Preface: I'm quite possibly the least qualified person to write this article, but I feel like I need to express what I'm feeling, both as a creator and a consumer.
I think it's about time we've said it: Games have become mainstream, to the point of solely focusing on being a commercial product. While exceptions will always exist, It's safe to say that the majority of releases are made solely to make money. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. BUT-
The industry needs more risks, and risk takers. Stores are full with the same-looking, diluted, generic and safe-bet games, despite a lot of publishers claiming that they support anything that's even remotely different. Don't get me wrong, there are some unique things out there, and there's some publishers helping, but not nearly as much as there should be.
Yes, companies are out to make a profit. Yes, people need to eat, survive and get paid. And yes, we're talking about essentially a privileged form of entertainment. But what's the point of anyone ever making anything, when it's practically the same as everything else, but with a different paint job?
It's a stretch, yes, but we need more people, who are willing to create things out of passion, and not because of some data sheet. Gaming itself is eerily becoming the same as the Music and the Movie industry, where it's almost a quest to find new and interesting ideas, dominated by multi-million dollar companies, who control the flow and expectations of consumers, with the latter basically being treated as mindless fodder. Are we really fine with this?
'Indie' used to actually mean and represent something, but nowadays, it feels like it's purely a tag for 'aesthetics' or an excuse for being deliberately 'meme shoddy'. Where's the indie spirit? Where's the experimentalism? Where's the 'I don't care attitude' that enables us to make something exceptionally different? Why are most of us chasing profits?
While I too, want to make a living off of doing what I like, if it means I have to conform to trends, dark patterns, and so called 'industry experts' I'd rather make a single game in my life that doesn't sell well enough, but keep my integrity. I WANT to make the things I WANT, and you should too.
You want to work in a 'dead' genre?
You want to experiment?
You want to express yourself?
Don't do things because others are doing it.
Don't do things because someone 'dictates' it.
Don't do things because of the numbers.
Don't listen to anyone claiming there's no market for your ideas, no one truly knows that. If we've learned anything from the internet: there's a market for everything. The size might not be the same as that of a million dollar project, but then again, it might be. You never know until you try, succeed or fail. It's a gamble, but a gamble you should be willing to take. Otherwise you won't ever make the things you want, you won't inspire anyone to follow your lead, and we'll be stuck in the same production loop as we are now.
Don't give up on your ideas, believe in yourself, and be proud of what you create.