: Sunday Meditation: Sony Relying Too Much On Indies?

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Sunday Meditation: Sony Relying Too Much On Indies?

The last generation saw an explosion of interest in indie titles.

It was the perfect match too, having an online store made getting these smaller experiences onto consoles easier for developers without the resources of big publishing houses. When gamers got access to them they realized that there was a whole world of clever innovation going on.

While many indie titles made it to cross platform status some of the best, like Journey, were only available to Sony fans. We got a lot of the best stuff that indie devs had to offer, but now I'm noticing that Sony is putting an awful lot of faith in these projects where the PS4's future is concerned. One might even say they are putting a ton of pressure on these kinds of games for their own success.

Policies for PS4 were changed to make it even easier to get these games onto the network. Even Microsoft took notice and altered their business practices so as not to lose out on these kinds of games. It feels like this is all happening rather fast to me. It makes me wonder what is going to happen when the innovation of classic gaming styles dries up. I start to consider how the store is going to be when it's a portal to every bit of independent content you can imagine.

Is that what we want? I mean, somebody must have thought Basement Crawl was going to be a good game and look at how that went. Sure not everything can turn out great, but we don't want the PS4 to become a shovelware repository the way Wii did. Also so far we've gotten a lot of these kinds of games on PS4 as our free Plus items. They've been good games so far but they aren't the reason I'm paying for that service. There are some great big budget titles on PS3 for free but we can't know how much effort Sony will put into doing the same for PS4. After all, the makers of big games are going to need more profit than ever now that they are having to raise their costs to produce 1080p graphics. Plus has already ditched giving us new free avatars and themes so if Sony wants to use it as a supplier of low budget games then nothing is stopping them. Many of us are already locked into the subscription if we want to keep our instant game collections.

Folks shouldn't take this as any kind of complaint about getting more games, I would never make that mistake. However it might be a little short sighted to just say “They are extra games, you don't have to play them.” There are always further generational consequences whenever the industry finds a new focus. With a prolonged intergenerational switchover, a serious drought in the works, and frequent delays on all the big titles I wonder if the folks at Sony are expecting indies to carry a heavier load than they were ever realistically able to.

4/12/2014 David D. Nelson

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Legacy Comment System (12 posts)

Saturday, April 12, 2014 @ 10:23:39 PM

Early post, oh man. I'm MLG now. Must be those turtle beaches I paid more than a ps4 for. Since I gots like 98 of those.

I understand why no big budget titles are free with plus yet, but I do wish we had something like Outlast that would make me go "oh sweet, more reasons to play the ps4 over the ps3" so far though, ps4 gets its play time and than its back to the ps3. I know its VERY early to be upset about it but I do kinda wish I could play my ps4 more. I adore the controller and just about everything about the ps4. Playing recycled ps3 games with better graphics and indies isn't something I want to spend my time on the ps4 for.

Down the line I know for sure it won't be that way. Just gotta learn to be patient I s'pose.

Even one big RPG would make me play the ps4 more than the ps3. Tactics remake? FF7 remake? Those would be MASSIVE sellers. COD sales? Nah, kids don't have patience for good games. 6-9 million sales? Oh most certainly.

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, April 12, 2014 @ 10:51:12 PM

I think that there are several reasons that Sony seems to really be focussing on indies.
One is business: indie games simply offer a much higher profit margin because they're cheaper to produce and more likely to be picked up by consumers in an impulse buy because they retail more cheaply.
Another is creative: because they're cheaper, developers are able to experiment more with the mechanics that they implement, and not have the title become a $30M sinkhole when things don't pan out. If those mechanics are well received, they can be fleshed out an implemented into bigger budget productions (maybe). Also, there is the artistic side of indie games, which we know that Sony has always been behind (they wouldn't have sanctioned the likes of ICO, SotC, Flower, Journey and rain if they weren't).
The third aspect is tied into business, but it's also appeasement: gamers want games. The first year of the PS4 is looking pretty barren, with few high-profile third-party titles and fewer first party. So, in order to fill the gaps, Sony looks to the indies, which can be created more quickly than AAA productions. If they want to keep sales momentum, they cannot simply drop one big game every four-six months. KZ:SF, iF:SS, #DC, and The Order comprises the list of major first party titles in the PS4's first year (I'm not counting TLoU Remastered here, and assuming that UC4 isn't going to make the holidays). All much anticipated games, but few and far between. So, they plug the gaps with indie games. Perhaps not an ideal solution, considering the questionable quality of some of what is coming out, but a valid one nonetheless.

I definitely think that as production of major titles ramps up, Sony will put less of their focus on indie titles, but we're likely still some time away before we're looking at a truly respectable schedule.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014 @ 11:14:24 PM

LMAO! Oh man... tears... that photo is too much!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 @ 1:28:58 AM

lol ya like that?

