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Indie Games May Be The Push Sony Needs In The Next-Gen War

With the popularity of thatgamecompany’s titles Journey and Flower on the PSN, and an overall increased interest in low-budget but fresh and original content through Valve’s Steam, Sony has shifted gears leading into the next-gen by opening the doors to the independent developer scene.

As expected, the specs for the upcoming PS4 show that it will allow for an even greater sense of realism in the graphical arena, and as a result, the cost to develop these upcoming powerhouses will expand exponentially. This higher cost is what is compelling AAA developers to take fewer risks and shut doors, (LucasArts and THQ .. you will be missed), leading to what some are calling a rehashed and predictably brown gaming future. However, independent game developers have smaller teams, smaller budgets, and are willing to take greater risks on untested gaming ideas … and Sony is really taking notice.

In the recent past, an indie dev was required to submit to a process, (dubbed the “two-stage” process), wherein through constant feedback, green lighting measures, and voting their game might have made it to PSN. All of that is now being simplified to cater to these smaller and more focused teams.

In an interview on Gamasutra, Sony’s Adam Boyes had this to say:

“… the big games are critical and important, but at the same time, the creators are always going to be born and raised out of smaller projects. So, it’s just continue to listen, and as soon as you stop listening and stop caring about them, then they go away. So we’re just going to be laser-targeted on [independent creators] for very many years“. He goes on to say that they are looking into streamlining the certification process in addition to already waiving the fees associated with minor patches.

Sony’s recent partnership with Unity to allow compiling of games created with their engine to be compatible with the PS Vita, PS3, and PS4 only solidifies their strong attention to anchor their consoles as a stable home for smaller titles. Coupled with the x86 architecture of their new system, Sony might just be aligning itself to be a stiff competitor to the PC, iOS, and Android markets as it pertains to indie games. It remains to be seen how Sony will hold at bay the bombardment of the less than stellar titles that plague the aforementioned devices, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Tags: Unity, PS4, indie, indie games

4/5/2013 12:17:14 AM Andrew Jackson

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Comments (24 posts)

Beamboom
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 1:59:13 AM
Reply

Just a minor detail, for the sake of correctness (or the sake of being anal, I guess :) ):
"Sony’s inclusion of the Unity engine in development tools on the PS Vita, PS3, and PS4 [...]"
- Unity is a development tool in itself. So it's not included in other tools, it's a complete developer suite running on Windows or Mac. When you write a game in Unity you can then choose to compile it to the target platforms of choice. It really is as easy as choosing "compile for..." and then click on the platform you want your program to run on.


Last edited by Beamboom on 4/5/2013 2:02:21 AM

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Lemon_Saint
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 2:11:56 AM

Thanks Boom!

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Lemon_Saint
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 2:25:57 AM

edited and updated ... whew!

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Beamboom
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 3:36:39 AM

Ah I am so sorry - I thought it was Ben who wrote this article. How rude of me!

Very nice first article, Andrew! And you are totally right of course, this new console is an open invitation to every indie developer in the world to enter the PS scene. I've read several indie devs complain about how Microsoft has run the show on the Xbox in regards to indie games, so if Sony now play their cards right, in addition to sitting on the best selling console, huge things can happen.
What I am particularly excited about in regards to the indie scene, is the more niche releases, the smaller, weirder concepts who may not have a broad appeal, but can be pure gold for those it does appeal to.

Last edited by Beamboom on 4/5/2013 3:51:46 AM

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Jed
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 2:10:25 AM
Reply

I think it's great for both the indie devs and Sony. The amazing indie games we've already seen on the PS3 are stellar. Just imagine how many great titles we'll see when Sony makes it even easier for them to bring games to the masses.

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Jed
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 6:22:50 PM

P.S. Congrats on you first article!

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dmiitrie
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 5:04:07 AM
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Very excited for this. Between the PSN, Steam, and Kickstarter, indie games are getting more and more of my money. So of Sony wants to make it easier for those devs, then so much the better.

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Lemon_Saint
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 6:08:49 PM

completely agree!

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Dante399
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 5:27:22 AM
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Maybe the solution is that Sony makes small project games on both smart phones and PSN. A game like Journey on Galaxy Note2 is definitely appealing.

