Before the mid-1990s, commercial game distribution was controlled by big publishers and retailers, and developers of indie games were forced to either build their own publishing company, find one willing to distribute their game, or distribute it in some form of shareware (eg. through BBSs). With the rise of online shopping, it has become possible to sell indie games to a worldwide market with little or no initial investment by using services such as eBay and PayPal.
By the mid 2000s, many indie (computer) game developers have also taken the opportunity to make their games open source, thus rendering the group of possible participants much larger depending on the interest a project generates. This approach enables games to become much more complex as well as to succeed where a closed source version would be restricted due to limited resources (risking the possibility of vaporware).
Indie video games are often grouped together with shareware, freeware and open source software. Indie developers are generally motivated by strong personal interest in the title they are working on, often a niche game that would not be produced by the mainstream. They tend to belong to some sort of community (usually Internet-based) which recognizes developers.
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