From now on I will only play indie games

Balatro artwork
Balatro artwork
Balatro – one of the best games of 2024 (Playstack)

A reader is disillusioned with the state of triple-A gaming and the behavior of major publishers and decides to switch exclusively to indie games.

We’ve all seen the collapse of the past few months, with Xbox and PlayStation, and the endless job losses at every publisher, big and small. It’s as confusing as it is annoying, especially because it seems like there’s nothing we can do about it. But I feel like it is. As regular gamers, we have a huge influence on what companies do, as evidenced by the many upheavals that occur every year.

Obviously no one is going to make a U-turn on all those lost jobs, but I’m almost done supporting big-budget triple-A games from Western publishers. There was a really good Reader’s Feature recently about this whole circus, which ended with the suggestion that soon all that will be left of gaming is Nintendo, a few other Japanese companies, and indie games.

They suggested that this would be an improvement over what we have now, and I couldn’t agree more. A games industry dominated by Nintendo would probably lead to their most negative qualities being highlighted, so I’m not going to pretend they’re a charity or anything, but for me the only Western games I can see myself playing in the future. are indie games.

I’m not going to get on my high horse and pretend that if something really good comes out, from a terrible company like Take-Two, I’m going to deny myself (and no, I’m not thinking about GTA 6) but overall I done with triple-A games.

Apart from everything, indie games are just better. They’re definitely less reliant on sequels, to the point where indie sequels are notorious for always mysteriously selling poorly. I’m not sure why, but in a way I’m glad because it should discourage others and make them realize that the reason people are interested in their games is because they are new and original and not made purely to make money.

This year I bought, played and enjoyed Pacific Drive, Balatro, Pepper Grinder, Minishoot’ Adventures, No Rest For The Wicked, Another Crab’s Treasure and Animal Well. Not only were they all good, and some really great (Balatro is my favorite), but none of them were overly long and bloated and none of them were very expensive, compared to triple-A games – that’s why I could afford them all.

None of these games are even remotely similar, none of them are sequels, and aside from No Rest For The Wicked and maybe Another Crab’s Treasure, none of them resemble what a major publisher would call triple-A and charge full price for , and that’s what makes them so good.

It’s clear that big companies are killing video games. It’s probably not even Phil Spencer making the decisions at Xbox now, but people higher up than him – now he’s wasted all their money on Activision Blizzard. Sony isn’t even pretending that anyone with an interest in gaming is in charge of PlayStation. Jim Ryan clearly didn’t care, and they haven’t even had a real boss in months.

The reason these things happen is because these companies need to show growth and the easiest way to do that is to fire people and stick with the surest possible gaming bets. I’m not interested in that. Small companies will supply my games from now on and I expect that will be cheaper and more fun. Plus, I don’t need to know that I’m supporting horrible companies that do horrible things.

By reader Septon

Animal welfare screenshot
Animal Well – one of many great indie games this year (Bigmode)

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