Console game developers — people who make games for the Xbox, PlayStation, etc. — have mostly been big companies — EA, Activision, etc. — because of the high cost of game development and retail distribution. But that’s changing thanks to new Internet distribution platforms, and some indie console-game developers are starting to build big businesses.
The latest example: Jonathan Blow, developer of the game Braid, an Xbox game that’s somewhat similar to early ‘Mario’ games for Nintendo. His game has only been on sale for a week, but he estimates it’s already sold 55,000 copies for the Xbox 360. At $15 per game, that’s $825,000 in first week gross sales. Microsoft takes a cut — we don’t know how much — but that’s still a really impressive debut.
Jonathan released his game on the Xbox Live Arcade, the three-year-old virtual store on the Xbox 360 console where users can download older classic games or new games that have been specifically developed for the store. The download store removes a lot of the barriers of entry for an independent developer because they don’t have to come up with an expensive distribution strategy.
Both Nintendo and Sony also have their own virtual stores that independent developers can use to distribute downloadable games.
Jonathan said that with his projected sales (which he didn’t break out), he should be able to make game developing a full-time gig. And while not everyone will be as successful as he’s been, it’s solid evidence that indie developers can now build a substantial business making games for consoles.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.