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