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GameSpy throws open doors to indie developers

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(Read caption) GameSpy will allow indie developers access to its toolkit, free of charge. Here, a user plays Angry Birds, an indie game that went on to hit it very, very big.

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GameSpy Technology, a tech company based in California, just made all its in-game development tools available for free. The catch: You gotta be an indie developer. According to GameSpy rep Sean Flinn, independent developers working in a range of platforms – "from Android to iOS to PC" – can now sign up for a free developer account, and immediately starting toying with the GameSpy toolkit.

"Major label studios," as GameSpy calls them, will still pay a "flat licensing fee."

"[L]et’s face it: Indies are crushing it right now," Flinn wrote on the company blog. "From Angry Birds to Dungeon Defenders, more and more indie titles are finding major label success within easy reach. We foresee a day when this becomes the norm. We’re sure that developers willing to risk it all on making something new, different and, most of all, fun to play, will write the big gaming success stories of the next decade."

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The move isn't exactly a gamble for GameSpy. The company has scads of big name corporate clients – the Nintendo DS game Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was created with assistance from GameSpy, as was the PC version of Civilization V. By making it easier for indie developers to use the GameSpy platform, the GameSpy team gets – at very least – a boost of publicity when one of those indie games hits it big.

And as Flinn hinted, indie games are now very big indeed. Millions of users now play "casual" games – many of them indie-developed – on their smartphones and on Facebook, which has been overrun with gaming fanatics in recent months.

"Historically, video games were bought at Wal-Mart and played at home or on a PC," Justin Smith, the founder of research firm Inside Network recently told the Monitor. "What Facebook has done is open up gaming to a much wider audience – it has provided a platform for people who wouldn't even normally consider themselves gamers. It's changing the way that the gaming business is going to work. This is the biggest revolution in the gaming industry in quite a while."

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