Sony Talks About Offering Promotional Support To Indie Devs
Since the PlayStation 4 was originally revealed in Feburary this year, Sony has made it clear that they are making indie developers and games a priority in the console’s future.
Sony hasn’t yet gone into absolute specifics on its indie plan, but the company has said that anyone can develop and self-publish games on the PlayStation 4.
However, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s senior account manager Agostino Simonetta, the console manufacturer will only offer promotional support to the best indie games.
Simonetta recently told Develop attendees, via Gamasutra, that indie developrs will be in complete control of their games on PS4, right down to release date and marketing of the product.
Sony will have a support system, and will work with developers to ”discuss” various methods of game promotion. But Simonetta also made it clear that developers cannot automatically expect that Sony will definitely promote their titles on the PlayStation Store or through other social media channels.
“It depends on the objective quality of your title,” said Simonetta, who then also added that Sony will promote the titles that deserve it the most.
Very interesting is the fact that according to Simonetta, the whole submission process should take just a week before a game will be ready to ship, and this is the point where developers can choose a release date and begin marketing.
Lastly, Simonetta revealed that during the submission process, developers will be able to “opt-in” for feedback from Sony’s testers. Feedback is not mandatory, but entirely optional, and there’s no requirement to even act upon it if a developer requests it. However, for inexperienced indie developers or those unsure about their games, it should in theory be a great service to get advice from Sony themselves.
Personally, it’s not secret that I am extremely passionate about the indie scene. I play indie games all the time, promote projects I believe in, regularly talk to indie developers and follow what’s going on.
All of this sounds really excellent from Sony, and I absolutely loved the fact that the console manufacturer took such a strong interest in indie developers and made it a priority on the PS4. It’s a big part of the reason why I was in love at the PS4 reveal.
However my one and only worry at the moment is a pretty huge deal, namely the matter of quality assurance. Steam’s Greenlight was a fantastic iniative from Valve, and it really did help out many indie developers. But the big problem was that indie developers with large social circles and such could almost cheat the system and get their projects massive votes, since the voting process was entirely community driven. Also, submission was fairly easy and unmonitored, which frequently lead to over one hundred games waiting in Greenlight, making it very hard to find the gems and high quality titles.
Sony hasn’t gone into huge detail, but rather provided us with promising outlines and plans. Unfortunately, we’re only going to know how well it all works once the plan is put into action, but I’m really crossing my fingers because quality assurance and quantity control are the biggest problems for me when it comes to development freedom and self-publishing.
Off the top of my head, two strong ways to deal with the problem would be good Q&A and clear criteria for indie developers regarding what will make their game worthy of consideration. Also, the “opt-in” feedback system sounds like a great deal too.