Who is independent? What developers are really independent?
Some people think of it as a sign of strenght, others as a sign of weakness, a third person think of it as a sort of creative but immature pool of wannabes. How is it, what is independence, who is independent?
In my little quest I begin with a visit to the dictionary.com
1. not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself
2. not subject to another's authority or jurisdiction
The word itself suggests that you cannot be controlled by other in matter of opinion nor can you be subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction.
By this definition the easiest way to be independent would be to go hobby and have no obligations, unfortunately this also brings rather small prospects of delivering a competitive game.
Another attempt on independence would be to have your own game idea but seek financing elsewhere, at which point you fall victim for the second item, “not subject to another’s authority”.
If neither approach is truly independent, then what is left?
Money is, money is the source of independence. When you have your own money you can choose not to be influenced or controlled by others and you are not subject to another’s authority.
Further more you fulfil an additional definition of the word independent:
6. rejecting others' aid or support; refusing to be under obligation to others.
You can afford to reject offers, you are free to choose your partners and you can choose to ignore them.
A great example of independence in my book is BioWare. A privately financed company that have over the years earned its own money. No one can tell a company like BioWare what to do because they don’t need your opinion. That to me, is independence.