无可否认，电子游戏是个大生意。《侠盗飞车五》（Grand Theft Auto V ）一天就卖了8亿美元，一举成为有史以来最快突破吸金10亿美元大关的游戏。
到底什么才算是真正的独立游戏？目前游戏圈里争议颇大，尤其是针对那些大公司提供的独立开发项目或发行交易。《独立游戏杂志》（Indie Game Mag）对这些讨论做了一个很好的综述。而在我们看来，所谓独立游戏是指那些没有公司赞助或代为发行的游戏，比如《时空幻境》（ Braid）——它在主流游戏媒体圈引起了很大轰动，获得了众多评论和奖项——它就是在没有任何公司介入的情况下，完全由乔纳森•布洛自己投资开发的一款游戏。
有了这样的成功故事，无怪乎那些游戏巨头现在都开始密切关注独立开发者们。最近，索尼全球工作室（World Wide Studios）总裁吉田修平在PlayStation博客上的一篇采访中表示：“独立开发运动让我非常兴奋，它让我想起了当年开发第一代PlayStation的日子。那时候，PlayStation大大拓展了游戏人群，还带来了很多新的开发者，大量独特有趣的游戏不知从哪儿就那么冒了出来……现在我从这些独立开发者身上又感受到了那种活力和激情。这一次我确实觉得很激动。”
There's no denying that videogames are big business. Grand Theft Auto V sold $800 million in one day, helping it hit $1 billion in sales faster than the fastest-grossing videogame ever.
But major league hits like GTA are not the only game in town. The advent of online game distribution has meant that game developers no longer need corporate infrastructure to get their games into the hands of players. Freed of the constraints, perceived or otherwise, of working in big business, indie game development has become a hive of creativity, development and, yes, profit.
Take for example Minecraft, the blockbuster block-building game that has been loaded up on PCs and iPads across the globe. What is now a gaming behemoth was hatched by one man, Markus Persson a.k.a. "Notch," who created the game in his free time. What started as a small indie game project exploded. Minecraft has grossed well over $150 million, and sold more than 12.5 million copies on PC and over 33 million copies across all platforms. Notch quit his day job and founded a studio, Mojang, which now employs over 30 people.
What exactly constitutes an indie game is wildly contested within the gaming community, especially with some of the big corporate players offering indie development or distribution deals. Indie Game Mag has a good overview of the arguments. For our purposes, indie games are those developed without corporate funding or distribution, for example a game like Braid -- which garnered a lot of buzz, reviews, and awards from the mainstream gaming press -- that was created and paid for entirely by developer Jonathan Blow with no corporate influence.
With success stories like that, it's no wonder that big gaming companies are paying close attention to the indie developers. "The indie movement is so exciting to me," Sony Worldwide Studio's President Shuhei Yoshida said recently in an interview on the PlayStation Blog. "It really reminds me of when we were working on the original PlayStation. Back then, PlayStation really expanded the audience for gaming and brought in a lot of new developers. Lots of unique, interesting games came out of nowhere ... I feel a similar kind of vibe and passion from those indie people today. I'm so excited this time."