The evolution of indie gaming from the 90’s to the blockchain era

The modern video game as we know it was developed by hobbyists. In the early 60’s computer scientists played around with the technology at their disposal and created the first video games. One could say that the whole video game industry grew from indie hobbyists playing around with computers.

In the 70’s through the 90’s big video game companies dominated the gaming landscape. Atari and later Nintendo & Sega seemed to have a stranglehold on the industry. Big publishers made releasing indie video games nearly impossible.

Gabe Newell of Steam said the following about that era in an interview to Rock Paper Shotgun:

 ” The worst days [for game development] were the cartridge days for the NES. It was a huge risk – you had all this money tied up in silicon in a warehouse somewhere, and so you’d be conservative in the decisions you felt you could make, very conservative in the IPs you signed, your art direction would not change, and so on. Now it’s the opposite extreme: we can put something up on Steam [a digital distributor], deliver it to people all around the world, make changes. We can take more interesting risks. Retail doesn’t know how to deal with those games.”

The indie community began to grow sometime around the mid 90’s with the internet growing in popularity and the release of Doom in 1993. The release of Doom in 1993 allowed many to create their own maps and mods to the game, inspiring many hobbyists to try their own hand at creating games and become indie developers.

The indie gaming world further expanded in the mid 2000’s with the rise of reward based crowd funded platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Reward based crowd funding allowed indie developers access to much needed funding in order to develop their game.  During this era, the first break-away indie success story was released; Braid.

Since the mid 2000’s many more indie games were released and a few other big success stories disrupted the gaming world. Some notable indie games include Super Meat Boy, Minecraft and Cuphead.

In our modern era blockchain technologies are expected to revolutionize many aspects of our lives. Blockchain will most likely change the world of gaming just as much as the internet had. By decentralizing gaming stores and possibly games themselves, the world of gaming will become both more transparent and more secure. The uses of blockchain technologies in the world of gaming are countless and will likely change gaming in the years to come.