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Trip Hawkins tried to form an indie dev alliance

Prior to leaving Digital Chocolate, Trip Hawkins wanted to get indies to band together

Trip Hawkins, who recently resigned from Digital Chocolate, was attempting to form an alliance of independent developers to challenge larger studios in the browser-game market. Hawkins offered up the name of the group, FreeGameLeaders, and outlined a group that could change the market's current power structure.

"This is my latest attempt to help smaller independent developers, including my own company," Hawkins wrote in a pitch letter obtained by VentureBeat. "The intention is to recruit a group of founding members and set it up as a non-profit to serve its members. The idea is to provide both traffic and a "home base" that developers can really count on, invest in, and that is not biased by any corporate or profit angle. Indie developers are surrounded by platform titans and enormous corporate rivals, but if we all collaborate and cooperate in methods like this, we can share some of the market power of the big guys."

The FreeGameLeaders site would offer up titles without requiring any "payment, downloads, plug-ins, non-standard technology or memberships" outside of the games themselves. Hawkins said the site would offer a Facebook login, but insisted that FreeGameLeaders was "not intended to become a destination, social network, storefront or payment system."

"The concept is that traffic partners would bring traffic in and then it would link off to qualifying games that are hosted on their own websites, which would also run a cross-promotion bar inside the games that further cross-links the games in the network. There will be modest dues and fees to support the site's overhead and governance," he added.

The main stipulation was that all games participating in the alliance needed to be open browser game. Hawkins said that developers would be able to market apps or Facebook games after players were entrenched in a game, but FreeGameLeaders was meant to be about the open web.

Unfortunately for interested indie developers, the initiative is seemingly dead. Hawkins told VentureBeat that the alliance is "suspended" for now. The entire FreeGameLeaders idea looked to be Hawkins' way of fighting against the problems with Facebook development that he mentioned in his recent interview with GamesIndustry International's Steve Peterson.

The full pitch letter can be found at VentureBeat.

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Mike Williams avatar
Mike Williams: M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.