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It is a bit hard for indie developers to make it out there by the looks of it, but I can see it getting better as time goes on. Gamers are going to eventually crave more original titles, and the giants are going to be forced into funding their development. If in-house studios or regular contracts can't achieve this, where will they turn? The indie market seems the most obvious, but then this is a risk. They'd be spending money on a studio that hasn't yet proven itself. How can this risk be reduced?

Perhaps one day the games industry will become more like the film industry with regards to funding and such, where risks are taken fairly routinely as the audience demands something new, be it special effects or concept. The UK Film Council, for example, has regular injections of lottery money to "stimulate a competitive, successful and vibrant UK film industry and culture." This could help indie developers to get on their way if applied to the games industry as it evolves and matures.

At the moment the industry just seems too full of publishers happy to reuse the same old concepts, developers and franchises, and if a developer goes for something particularly innovative but isn't incredibly well known (eg: Will Wright, Peter Molyneux), they will be denied. This of course basically makes it excessively difficult for an indie to get anywhere.

I guess recent advances such as Steam — which is becoming increasingly full of indie titles — and Xbox360 Live Arcade will help, but that initial dosh still needs to come from somewhere.

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I'd hope they'd buy a shed load more than one of them :D We have dozens of PS2 linux kits which are horrible to work with - I couldn't imagine the disaster area that lab would be if we all had to share just one dev kit! We also have Gamecube devkits but they seem to be reserved for the Masters students, grrrr. The revolution would be an awesome kit to work with though, and it really is a low price point compared to most.

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