Independent Videogames investigates the social and cultural implications of contemporary forms of independent video game development. Through a series of case studies and theoretical investigations, it evaluates the significance of such a multi-faceted phenomenon within video game and digital cultures.

A diverse team of scholars highlight the specificities of independence within the industry and the culture of digital gaming through case studies and theoretical questions. The chapters focus on labor, gender, distribution models and technologies of production to map the current state of research on independent game development. The authors also identify how the boundaries of independence are becoming opaque in the contemporary game industry – often at the cost of the claims of autonomy, freedom and emancipation that underlie the indie scene. The book ultimately imagines new and better narratives for a less exploitative and more inclusive videogame industry.

Systematically mapping the current directions of a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly difficult to define and limit, this book will be a crucial resource for scholars and students of game studies, media history, media industries and independent gaming.

chapter 1|25 pages

After independence

ByPaolo Ruffino

part I|48 pages


chapter 3|15 pages

Queering indie

How LGBTQ experiences challenge dominant narratives of independent games
ByBonnie Ruberg

chapter 4|17 pages

Virtually indie

On the characteristics of independent game development for virtual reality headsets
ByPaweł Grabarczyk

part II|35 pages


chapter 5|18 pages

Network or die? What social network analysis can tell us about indie game development

ByPierson Browne, Jennifer R. Whitson

chapter 6|15 pages

Strange bedfellows

Indie games and academia
ByCelia Pearce

part III|49 pages


chapter 7|16 pages

The conditions of videogame production

The nature and stakes of creative freedom in Stiegler’s philosophy of technicity 1
ByPatrick Crogan

chapter 8|19 pages

Boutique indie

Annapurna interactive and contemporary independent game development
ByFelan Parker

chapter 9|12 pages

Game Production Studies

Studio Studies theory, method, and practice
ByCasey O’Donnell

part IV|30 pages


chapter 10|12 pages

Game workers unite

Unionization among independent developers
ByJamie Woodcock

chapter 11|16 pages

Playing with risk

Political-economy, independent games, and the precarity of development in crowded commercial markets
ByNadav Lipkin

part V|86 pages

Local indie game studies

chapter 12|16 pages

Playful peripheries

The consolidation of independent game production in Latin America
ByOrlando Guevara-Villalobos

chapter 13|14 pages

The Melbourne indie game scenes

Value regimes in localized game development
ByBrendan Keogh

chapter 14|15 pages

Modes of independence in the Finnish game development scene

ByOlli Sotamaa

chapter 15|15 pages

The rebels across the street

IndiE3 and the strategic geography of indie game promotion
ByJohn Vanderhoef

chapter 16|15 pages

Freedom from the industry standard

Student working imaginaries and independence in games higher education
ByAlison Harvey

chapter 17|9 pages

The cultural conditions of being indie

ByBart Simon