has launched its 'Indies' program, an initiative to market and distribute independent games through its subscription-based service. While GameTap Indies will supposedly "take effect immediately," there's no sign of it today. A representative confirmed with us that launch titles won't be announced until GDC
, when, during the Independent Games Festival, GameTap will present its first ever 'GameTap Indie Award' to three "hand-picked" recipients.
The trio will have their games showcased on GameTap, assumingly headlining a selection of less-heralded
indie titles. One recipient will receive a $10,000 advance for signing a 5-year distribution deal with the GameTap Indies label; two others will receive $5,000 for signing away similar distribution rights.
It's a strong play from GameTap -- still seeking a firm identity -- and will hopefully encourage similar services to support independent development more aggressively. Will 'Indies' help to negate the stigma that GameTap is a bloated client with little original content to offer? Mr. Turner and company certainly hope so -- Sam & Max
and Myst Online
can't do it alone much longer.