Indie developers and their games have enjoyed massive success distributing through Steam, notably Zeboyd Games and Carpe Fulgar. While that bodes well for the future of indies on the platform, Steam has to devote a lot of front-page real estate to AAA games and thus can't promote small indies as well as a dedicated indie game distribution service could. IndieCity out of the UK seems like it could be that, but today a consortium of three German game companies launched their attempt at beating them to it—a distribution site called Little Indie.
The site doesn't look like much right now. It has three games for sale, like The Great Jitters Pudding Panic (pictured above), with three more reportedly going up by the end of the weekend and more forthcoming. Aside from some UI problems (it is its first day online), Little Indie looks and functions a lot like Steam. Its front page has games for you to buy, client software for you to download and play the games through, and leaderboards and achievements to track your progress against your peers with. Where it stands out from Steam, and one reason it might be a better option for indie developers going forward, is the lack of AAA games on the site. That mean indies get the front page all to themselves and will be more visible as a result.
Another reason, and perhaps more important, is that Little Indie plans to offer crucial support services to indie developers who usually cannot afford these on their own—marketing and PR. Most indie devs can barely afford to finish their games, let alone market them. But it remains to be seen how well Little Indie can handle the task of building awareness around relatively unknown games, though simply trying is a great idea and one that will hopefully be taken up by other sites.
Indie games are some of the best in the world right now, and all that's holding (some of) them back is the lack of public awareness and availability. Little Indie hopes to address just that, and I wish them the best. If they can get their UI and client program (which is still seriously buggy) fixed up quickly, while acquiring good games, the future looks bright.
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