The first panel on Saturday titled Playstation and Friends included developers from Galak-Z and Sportsfriends. Starting at 11 o’clock in the morning, it was the least populated panel, but shed light on the great things Sony is doing to support independent video game developers.
The panel started off with a short bio about the four on stage and quickly moved on to how 2013 has been a big year for both consoles and indie games. Playstation made a point to mention that self publishing has been available for the past 7 years, but hasn’t become a priority until recently.
A few reasons included the massive amount of paperwork, the high bar set for all consoles, and the dread of porting. Playstation assured the audience that they’ve cut down on the forms and are more than excited to work with indie devs (just tweet them). There is also a closed forum that independent developers can get access to for feedback on their game without going public and risking a poor first impression.
Why indies want to make console games was one of the first questions brought up and both developers had great answers: being more comfortable playing on consoles and the want to reach a larger audience. One of the points brought up by Sportsfriends was they feel like they can reach more of the casual audience if they publish on a console. While I believe that the majority of casual gamers are on the PC, it’s obvious that publishing on multiple platforms increases your chance of exposure.
One topic brought up multiple times was if Playstation would consider doing something like Steam’s Early Access. Their answer included some legal mumbo jumbo about “corporate messaging internal issues” but for the most part, I think they said no. Considering my own feelings on early access, paid alphas/betas, and episodic games, I hope that Playstation doesn’t follow that route.
Overall, it was a very positive way to start the day at IndieCade East 2014. As someone who hasn’t owned a Playstation in 5 years, I felt that investing money in one wouldn’t be a terrible idea.