I think websites like Kickstarter will help bring gaming more independent again. If obsidian's Project Eternity turns out great you will definitely see more devs going that route.@ Dominik D :
The real question is :
- Does a game developer want job security by working for a big publisher ?
- Does a game developer want to make a game he's proud of ?
Nowadays, both things are incompatible (you're fooling yourself if you think the contrary)
Why is it incompatible ? Because the big publisher doesn't just want to make money. He wants to make money as much as he can, even if this kills the reputation of prestigious studios it has acquired (talking about Bioware, with ME3 or SWOTOR, games that have triggered ones of the most negative buzz of the game industry history, because players felt betrayed not having quality from the older games made by Bioware).
In the first case, yes the developer will have job security... for a few years. But his game will have no savior, because he will be formatted as the publisher commands (even if the publisher doesn't know a thing about players expectations and/or doesn't care). 20 years ago, even big companies cared about making quality products. That's not true anymore. Quality is an obsolete parameter in their mind. Only making money on short term counts. And this is a short-sighted vision. Because destroying its own reputation is a slow (but sure) suicide (for the publisher and the developer). So yes, in this case, the game developer will have work for a few years. But he must except that luring the players with a popular license while making tedious work for a sequel will trigger the anger of passionate players.
In Short :
Working for a big publisher : (temporary) job security / no quality game / expect hatred from the players.
In the second case, yes, the game developer will have work insecurity, limited ressource, but he will be free to make the game he wants (and he will be most likely to make the game as the players expect it). That's why more and more developers are turning their back to the big publishers and use the "Crowdfounding" model.
In Short :
working without a big publisher : insecurity / quality game to be proud of if well managed until the end / Supported by players (free advertisement by positive buzz).
All in all...
Which situation is best ?
My opinion : the second one. At least you feel to be alive.
Even with a family, insecurity can be anticipated and planned by putting litte amounts of money aside for bad luck times.
Moreover, job security under a big publisher is an illusion.
P.S : I'm working in the Video Game Industry.
For the trailer: Pretty funny!