“Independent video game development is the process of creating indie games; these are video games created by small teams and usually without significant financial support of a video game publisher or other outside source. These games may take years to be built from the ground up or can be completed in a matter of days or even hours depending on complexity, participants, and design goal.
Driven by digital distribution, the concept of independent video game development has spawned an “indie” movement.The increase in popularity of independent games has allowed increased distribution on popular gaming platforms such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Steam, and Nintendo Eshop.”
“Video game development is the process of creating a video game. Development is undertaken by a game developer, which may range from a single person to a large business. Traditional commercial PC and console games are normally funded by a publisher and take several years to develop. Indie games can take less time and can be produced cheaply by individuals and small developers. The indie game industry has seen a rise in recent years with the growth of new online distribution systems and the mobile game market.
The first video games were developed in the 1950s, but required mainframe computers and were not available to the general public. Commercial game development began in the 1970s with the advent of first generation video game consoles and home computers. Due to low costs and low capabilities of computers, a lone programmer could develop a full game. However, approaching the 21st century, ever-increasing computer processing power and heightened consumer expectations made it difficult for a single developer to produce a mainstream console or PC game. The average price of producing a video game slowly rose from US$1–4 million in 2000 to over $5 million in 2006, then to over $20 million by 2010. However, mobile, web-based and indie games can cost much less.
Mainstream PC and console games are generally developed in phases. First, in pre-production, pitches, prototypes, and game design documents are written. If the idea is approved and the developer receives funding, a full-scale development begins. This usually involves a 20–100 person team of various responsibilities, such as designers, artists, programmers, testers, etc. The games go through development, alpha, and beta stages until finally being released. Modern games are advertised, marketed, and showcased at trade show demos. Even so, many games do not turn a profit.
Mobile games are, in general, much quicker to develop than the mainstream PC and console games. Usually mobile games are published as early as possible, often after five months of development, in order to see how they perform. Consequently, mobile games can still be developed by a lone developer. However, the largest game studios can have up to 100 people working for a single project.”