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Sony's Indie Love-in: Why their Gamescom Strategy was Legit

Amir0x

Banned


As in my previous discussion topics, the goal of this topic is to inspire engaging back and forth about what these events mean within the industry. So I hope this topic can do that as well.

At Gamescom, like E3, one of the pivotal take aways has been that Sony is genuinely in love with the indie community. Why does Sony keep highlighting a minimal amount of their 'first year exclusive 20 titles' when they have massive AAA titles within that pipeline that can further their strategic advantage over Microsoft? "Why," the argument goes, "doesn't Sony just put the final nail in the coffin?"

famousmortimer has several times throughout the course of Gamescom offered an extremely logical and rational argument for why it continues to make no sense to just blow their load on announcements when Sony continues to maintain a massive advantage in mindshare and when so many games are already there for the guaranteed sell out first few months. You can read those arguments right here.

But this is only part of the equation.

First off, it must be said at this point that it's rather confusing to keep track of what constitutes one of the first year exclusives anymore for either Xbox One or PS4, these companies aren't as clear on the subject as one might hope, so there's a bit of conjecture about what counts and what doesn't. That said, they announced some projects at Gamescom that may count:

● Resogun
● Shadow of the Beast
● Rime
● Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
● Helldivers

(thanks satam55 for the Helldivers reminded)

So, as an optional side discussion, if people want to chime in on what the current list of 20 first year Sony WWS exclusives are given the Gamescom announcements, be my guest. I'm starting to have difficulty tracking what counts anymore lol.

Before the discussion to follow, it is worth noting that Sony's strategy continues to be a mixture of what it has always been and something new - their wildly diverse first party offerings intertwined with sound partnerships that continue to remain unmatched in terms of sheer variety. This is an important quality to Sony platforms and we continue to see this play out on PS4. What has changed over the course of the PS3 gen til now is that with PS4 these first party experiences are being integrally linked up with a likewise trend that also focuses on such variety and risk taking: the indie development community. Within this community are the people who often have grand ideas that a publisher would NEVER take the risk on, and yet because they exist, the gaming ecosystem is certainly healthier due to it.

The reason this is important for us will be explained in an argument I intend to further here. Many are obvious, but there will be points I'm sure people disagree with and that's why I feel this is a good place to discuss them. Is Sony's indie strategy appropriate when so much is on the line versus Xbox One? Is it right that indie games keep being treated like second class citizens in terms of how 'excited' the overall community seems to get about them versus those big budget AAA games? Why is this the case?

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A LOW BARRIER ECOSYSTEM
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One of the key advantages of having such a huge and diverse indie lineup, apart from the already noted enhancement of variety, is price.

Complaining about prices in the gaming community is so common place it's practically a joke at this point. "Oh my God, they're going to try to charge $69.99 for that!? It's only 8 hours long! It doesn't even have multiplayer!" "Oh bloody hell, I gotta pay $60 for this game and then there's day one DLC I also have to pay for?" And so on and so forth. The take away is that consumers in this industry, just like any other, are seeking out deals and are sensitive to prices that seem unfair given competitor's offerings.

In a world where indies are released on a gaming ecosystem that doesn't distinguish between AAA releases and indie games in the traditional sense, prices run the entire gamut. Indie games almost never cost as much as a retail game. They vary wildly in terms of content for the price you pay, but you can find things for 99 cents and you can find things for $60 and every range in between. In short, it's a range that is accommodating for the widest potential range of economic situations. But there is something else that indie games accommodate that is also music to the ears of many gamers in this community.
_____________________________________

IDIOSYNCRATIC IDEAS FOR IDIOSYNCRATIC TASTES
_____________________________________



One of the consequences of the "AAA" game environment is the expectations game. AAA games are often expected to go through a veritable checklist of "dos" before you can even try to be competitive. Are the visuals featuring the most cutting edge technical effects? Is there an online multiplayer mode? Is the single player game length 6-8 hours?

As a result, there becomes a homogenization of the game design process. The top selling games frequently feature similar gameplay or ideas, offer similar modes and level of content, and the level of variety amongst the top sellers is, overall, significantly smaller than the overall potential variety allowed by the creativity of game designers and the desires of game players.

Indie games do not share these expectations. In fact, there are virtually no expectations at all. Indie games can be absolutely anything, feature the widest potential range of visual ideas and experiments and gameplay so distinctive that the niche it fills is only a couple tens of thousands of people large. And yet, due to the smaller budgets, some indie devs are able to make a small profit selling even that amount.

