Why Sony Is Focusing On Indie With The PlayStation 4

Why Sony Is Focusing On Indie With The PlayStation 4
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Sony’s press conference was something of a coming out party for indie games, but it was really the end result of years of work. Now, in the lead up to the release of the PlayStation 4, Sony is seen as the place to be for many aspiring indies. Prestige title after prestige title — your Flowers, your Sound Shapes, your Unfinished Swans — all of these games and more have positioned Sony as a driving force in the indie space.

But the defining moment may have come at E3. Multiple different indies, all set up in a line, introduced one after the other on the same show as Sony’s first party blockbusters. The message was clear: Sony is taking indie development seriously. It wants to support indie development and it wants to bring its unique experiences to the broader audience it deserves.

All noble goals, but not entirely altruistic. Sony certainly benefits from releasing prestige titles like Journey. It’s a reputation thing, and that helps attract other developers, not just small developers, larger ‘AAA’ studios too.

In our above interview with Gavin Russell, is happy to admit that Sony benefits from this kind of relationship, but believes it’s not all about Sony, it’s about expanding the audience, providing new experiences. As far as I’m concerned, Sony’s renewed commitment to indie games was one of the most important announcements at E3. I had privately hoped it would continue to invest and support these types of games, I also hoped it would have the courage to put them on stage. It was great to see Sony following through on its promise.


  • Indie developers able to self-publish on the PS4? Possibly the single best news of all of E3, and one of the driving reasons behind my wanting the console.

    • If not, you can always grab it off the US store. That’s what I did when I got sick of waiting for The Walking Dead.

    • Wasn’t a Sony issue, Shawn McGrath never submitted the game to be rated by the Classification Board…

      Do as Braaains mentioned or buy it off Steam are the only options now…

  • This is probably the biggest reason I am switching from Microsoft to Sony next generation. Even with Xbones DRM I might have been convinced to go with Microsoft if they had showed a commitment to varied gaming experiences but they seem outright hostile to indi developers and I really don’t get it because they used to be the home of indi games on console.

      • Possibly. They’ve committed to having ‘some kind of system’ in place to support indie submissions, but no word or idea on what that is yet. Given the really horrible and fractured post-reveal messaging, it’s entirely possible that the right people don’t know if something is in the works or if simply no-one thought it would be as big a deal as it has turned out to be, and they got caught with their pants down.

        Everything they do is about ‘managing your experience’, and I have no doubt that restricting indies from self-publishing on their ‘legit’ front-end store (which is really the place for AAA in their eyes) is totally in line with ‘managing’ a certain quality experience.

        I work in government. One of the things you learn early on is: Never attribute to malice (or conspiracy) what you can attribute to incompetence. Big organizations really can be that ham-fisted.

        Benefit of the doubt on indie-related policies aside, it’s all a non-issue for me. I’d rather manage my own experience, thanks. So, no xbone for me.

  • It’s also a really cheap and elegant way around that post-release drought that always happens, where they release a new system and the launch games are all out but there’s a several month gap before the second wave of releases is ready.

    • Ditto, I’ve probably bought four or five indie games my entire life, and barely played them enough to remember which ones. It’s not a selling point for me at all. I’d think self publishing would open you up to all sorts of utter trash in your store too, just like on my phone.

  • Microsoft want £10000 for each upload to the xbox live store sony charge them nothing just a slice of what they sell. why would a small developer on a limited budget pay microsoft when he can publish his game for nothing with sony and save money.

  • Go the indies. It really makes sense – they encourage startup devs to have a go and publish on the PSN. Then, when sales are in and critical acclaim is lavished upon them, they invest heavily, flash a 3 game exclusivity deal, and reap that sweet high-return income from digital sales.
    It’s certainly not altruistic, but so what? Everyone ends up happy. It’s genius.

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