what those guys are.
“I think the role they play, call them what you like, is the same role they always play. They come from leftfield. They don’t respond to shareholders. They’re not afraid to innovate. So a lot of the breakthrough changes in the industry, in games or the monetisation models come from independent developers.”
Simonetta added to MCV:
“They have been in the forefront of the free-to-play model. Xbox Game Preview, or Early Access on Steam: independent developers have opened the door and sometimes the bigger players, or what used to be called bigger players, learn and adapt some of the learning into a triple-A or retail model.
“If you need to be commercially successful because you’re investing a lot of money and you really believe in your project, then you need to think seriously about your PR and marketing and finding investors.
“If your success is critical success, maybe you don’t care, maybe you’re doing it in your spare time.
“For some people it might be absolutely fine to do a thousand downloads if they always wanted to create that experience.
“Look at how many people write music or books, their success is actually printing copies of their books for their family. We are creative animals.
“The moment that the barriers for digital distribution, creation of content – Unity and GameMaker and Unreal – became very accessible and free, as creative animals, we wanted to create interactive experiences.
“Same as we write music or write poems or books.
“That’s the way we live now. People can write a book or they can create a game.
“And as a lot of people are happy writing a book that only the family will read, maybe some developers will be happy to just do that.”
ID@Xbox, where game makers self-publish their titles, has nearly 800 games launching from 477 partners.
That’s up 200 games on the previous year. Last year Xbox announced they broke $1bn of revenue.