A new group called the Independent Developers Association, representing independent developer interests, has been formed by a trio of Eastern European headquartered studios: Altar Games, developers of Original War
and UFO: Aftermath
; Black Element Software, developers of Shade: Wrath of Angels
; and Bohemia Interactive, developers of Operation Flashpoint
. The group, abbreviated as IDEA, will offer negotiation and representation services to smaller studios.
"Game development is extremely demanding and risky business and the competition in the worldwide market is immense," said Bohemia Interactive director Marek Španěl. The industry is dominated by the strongest publishing houses and the position of an independent game developer is getting more and more intricate."
The full range of services offered by IDEA includes negotiation with publishers, PR and marketing support, legal support, and fee-sharing between member studios for things such as conference registration and booths, or joint product presentations. Though members of IDEA would support one another, the organizers note that this would not preclude competition between member studios.
One point not addressed by IDEA is which services the organization would overlap with existing industry entities such as the UK-based TIGA (Independent Game Developers Association) or the international IGDA (International Game Developers Association). IDEA only recently debuted at the Lyon Game Connection 2005; perhaps with time, its own niche will become evident.