When XBLA and PSN launched, they had impressive bite-sized titles that made numerous indie studios extremely wealthy for their size. There are still some hits now and then, but their frequency is usually relegated to the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade.
In an interview with hookshotinc, Venerable Tim Schafer from Double Fine laments the steady decline of both networks, but doesn't an end for indie games (not by a long shot):
Ever since I played Geometry Wars I thought, what a great new portal.
But it seems that this year, the idea didn’t explode like it should have. Back when Castle Crashers came out, it seemed it was going to grow and grow. I just wish there was more support, more marketing, more placement on the dashboard. It could have been our own little Sundance Film festival, a great sandbox for indie development.
But the indie community is now moving elsewhere; we’re figuring out how to fund and distribute games ourselves, and we’re getting more control over them. Those systems as great as they are, they’re still closed. You have to jump through a lot of hoops, even for important stuff like patching and supporting your game. Those are things we really want to do, but we can’t do it on these systems. I mean, it costs $40,000 to put up a patch – we can’t afford that! Open systems like Steam, that allow us to set our own prices, that’s where it’s at, and doing it completely alone like Minecraft. That’s where people are going.