The year 2024 was marked by the release of numerous indie hits on Steam: Palworld, Manor Lords, Content Warning, Balatro, Backpack Battles, and others. Some of these successes were quite a surprise. Raphael van Lierop, the founder and CEO of Hinterland, the studio that developed The Long Dark, listed possible reasons for the indie boom on LinkedIn.

Content Warning

He identified three reasons:

  1. general audience fatigue from the AAA approach and the insufficient "value" of high-priced games;
  2. the social element of Steam. Unlike other gaming platforms, Steam is not just a digital store but also a platform for communication. This contributes to the virality of games;
  3. player interest in genres that are unpopular with major publishers or not fully explored by them. This includes genres such as city builders, RTS, and survival games.


Raphael van Lierop