The Escapist has an interesting article up on mainstream industry types who went indie — it delves into the reasoning behind a move, as well as the challenges and the positive aspects of moving from big studios to independent development. People making the transition have had to unlearn 'mainstream' habits or pick up new skills (like learning the tools of the PR trade) — and even with the plethora of portals and distribution options, the 'independent' distribution channels are still fraught with pitfalls, from distribution limitations to piracy:
Steve Taylor's company, Wahoo Studios, alternates between contracting for publishers and producing self-published titles through their indie label, NinjaBee. He notes that working through online distribution portals is not much different from working with traditional publishers. "Portals and other distributions services impose their own rules and limitations. Supposedly indie-friendly distribution options like Steam and Instant Action still have subjective gatekeepers".
He maintains that the stark reality of remaining solvent often overshadows the dream of creative freedom. "If you want your game to make money, you have to consider what will sell, and this means adapting your pure creative vision to match the real world. Besides, do you really have the resources to achieve your ultimate creative vision? "
These fledgling entrepreneurs have also discovered their rebel status doesn't make them immune to piracy. With most indies struggling to make ends meet, they feel its impact directly in their own wallets. "Since we are a small developer that has a hard time getting attention, you would think we would have very little piracy", says Peeler. "Unfortunately, that's not the case at all. It's depressing how many sites are pirating Depths of Peril".
It's an interesting look at the transition and why people decide to make the leap (and sometimes do so unsuccessfully). Despite a look at some of the problems, the article is positive overall in terms of what these mainstream-to-indie 'rogues' are getting out of being their own masters.
Going Rogue [The Escapist]