- So it's starting to get close to GDC, and because I'm organizing a couple of parts of it (the Independent Games Summit and the Independent Games Festival), as well as helping out my Gamasutra compadres with a little bit of editorial coverage, I'm starting to run into a bit of a blog timecrunch. But I will do my best to keep going with snappy anecdotes and a few pictures through GDC week!

In the meantime, over at Gamasutra there's a story on GameTap's launching of its 'Indies' label, with the associated, multi-game GameTap Indie Award being given out at the IGF Awards next Wednesday night, and I have to say that I'm delighted that they're getting indies on board with the service. Obviously, I'm crossing streams a bit here (being a blogger, as well as Chairman of the IGF, which GameTap is helping to sponsor), but I do believe that announcements like this will help the indie scene to evolve in many positive ways.

Here's the announcement, in concatenated form: "Turner Broadcasting System has announced GameTap Indies, a new marketing and distribution program designed to introduce independent games to subscribers of its GameTap 'all you can eat' PC gaming service.... GameTap has further thrown its support behind independent game development by sponsoring its new “GameTap Indie Award”, to be presented at the 2007 Independent Games Festival Awards.... One award recipient will receive a $10,000 advance after signing a five year [non-exclusive] distribution deal to be a part of the new GameTap Indies label, while the two additional recipients will each receive a $5,000 advance after signing the same five year distribution deal to be part of the label."

The thing I'm excited about here is that bigger companies such as Turner are starting to see indie games as an important part of their strategy. The same is undoubtedly true of the hardware manufacturers, from Microsoft through Sony and Nintendo, given the buzz around titles from fl0w through Castle Crashers and beyond, and I'm sure will we be discussing this more at IGS in the distributors panel.

But think of a future where you can make an indie game of your choice - and a real, innovative, experimental game to boot - and then license it to single or multiple services on PC and console for tangible returns, making it possible for talented folks to quit their day jobs and just make independent games instead. XBLA started the process, and Manifesto, Sony, Valve, GameTap, and soon Nintendo are continuing what I firmly believe is the birth of the indie game scene as a viable business medium and rapidly rising art form.