Take a look at Sony's PS4 indie announcements at Gamescom, which you can see here:

● Assault Android Cactus (Witch Beam)
● Fez (Polytron Corporation, also on PS3)
● Final Horizon (Eiconic Games)
● Guns of Icarus Online (Muse Games)
● Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital)
● N++ (Metanet)
● Rogue Legacy (Cellar Door Games)
● Samurai Gunn (Teknopants)
● Starbound (Chucklefish)
● Switch Galaxy Ultra (Atomicom)
● The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Nicalis)
● Velocity 2X (FuturLab)
● Volume (Mike Bithell)
● Wasteland Kings (Vlambeer)

Go ahead and click on any of these links. I specifically went out and scoured the web for a special link for each game that explains elements that are contained within and usually have media. These games - announced at one single show - demonstrate a shocking level of variety. There are games which have extremely gorgeous visuals - check out Switch Galaxy Ultra, very smooth looking - and games which have far more simplistic and low fidelity sprite work. There are games which are in genres that haven't been popular for years, decades even!

It goes without saying no two people share exactly the same tastes. Even for two people who share mostly everything in common, you will still find occasionally there is something you like that the other person doesn't. Because AAA games are so focused on netting the widest possible group of people, their modes are made to suit the widest arena of possible tastes. But what about the many people who don't fall within those walls? What about a market that increasingly marginalizes niche titles in the physical retail space? Indie games allow idiosyncratic tastes to be met by similarly idiosyncratic ideas.

Why many of these offerings - if not all of them - will be available for under $20. Do they demonstrate the ABSOLUTE FULL TILT of your PS4? No. There are 20 first year exclusives for that, 30 total PS4 games in development amongst which are huge hitters some which will be unveiled at the VGAs this year. We are an impatient lot, I understand we want to know them all now. But to what end? Along with the obvious argument made by famousmortimer earlier, which you should read, there is another reason this strategy is smart. And it's not necessarily the one which impacts us the most.

_____________________________________

GET ON STAGE AND TAKE A BOW
_____________________________________



There was an amazing post I was reading from our very own Paz, a gamer who is currently hard at work with a very small team making Assault Android Cactus. I will quote the relevant part:

Paz said:
Shahid contacted us a short time after we had started the process (well before we were licensed devs) and made time in his personal time to skype with me and talk about the game, he and his team played and loved it and wanted to help us however they could! I was kind of taken aback when he was like "Oh lets just send you guys some dev hardware, I'll get Lorenzo to do that" when we weren't even real PlayStation developers yet, and then they offered to feature footage of us at Gamescom and include is in their PR/Blog even though we had no exclusive arrangements!

There is another important element behind the scenes in all this that people who are insatiable, like we gamers are, find it difficult to grasp at times.

AAA developers really don't need the stage time. Indie developers do. Sony can set up a potential reveal at any time for its major products and it'd be big news. Indie developers have to struggle to have their voices heard, have to hope their good ideas rise above the crop and justify their efforts. I cannot imagine a more worthwhile effort, as a member of one of the greatest gaming message boards on the internet, than to try to get the names of our fellow gamers with big ideas out in the big lights.

I'm sure everyone has heard at one time or another the debates about the health of the industry. Is the increasingly limited variety of the most major AAA titles suffocating the market? Where have all the jRPGs gone on consoles (to the 3DS, duh!)? Highlighting the impressive efforts of smaller indie developers allows the industry to display the endless potential gaming has to offer with their left hand while simultaneously catering to the AAA markets with their right. In short, forcing the market to at least observe the wild variety that is out there leads to a market that in time may find they have a taste for that variety. Who could have ever predicted a game like Minecraft would sell 20 million copies?

But more than that, on a simple emotional level, isn't this a wonderful thing? Shouldn't we as gamers be extremely happy that these major corporations like Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony (and PC places like Steam) are reaching out to these indie developers and lifting them up, providing them platforms, giving them support, helping them achieve their dreams? Shouldn't we as GAFers be proud that people like Paz, who work so hard to share their wonderful ideas with likeminded gamers, have a place to take the stage and bow?

_____________________________________

TODAY'S INDIE DEV IS TOMORROW'S AAA DEV
_____________________________________

Another point to make is that indie devs don't always stay indie devs. Sometimes they make a great hit, they expand, and they bring with them their ideals that brought them that success in the first place. Other times individuals within those indie devs take their experience, are hired in AAA teams, and also bring their fresh takes to the table. In a way, you can say that allowing this indie ecosystem to thrive provides a potential road to broadening the AAA market.

