The popularity of independent video games has soared over the past few years. Independent game developers (or Indie game developers) are game developers that do not have the publishing power of the big name companies such as Nintendo. They tend to release their games as downloadable titles for the various systems that are out nowadays, which has expanded so much from consoles. Now people use their smartphones for games as well. Look at how popular Angry Birds is. Soon after the release of that, there have been carbon copy games with the same premise and format.
When video games were becoming popular in the late 1980s, the technology was not able to push for realism. The audience and the developers were required to use their imaginations. In 2011, we see games that are realistically bringing New York City, London, and Paris to life from a game machine. Nothing seems impossible for the consoles of today and independent game developers are taking that phrase literally.
Independent video games are the games that are bringing video games to the forefront of creativity yet again. They are the ones that are bringing back the notion of what a video game was originally defined as. New characters, new environments, and simple, yet addicting gameplay. (hopefully. Not every game can always have all of them) Every game out there does not need to have intense graphics in order to be deemed a good game. It's not that Nintendo is not being creative upon releasing a new Mario or Zelda title, but those characters have been on grand adventures before, and the audience has seen what they can do. There is a familiarity aspect when going with a known brand or title. But when an unknown title manages to capture an audience, word of mouth will cause the game to have more attention and hype. Just look at the success of World of Goo.
It's not that the video game industry is doing bad, it's just that I think the independent game developers are having more success on the creative front, and that is what the market needs. The market needs something new and fresh. Why are games like Prince of Persia and Uncharted so successful? Because there are no other games that are like them. There are a myriad of first person shooters out there, which can look practically the same. The video game industry seems too afraid to try anything new, so they stick to what has been successful, which is why the market sees games that are very similar (the many first person shooters) or they stick to sequels, remakes, and reboots. The indie game developers are pushing the new characters and new worlds, but don't have the financial backing that the big name companies do.
The independent game developers need to somehow team up with these big name companies. If the indie teams had the resources that larger companies have, then maybe we will see the video game industry jump the hurdle that is needed of them.