Electronic Arts redefines ‘Indie’ for marketing purposes, or do they?

An indie development company is one which creates games without the support of a publisher. This could include one person teams working in their spare time, or small groups of developers. But the criterion for indie-ness is ‘not owned by a publisher.’

So it’s a bit odd to say the least that EA are releasing an ‘indie bundle’ on Steam. Given that they’re a publisher, and the defining criterion for indie games is that they produce their games independent of a publisher. However, it’s a good deal and the amount of press generated from journalists noting the irony in EA attaching its name to an ‘indie bundle’ may make this the PR coup of the year. (Because every article also notes, as I have, that it’s a pretty good deal if you like the games.)

But this isn’t an indie bundle in the sense of punters supporting tiny studios who let you pay what you want, have some donation to charity involved, no corporations involved, and so forth, which is the type of deal players have previously come to identify with an ‘indie bundle.’

Thing is, they are actually technically all indie games, or at least they do ride the line of the definition. EA distributes them, but didn’t fund the studios. The devs still own the IPs. EA is supporting independent studios (and vice versa) by getting involved, to some extent.

It’s just like the Indie music scene all over again …

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7 thoughts on “Electronic Arts redefines ‘Indie’ for marketing purposes, or do they?

  1. Google and other companies have effectively done the same thing with the word “beta”…taking it from literally meaning “pre-release testing phase” to a marketing buzz word that really means “free demo loaded with disclaimers”.

    • That’s the case, which is why I say they are technically all indie games. EA aren’t lying with this phrasing. It’s just a wtf moment because EA are pretty much the antithesis of indie games, even though they do distribute some.

  2. OT: When did “punter” reach such general usage? Probably saw it on YouTube first in this hilarious video (WARNING: slightly blue language), which may have tuned me in to hearing the term, but it seems increasingly popular over the last few years.

    I’m going to embed again, this time on purpose. If that’s cruddy, let me know and I’ll stop.

      • Right right. But no indication from your side of the pond that it’s been used more generally and popularly recently? Here, you’ve got it as a consumer/someone who gives cash to a company. And the guy interviewed in the video seems to use it as “schmoe”, which is about as broad as it gets.

        Maybe I’m just more sensitive to seeing it now that I realize what it means. /shrug (Sorry that there’s no “low priority” marker for WP posts.)

      • Nah, I’m not sure it’s had a sudden rise in popularity over here. Maybe it’s an anglicism that is catching on in the US?

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