As I've already gone over why I personally believe this is a good thing, I won't repeat the ideas here. But it is important to note for those that tend to think indie games are all black and white and sketchy art styles and SNES sprite work and that they'd never appeal to them that indie developers may indeed have an idea that DOES appeal to them, and the only way this potential can ever be realizes is if there is a market that can first support their unique and personalized gaming ideas.

The gaming market is incredibly self-destructive, as anyone who has seen the endless array of company closures this past gen can attest to. There are countless examples of bad ideas, bad management and even worse market readings. To counter this corrosive environment, new ideas and fresh approaches to running game teams are required. The only way we can have a game industry that allows such people to realistically have a shot at entering into our space and entertaining us (even if you're one of those people who -only- play AAA games) is if we give them a lower barrier of entry. This is why Microsoft's "every Xbox One is a dev kit" is a brilliant idea, and why the low-to-no cost barrier of One and PS4 dev kits is a step in the right direction.

Now, it's going to take a while before the market fully develops into this potential. But it has to start somewhere, and Sony and Microsoft and Nintendo being so opening to these fellow gamers is a great place to start.

_____________________________________

DISCUSS
_____________________________________

More than anything, I feel as if lately I've come across a rather disturbing mood amongst some posts - like Monumental's post I linked in one of my opening paragraphs - that somehow indie games are "lesser" than AAA products, that they shouldn't be given the same attention and that somehow these can't be held up as reasons to own a platform. A far more sound argument to me is that so many of these products are also on PC, but why should that matter? If you want to play the games on PC, play them on PC! We should be celebrating the expansion of platforms, no denouncing them. But certainly, I can understand that type of game not being a SYSTEM SELLER if you have a PC that plays them. That said, there are indie products that are now PS4 or XBO only, and yet I've still seen the same types of arguments against them. Why does Everybody's Gone to the Rapture not deserve the same attention as Battlefield 4? Sure, it's not going to sell five trillion units, but who cares? Isn't it about the quality of the games in the end?

Anyway, I've posed many questions throughout this discussion, and I've made some points of my own as to why I think this focus is great. But what do you think?
 

Ninja Dom

Member
Welcome back,

I always hoped N++ would be a follow up to N+



Good games deserve attention regardless of budget! Of course the budget that comes with blockbuster retail games also usually includes some mad advertising and promotional push.

But as long as the game journos keep their minds open to indie games then they can give them adequate or more space in their publications. But...money hats and all...
 

Riki

Member
I think it's pretty amazing that these giant companies are seeking out these tiny teams with maybe a dozen people on them to make games for their systems.
Really hope this trend not only continues, but thrives.
Indie games definitely will always have a good place in the industry. They're the perfect diversion from all the AAA(A) games that can grow tiresome after a while.
Also glad that these companies are incentivising the developers and making it easier and cheaper to get their works out there. Free dev kits, programing tools, help with system works. It's a good time to be an indie developer, honestly.
 
Sony's approach to indies has made me so happy. With the exception of a select few studios, I've gotten so sick of the AAA mindset. I'm so happy to see this generation is off to an early start by including some extremely unique and fun looking games. And I completely agree that AAA devs don't need stage time. People are going to know Call of Duty exists. They're going to know Assassin's Creed exists. Halo. Gran Turismo. Those are all a given. But Octodad? Assault Android Cactus? Rime? I had no idea what these games were. I'd never heard of them, and Sony brought them into my life by giving them stage time and press coverage.
 
I was never a big fan of psn games but after stuff like Rime, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Galak Z and Velocity 2X I can safely say there are more Indie titles that I want to play on the PS4 than launch titles. I really hope we see bigger indie productions and along with some Japanese third parties, they form a pseudo middle tier for games in terms of price.
 
Sony's approach to indies has made me so happy. With the exception of a select few studios, I've gotten so sick of the AAA mindset. I'm so happy to see this generation is off to an early start by including some extremely unique and fun looking games.

I am getting tired of a lot of AAA games. A lot tend to be either the same or copying each other. I hate how all shooters are COD clones now.

And we are severely missing games on certain genres. I miss games like Raiden X or top down beat em ups. Indie games tend to cover more of the genres we rarely have.

I think Indies will be the return of the mid tier, but much stronger.
 
