Keighley: “Independent can mean different things to different people"

Keighley: “Independent can mean different things to different people"

The Game Awards host Geoff Keighley has given his two cents as to the controversy surrounding the Best Indie Game category at the show.

In a livestream – as reported by VGC – the media veteran said that people have very different views on what the term 'indie' means. This follows Dave the Diver being nominated for Best Indie Game; even though the title has a lo-fi 'indie' feel, it's actually developed by Mint Rocket, a studio within Korean games giant Nexon. This has led people to question whether it is an indie title and what the term indie actually means.

“Independent can mean different things to different people, and it’s sort of a broad term.

“You can argue, does independent mean the budget of the game, does independent mean where the source of financing was, does it mean the team size? Is it the kind of independent spirit of the game, meaning a smaller game that’s sort of different?

“I think everyone has their own opinion about this, and we really defer to our jury of 120 global media outlets who vote on these awards, to make that determination of ‘is something independent’ or not.

“You know, in other industries, sometimes there are things – I think in the film industry the budget can’t be above this amount of dollars or it’s not independent, so I don’t know.

“Some people have said Larian with Baldur’s Gate 3, that’s an independent game. Kojima Productions with Death Stranding, some people say that’s an independent game. And even though that’s an independent studio, of course it’s funded by PlayStation."

This all feels very familiar. Have we had this chat before? Time is a flat circle. Hey, should we chat about game review scoring instead?

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.