Smaller Developers Could Be the Future of PC Gaming
We’re getting ready for one of the biggest trade fairs in the gaming industry, and we’re bracing ourselves for a lot of fresh news to come down the pipe. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, is around the corner (June 13-15) and will tell us a lot about the future of gaming over the next year or so. In particular, the PC event will showcase many of the most anticipated titles for PC gamers while also hinting at major trends for the future of the industry.
This is the third year PC Gamer has had a slot at the conference where it can show off the best that the PC gaming community has to offer. This year’s event should feature some of the most anticipated games for PCs with everything from resuscitated classic franchises to exciting new IPs. There are a number of high-profile, big-budget games in the works ranging from free-to-play shooters to epic strategy games. One game that people are looking forward to seeing more of is from the small development studio Odd Tales. The game, The Last Night, is a pixel-art action adventure title that calls to mind the LucasArts offerings of the early ’90s combined with the cyberpunk aesthetic of Blade Runner. The title will be released by Raw Fury Games, a publisher known for its commitment to independent game creators.
It goes to show that it isn’t just blockbuster titles making a splash because indie developers are also changing the way PC owners get their game on. This is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the increasing availability and intuitiveness of development tools have helped to democratize the world of game-making. That means that as the market keeps on growing, so too do the opportunities for smaller devs to get in on the action. The rise of indie studios was predicted to be one of the trends that would change the future of the industry, and it’s looking like they were right. Crowdfunding has opened entirely new ways for developers to find investors for their projects without having to rely on larger corporations. A great example can be seen with the upcoming BattleTech game from Harebrained Schemes that got things started with a nearly $3 million Kickstarter.
One area that’s seeing a great deal of growth for more niche developers is the online gaming market. The industry has experienced a tremendous amount of success in the past several years, and it’s poised to get even better as technology improves. The software has gotten so impressive that many slots are now referred to as immersive ‘quasi video games’, and the divide between them and more traditional PC games continues to shrink. Browser-based games keep on pushing the envelope with their graphics, and bonus mini-games are adding new gameplay features to otherwise classic casino offerings. Because so many of these types of games are relatively simple, they present a great opportunity for smaller developers to make money on more basic titles. This could, in turn, provide the wherewithal to make the more complex games that they really want to develop.
With no shortage of great ideas, and a playing field that levels by the day, indie developers represent a vital part of the gaming industry. Some of the hottest games coming from crowdfunding and indie studios, proving we’ve come a long way from relying on AAA titles in order to get our fix. It’s an exciting time to be a PC gamer, and it looks like it’s going to keep getting better.