NOTE: I really am looking for some feedback on this one, and while I'd never advise skipping an article before commenting, if you want to answer straight away to the question in the title, with a simple explanation, I'll take it. Go.
Indie games are becoming a strong trend in the industry, starting more as a point of contention, and debate a few years ago with games like The Path. Soon indie games started to grow in number and diversity, finding their own trendy little niche amongst the collective gaming brain with games like Braid and Flower.
While a lot of people may have downloaded console indie titles, it strikes me that there are a lot, and I mean a lot of games on PC, and iPhone that are wonderfully made games, or at the least clever little time eaters that are worth the comparatively low prices they're asking for. And you know what? Most people have never bought one, and a lot of people who consider themselves avid gamers are largely unaware of this community and section of the industry that is trying, and in many cases succeeding, at making small, entertaining games, and being profitable.
My question simple: have you ever purchased an independent video game that was not bought off of Xbox Live Marketplace, the Playstation Store, or the Wiiware Shop. And you know what? Just for kicks, let's exclude iPhone/iPod Touch games as well.
That narrows it down considerably; basically, to just independent PC games. There's a lot of them out there, many of them are actually exceptional, available for low prices (especially when compared to sixty, fifty, and forty dollar titles in the mainstream console market), and are well supported with updates and DLC.
What sparked the question?
Basically, this post by Chris Park of Arcen Games, an indie developer who recently made a nifty puzzle game that I really enjoyed, maybe more than I've ever enjoyed any puzzle game. Sadly, Arcen is going through some rough financial times, like many gaming companies, and they're actually in danger of having to shut down.
I know it's a reality that this happens, and game companies go out of business all the time, especially small ones - but some part of me just doesn't want to accept that high quality content isn't selling. Nowadays, crap sells - and I don't understand why. Tidalis, the aforementioned puzzle game from Arcen, is a damn good game, I mean really good, and this from a guy who traditionally has not been a PC gamer, and not enjoyed puzzle games! AI Wars, another game from Arcen, has gotten universally good reviews (as did Tidalis).
I remember a few years ago having to wrap my head around the idea that a publisher wouldn't green light a sequel for Psychonauts or Beyond Good and Evil because sales weren't good enough, even though those games both had critical acclaim through the roof. That seems normal now, but have we really gotten to the point where we're so over-saturated and bombarded with titles that good games are selling so poorly it could put their developers out of business?
Worse, were we already at that point before and I just didn't notice?
I need answers, and I think it's a question worth posing, so here it is. Hit the comment box, I'm really looking for feedback on this one.