This is an idea that I've seen the gaming media push quite a bit recently. That next-gen could very well be won or lost depending on indie support, since true exclusives are fewer and farther between. This type of discussion usually revolves around Sony, since they seem to be expending quite a bit of energy to sign all of the promising indie games that they can. I dunno. Anything's possible, I guess. Minecraft was an indie game.
But I don't really see it happening. I think that the first-party releases and even timed exclusives will still decide the battle. I mean, regardless of their potential console exclusivity, most of these games will still come out on PC, right? Where indie games kind of belong? (Not that they shouldn't be on consoles.) And few of them will really require exceptional hardware, right? So how much do they really have to do with "next-gen"? On the other hand, more games are more games. And, like I said, breakout success is always possible.
That's my take, I guess. What do you guys think?
Also, how do you feel about indie games, in general? Do you play them often? More than the mainstream stuff? Do you appreciate their artistic ambition? Their lack of filtration?
For one thing, I think it is rediculous for any one company to try to "win" a battle. At the end of the day it is about making money right? As far as I know PS3/360 sold virtually the same amount of units, or PS3 is slightly ahead. With that said, the 360 is reported to have a higher attach rate, giving MS higher profits. Even if that wasn't the case, the fact that they lost so much money in hopes of gaining market share was a high risk gamble that I'm not sure if it paid off at the end. (I guess it must have because they are still around)
Anyway, I do think that Sony, initially, and now Microsoft as well as Nintendo are making it easier for independent devs to make games and self publish on their consoles. Hopefully this will be the end of MS charging $30k to patch a game. Everybody wins, consumers get better, fresher experiences (let's be honest, most companies are going to keep regurgitating the same few franchises with only a few new titles), platform holders maintain interest in their respective consoles and of course make money along with the developer who gets to share their creation with as many people as possible.
Now that I think about it that didn't answer the question. I guess if every indy title is available everywhere it won't really sway anything any way. However I doubt one or two indy games will make people rush out and buy any of the big three's offerings, even if it is something like Minecraft. They would have to get a constant stream of exclusives and there is little incentive for devs to do so. The only way I see this happening is if first party devs put out their own "indy" titles.
As for the second question. A good game is a good game is a good game, indy or not. I will agree that big corporations by and large have been guilty of recycling the same material time and time again. Even Nintendo has been whoring out Mario platformers at an alarming rate (and it shows, the platfomers, while polished, like innovation) and let's not talk about your Call of Duty or average clone of you care to name. Now it is up to the independent developers to crank out something innovative and unique, unmarred by pressure from investors to turn a profit.
It's possible, but it requires the belief that the next Minecrafts and Angry Birds will come from the console realm - and that they'll remain exclusive. Personally, I suspect that's a stretch. There will be a few examples of this, but enough to call it "the" battleground? I'll believe that when I see it. These new consoles are probably going to traffic in the usual - big graphic carnival shows in established genres. It'll be Sony's first party product vs. Microsoft's.
And Nintendo's, of course.
As for my own view of indie games, it's a sort of "eat your vegetables" thing for me. Obviously there are great indie games out there, and I respect their contributions to gaming. And I'll always support plucky young hopefuls chasing their dreams. But wading through the dross to find the diamonds requires a level of commitment to the indie scene I just don't have. I'm glad the scene exists, but I'm never going to be hyper involved in it. I'll stick with Nintendo.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not particularly interested in who makes the games I play. I've wasted enough of my life learning the names of musicians without needing to do that sort of thing with game developers, too. And, as you see in every other form of media, today's Indie Darling is tomorrow's Overrated Mainstream Garbage. I'm definitely not interested in watching a bunch of angry intellectuals dance the Street Cred Waltz in yet another genre of media. Just give me a game I like and I'll give you my money. Simple proposal.
I'm really confused by this whole issue. I know PS4 preorders are higher, but I'm still expecting everyone to go out and buy Xbox One's because that's where the big shooter install base will be (CoD/Battlefield/Titanfall) and because, well it's Microsoft ®.
I applaud Sony for rocking the indie support, it's going to be great, but I don't think it's going to effect the fact that Microsoft is going to be dominate again, just like no matter how awesome other operating systems are people still buy Windows, almost unthinkingly, because they don't realize other alternative exist and they were somehow convinced a long time ago that Windows and Word and Direct X and anything Microsoft is automatically the best and that's the thing they need to have.
To millions and millions of casual American gamers Xbox means video games, and video games means Xbox, Sony and Nintendo don't exist. Just like Windows means PC and OSX or Linux doesn't exist. It's decided.