Monday, April 1, 2013

Why are Indie Developers so Important in Sony’s Future?

by Greg Woolston

Indie developers have been getting a lot more attention lately. It seems as if they aren’t really indie at all, other than the fact that most are run independently of a large publishing conglomerate looming over their every decision. Independent developers have really been able to take shape with this most recent console generation. I think that a big part of indie development’s success comes from Steam and the ability to make a relatively small game, and get it out to a large audience with minimal investment. Why are these developers so important to Playstation, and why has Sony taken such great steps to get these developers on their platforms?

This is the first image when I searched Journey in Google. That says quite a lot when a screen for the indie game Journey beats out an image of the great American rock band Journey.

Recent news out of GDC has shown that Sony is deeply invested in indie developers and Sony wants to have them develop for their platforms. The Verge outlines how recently Sony has been making steps to entice indie developers to the Playstation platform by making it easier for them to develop, and release their titles. IGN revealed that when Retro City Rampage developer Brian Provinciano wanted to pitch his game it was much easier to work with Sony and Steam, rather than Microsoft. Develop Online indicated that many developers have come forward stating their optimism for working on the PS4, stating that it will be more inexpensive and accessible that it has ever been before. This was also something that Sony highlighted during their February 20th PS4 reveal by inviting Jonathan Blow to debut his new title The Witness. It seems that Sony has something up their sleeve, and the best part is that it seems to be focused on the hardcore gamer.

Many incredible indie games have hit the Playstation recently with notable standouts including Journey and The Unfinished Swan. Both of these games were stand outs for many game of the year nominations with Journey winning a handful. These types of experiences are made for hardcore gamers, and I think that Sony knows that. They want to show their most passionate fans that they are committed to games as well as other media options arriving on their new console.

Their once was a line between a downloadable indie title, and a Triple-A disc based title, but that line grows continually smaller each day. Gone are the days that a downloadable title is looked down upon as inferior because it is sold at a fraction of the cost, and doesn’t have the hard copy disc. This was something that was quite prevalent at the beginning of the console cycle with the Xbox Live Arcade featuring such titles as Limbo. But, it seems that Microsoft has lost its way with indie devs. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant as any sort of fanboy fuel. Microsoft still has released Arcade titles to critical acclaim recently, but it doesn’t seem like their focus is with these indie devs.

Sony is making some big changes to help indie games come to their platform. By making the development, marketing, and release process easier Sony will be able to attract some very unique and interesting games to their platforms. A major part of gaming’s future will be in indie development, and getting these very unique and excellent games in gamers hands is what it is all about. Sony understands the importance of indie games for gamers, and I hope that Microsoft and Nintendo catch on so that no gamer will be left without these experiences.

Written by Greg Woolston
Junior Tech Editor


Post a Comment