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Simcoe
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 9:20:43 AM

Sony does have solutions for the portable, away from home market, it's called Vita; for simpler games they also have PlayStation Mobile for PlayStation Certified smart phones.

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Kryten1029a
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 7:08:30 AM
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The Adam Boyes statement is very forward looking and better yet, Sony is pursuing it in the right way. Journey was supposed to take a year but they were given the time to do it right and the care shows. A willingness to work with smaller devs on more personal games will do a lot to move games as a medium forward.

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___________
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 9:05:43 AM
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indies are the saving grace of this industry, so freaking oath they are the striking force $ony needs!
only benefit i can really see for going with x86 architecture.
big developers were not going to turn away the ps4, too large a market.
indies on the other hand.......

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trumpetmon65
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 9:07:30 AM
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demon's souls just hit on PS+ tuesday. dont care about this right. Seriously though, if sony pushed indie games even more (not that they do a bad job now from what I can tell) I would be very happy with them. I think they should get with steam for this to happen. get some games like amnesia to go online too. YEAH!

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trumpetmon65
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 9:12:07 AM
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also, such a push could mean the birth of companies like lucas arts from long long ago...

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Lemon_Saint
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 6:09:29 PM

How amazing would that be?!

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Simcoe
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 9:28:09 AM
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Great first article Lemon_Saint! Would be nice to hear some of your background and what areas of gaming interest you so we can get a sense of what kind of articles we'll be seeing from you!

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Lemon_Saint
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 6:04:41 PM

Sure thing! Allow me to preface by saying the vagueness of my reply has nothing to do with being mysterious, I just like being humble!

Professionally I do marketing, web development and design, and in my spare time I write and perform music. I have been gaming since the days of the 2600, having most of the systems I was raised with still in my collection. Because of my gaming habits over my lifetime, I tend to gravitate more towards independent titles, as they are the ones that normally showcase interesting and new ideas. The past year of gaming for me has been a testament to that. While sure, I played through the blockbusters like Uncharted 3, Tomb Raider, Batman: Arkham City, and the like, after I completed them, they just sit on my media shelf. On the other hand, I've played through indie titles like Journey, Sword &Sorcery EP, Mutant Mudds, and Super Meat Boy I couldn't tell you how many times, with each subsequent play through becoming more enjoyable. While writing for this site, I hope to concentrate more on this area of gaming, and with Sony's recent announcements, it seems like a good area to concentrate on.

That's a small bit about me. I only have a few websites in my Top Sites bookmarks, and this one has been a staple in it since I bought this computer, mostly due in part to the amazing community and reputation for no-nonsense articles this site adheres to. I am just so humbled to be a part of this team now and I am looking forward to great things in the future with you guys.

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Beamboom
Saturday, April 06, 2013 @ 1:27:58 AM

So you're gonna be the indie guy on this site then, Lemon? Now that is genius. Excellent choice by Ben.

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Simcoe
Saturday, April 06, 2013 @ 11:03:21 AM

Thanks for sharing!!

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Dustinwp
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 9:41:09 AM
Reply

@Andrew Jackson
Fantastic article, man! I enjoyed the read and think Ben has made a good decision.


In regards to the topic-

Bringing the Unity engine does nothing but expand the range of developers that will create content for the PlayStation brand. I think Sony's approach of more content combined
with their AAA franchises, spells success. The console manufacturer that streamlines the way content is delivered to their platform (I believe) will be the top dog this gen. Plus, it's a sure way to keep consoles relevant versus mobile and PC markets.



Last edited by Dustinwp on 4/5/2013 9:45:15 AM

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Lemon_Saint
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 6:02:52 PM

Thanks so much!

Last edited by Lemon_Saint on 4/5/2013 6:04:35 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 10:21:11 AM
Reply

Good article Lemon, I could tell something big was coming with indie games when Sony gave them a good chunk of time at the conference and I think it will be a major boon to have the PS4 be so accessible.

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Spore_777
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 12:02:03 PM
Reply

Totally agree... especially if the XBOX720 does indeed require net access to play games.
Here's to hoping indies get the respect they deserve.

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Underdog15
Friday, April 05, 2013 @ 12:24:03 PM

Can you imagine if it needs net access -AND- a gold live account?

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