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 @ 4:28:26 AM

WAY too much!
indies are all the talk right now, and as usual everyone has to be on the me too bandwagon.
not saying they shouldnt support them, of course they should indies are bringing some of the most creative enjoyable titles out there.
but when your getting 4 or 5 new indie titles announced every week, and zero big first party exclusives for MONTHS, you know your priorities are a little f*cked up!
really worries me that $onys had to lay off so many staff, shut down so many studios, cancel so many projects especially right at the start of a new generation, it makes you wonder how long is this first party drought going to last?
people bought next gen systems for big exclusives, for halo, for gears, for uncharted, for GOW, NOT for indie titles!
M$ already has D4, quantum break, project spark, titanfall, halo, the rumored halo 2 anniversary, gears, and sunset overdrive which is the cover of next months gameinformer cant wait to get more info on that!
and ALL but one, gears, is due out by the end of the year!
$ony has...............
funny, this time last year, if you said to me M$ would have more exclusives linedup for the end of 2014, especially after the amazing reveal, E3, every event they had the marketing pre release was perfect!
if you were to say to me this time last year that M$ would have more titles lined up for the end of the year than $ony, i would of instantly emitted you to the nearest loony bin ASAP!
but alas that is exactly what has happened.
amazing, and scary, how much this industry changes, and so dam quickly!

$ony better have one massive briefcase of reveal trailers to show at E3, and then drop a bomb and amaze everyone there due out within 6 months of their release, otherwise there in for one hell of a hard holiday!
i feel sorry for the poor soul who has to host their E3 presser.
not only does he have the massive shoes of jack MR E3 to fill, but he also has the massive expectation of showing a bucket load of games!
whoevers hosting the show, id be asking for a raise right about now.

Last edited by ___________ on 4/13/2014 4:31:06 AM

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 @ 6:57:13 AM

yeah i guess u cud say it is a problem that sony has alot indie devs but we need their 1st party studios and the big 3rd party pub/devs as much as some of the are anoiying as anything but they bring some gud games and thats the purpose they serve but i think the dev sense needs to simmer down a bit before we pass a big judgement on the scene as awhole

happy gaming =)

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 @ 12:51:32 PM

I like indie games. Bring em on! FOr a continued discounted price of course. :)

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 @ 2:49:50 PM

unless they're taking resources away from larger productions i don't see any problem with a flood of independent titles. sure, not every game will be a winner but in my opinion that'll just make game reviews and ratings all the more important.

although it would be nice if sony took a page from the ouya store and required a demo of all the smaller games - something to try before you buy.

Last edited by Ogibillm on 4/13/2014 2:51:06 PM

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 @ 5:54:40 PM

I think it's important to remember how new console launches go here, before we accuse Sony of relying too much on indies. It takes longer to make a big-budget game than most indie titles, and many of the indies we've been getting were already in development for PC before being ported across for PS4, which is why they've been available early, but what would the alternative have been without the indies? That'd be nothing except about a game a month, including Tomb Raiders HD-HD re-release.

It was the same with the launch of the PS3 - the first six months were _very_ quiet for game releases, and stuff like Calling All Cars, Flow and Blast Factor (and Super Rub-a-Dub!) helped fill the gaps when big-budget releases were just as sparse. It's the same this time around, except the range of indie titles is much wider and deeper, and we've got the bigger-budget F2P games in there as well.

As for PS+, the PS4 (and, thus, every game on PS4) has been out for less than six months - very few titles end up on PS+ less than six months after release - it's just financially sensible for a big game to do that - so again it's the option of indie titles or nothing. There's a reason Games with Gold hasn't kicked off on XB1 yet, and it's because they don't have enough indie games to make it work (and, like PS4, the bigger budget titles haven't been out long enough).

Wait until October, and we'll get our usual slew of bigger-budget releases, and the balance will redress itself. The trick here is patience, and to not expect the release schedule for a new platform to be the same as that for one that's 7-8 years mature (depending on the market).

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Monday, April 14, 2014 @ 8:38:32 AM

true, but your forgetting first party studios would of had access to the ps4 FAR before indies would of, so first party games would of been in development far earlier.
so obviously indie games take much less time to make, especially so if there just being ported, but first party studios would of had access to dev kits far earlier allowing them to start earlier than their indie counterparts.
thus pretty much rendering the extended development time irrelevant as there starting much earlier, so at the end of the day thats no excuse for so many indie titles to be ready, and so few first party games to be ready.

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Monday, April 14, 2014 @ 6:04:22 PM

@ _______ The hardware for the PS4 wasn't finalised until around a year before launch, and it takes 2+ years to make a AAA game. Yes, first-parties had access to it earlier, but it still wouldn't be enough for them to get on top of it before launch _and_ Sony was still supporting the PS3 (as they should have been), so they could hardly have all their studios working on PS4 early. Don't forget we've had three AAA, first-party titles so far, within six months of the consoles launch - that's a pretty solid effort (and iirc better than PS3, PS2, PS1 or XB1).

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 @ 8:56:33 PM

Yeah I definitely think that they are focusing too much on indies.

I mean, the focus on indie's is definitely a good thing, for indies and for gamers, but the PS4 is lacking major titles right now. Since Infamous, what is the next major game coming out? Watch Dogs? When is the next first party title coming out?

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