Earlier today, I read one of the many "indiepocalypse" stories, and was solemny informed that I don't exist.
In case you're unfamiliar, here's a quick summary (as I interpret those articles because fuck linking to any of them): According to the indiepocalypse, there is no real space for indies left because indie games became very popular a couple of years ago, there was a bubble, now there are TOO MANY GAMES and TOO MANY STORE FRONTS and also AAA WANTED A PIECE OF THE ACTION, and this is clearly proven by the fact that good games fail, and therefore you should not get into indie games and expect to make it.
Neato! So let's get back to me not existing for a minute, because I like to think I have a say in that. According to the author of the blog / article / thing I read this evening, you can either be a hobbyist with a dayjob, or you can be AAA. I don't fall in either of those categories, and I know many who occupy the same space as I do. I know I don't fall in either of those categories because I make indie games for a living, either by myself or collaborating with at most 2- 3 people. I'm not a Flappy Bird success story outlier, I'm not a famous rock star indie, I make way more money than I ever did working a 9 to 5. That's me, alive and goddamned well, thank you very much.
Here's the thing though: I'm not all that interested in debunking the doomsday shit, because a lot of it comes from a real place. Making it in indie games IS hard, there ARE a lot of games to compete with now, the AAA industry DID muscle its way in, and good games absolutely DO fail.
What I want to talk about is the culture of discouragement we're creating along with it.
For some reason, we're really quick to say things like "don't quit your dayjob" and "it's pretty much over for indie developers". We say things like "I would feel terrible if someone would quit their job and fail at indie games because of me". I've seen people who are successful indie developers themselves share those articles and add "yup, mobile is dead" (or whatever) to it. I've seen people as big as Jon Blow bust out series of deterring, don't-even-bother tweets.
I don't know why we're so incredibly ok with destroying dreams.
For me personally, it's annoying. I read the articles, I see the tweets, I can dismiss it all by looking at my bank account. For someone who's interested in making games, it can be potentially devastating. I know that might sound overly dramatic, but goddamnit, indiepocalypse, you simply don't KNOW if someone will fail.
I mean, it's perfectly fine to make sure people are aware of risks, challenges, difficulties. It's good to be cautious. But let it end there. Also talk about your successes, share your insights, minimise their troubles where you can. Allow people to make their own decisions, and fucking inspire them.
Earlier this week someone asked me why I make games, and I wrote this in response:
What I do means the world to me, and I mean that in every way possible. Creatively, emotionally, financially, I've never been happier than I am right now. Making indie games is responsible for that, and the idea that we're trying to keep that away from people because "it's not easy" breaks my fucking heart.
Because fucking EVERYTHING is hard. Life is hard! But you don't know if you can do it until you try. And if you want to try, you should. I want you to want to try. If you try and fail, so be it.
But you don't HAVE to fail. It's not a GIVEN.
And I think we can afford to say that a little more often than we do right now.