Mojang is the perfect definition of "indie." The studio came out of nowhere and produced a PC game that's become so popular, that it's help reinvigorate the stagnant platform. Minecraft is not only innovative, but it's extremely "lite" and can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages. Even more, it's a pure independent title, meaning there's no publisher involved to steer the game towards a more lucrative route.
That said, it's understandable why Minecraft creator and Mojang founder Markus "Notch" Persson gets a little annoyed when big publishers use the "indie" term. Notch, along with many other developers, is currently lashing out at "publicly-held mega-publisher" Electronic Arts for launching a bundle of games called the "EA Indie Bundle" on Valve's Steam platform.
"EA releases an 'indie bundle'? That's not how that works, EA," Notch complained via Twitter. "Stop attempting to ruin everything, you bunch of cynical bastards. Indies are saving gaming. EA is methodically destroying it. The games in the bundle are good, I'm not questioning them. I'm questioning EA."
Other developers claim that EA is trying to cash in on a grassroots term given how independent games have turned the PC gaming industry around. However the bundle itself does contain titles from independent studios whose games have been published by the company including DeathSpank and DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue from Hothead Games, Gatling Gears from Vanguard Games, Shank and Shank 2 from Klei Entertainment and Warp from Trapdoor Inc.
So then what's the big deal? With huge publishers like EA using the "indie" label, it lowers the meaning behind the term -- at least, that's what developers seemingly think. "We're simply going to have to come up with a NEW word for 'indie.' One that's clearly-defined and THE MAN can't take away from us," mused Size Five's Dan Marshall. "Let's gather some indies together for a quick 'AAA Bundle,' then we're square."
Still, many developers don't see a problem with the EA "indie" bundle. They point out that the titles are developed by independent studios, but just published by the EA Partners label. But given that Mojang saw success without the help of a publisher, their view of "indie" may be a bit more down to earth than EA, hence the hostility.
Call it IndoGame-o! Then Trademark it!
I wish I had more up votes to give you.
All it takes is establishing a loyalty feeling towards certain publishers and developers for us to start distorting the reality and shaping it to our liking. It's not a disservice to games like Bastion or Magicka to to not call them indie. They aren't. And we aren't damaging their image in any way. We are instead making sure we keep every monkey in their branch and don't garble so much a term that it eventually loses meaning.
"EA indie bundle" isn't going to damage the word. Neither "Activision Indie Week", or "Ubisoft Barrel of Indies". What can truly remove any meaning from it, is the act of slowly chipping away at the true meaning of this word until instead of a rectangle you end up with a circle.
And EA is not the one doing that. Like or not the company, let's be perfectly clear about that.
This stupid minecraft dev thinks he's so special, im still waiting for him to make a serious pc game. Then he'll earn real respect.
You bring up a decent point, but I think that you are under-exaggerating the capabilities of some developers and I'm also pretty sure that the MC devs already have respect from a lot of people. Indies are less likely to produce a multi-million dollar game, but that doesn't mean that they are incapable of it. Besides, it's not as if the big media development companies screw up every now and then, so they aren't perfect.