I disagree that Sony continue's to have a massive mindshare advantage. Not sure if that's considered off topic in here, but that's how I feel, and I could explain it further.
 

The Flash

Banned
I hope that this new direction that MS is trying to take with indies will eventually lead to the games you listed above coming to Xbox. Even if I personally don't like or have no interest in half of them, I'd want them to be there for the sake of variety and a bigger richer marketplace experience. Whose to say if any of these games will come to Xbox but one can hope. Maybe MS's new CEO can slap the Xbox higher ups around a little bit and make them get their act together but who's to say? It'll be interesting to see what happens. In the mean time I hope you PS4 guys and gals enjoy these indie games.
 
nice amirox , is great that indie dev got time like that to show a little bit of their game the best game ive played lately have been made by indie i cant wait to play Android Cactus, rime and Galak Z
 

satam55

Banned
.

First off, it must be said at this point that it's rather confusing to keep track of what constitutes one of the first year exclusives anymore for either Xbox One or PS4, these companies aren't as clear on the subject as one might hope, so there's a bit of conjecture about what counts and what doesn't. That said, they announced some projects at Gamescom that may count:

● Resogun
● Shadow of the Beast
● Rime
● Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

So, as an optional side discussion, if people want to chime in on what the current list of 20 first year Sony WWS exclusives are given the Gamescom announcements, be my guest. I'm starting to have difficulty tracking what counts anymore lol.

You forgot to put "Helldivers" on that list.
 

kadotsu

Banned
It is all true and really awesome. Indies could finally solve the software drought problem consoles traditionally have had after the "launch window". Sony, however, still needs to proof that they can promote indie games when it matters. In their store, after launch, they have a good edge with cross buy (even over Steam) but stuff like indie bundles and "out of ecosystem" type promotions, like buying the PS4 version of an indie game from amazon still need to happen.
 
The whole reason why I envy PC gaming is not the high-end graphics capabilities (those are sweet though), it is the thriving and innovative indie scene instead.

If Sony is really looking to bridge the gap between amazing PC indie titles (Chivalry, Day Z, Don't Starve, Routine, Minecraft, Spelunky, etc) onto the Playstation ecosystem, then PS4 and Vita are truly the gaming platforms I am most suited for as the price, capabilities and dev support would be hitting all the right notes.
 
I always figured they push indies because they are cheap to moneyhat, and any one of them could be the 'next mindcraft' and make them a ton in return.

and yeah, it fills out the release calendar between major titles.
 

Guevara

Member
It's great what they are doing.

If I can voice one frustration it's the time it takes to port these games. It's their Achilles heel and I don't know if it's due to small indie teams or Sony or lower priorities. Spelunky was delayed, Terraria is delayed as is Lone Survivor, Starbound won't be started until the PC version comes out, etc. I still buy games like this and I'm glad we get them, but it puts a damper on the program and probably hinders sales.
 
Sony should definitely make Cross buy mandatory for PS3/PS4/Vita games. In the end the indie developers are selling the same game and they can avoid dividing the playerbase, treat them all as one. It will also be a bigger sales incentive and be great for consumers. It's a great play from Apple.
 
Indie games are a great source of low cost, original and even innovative ideas, but the problem is the cater to a niche audience right now. It's great that Sony internally makes a great effort to keep them in mind for many of the reasons you posted, but from a business standpoint and trying to launch a system, it's a wrong focus to put forth publicly the way they focused on it at Gamescom. Sony hasn't won anything yet and if they want to take back this generation, they still need the AAA focus in order to gain the mass market audience.
 

Amir0x

Banned
I disagree that Sony continue's to have a massive mindshare advantage. Not sure if that's considered off topic in here, but that's how I feel, and I could explain it further.

It's not technically off topic since I mentioned it in my OP and it's definitely personal editorializing on my post. However, given the results of essentially every poll ever taken about the subject, the massively lopsided mood amongst the gaming community (which still persists despite Microsoft's positive changes, although obviously it's not quite as bad) and the endless reports of how MS is still getting stomped in pre-order numbers, I don't know how else to label it. Is there something else we're using to measure mindshare since obviously neither system is out yet?
 

Bundy

Banned
My man!
What a great OP.
I agree. It's quite shocking if I remember that most of SONY's 1st Party AAA games and 2nd Party AAA games haven't even been announced yet.
And a lot of their big studios have 2 teams already.
 

Amir0x

Banned
Marty Chinn said:
It's great that Sony internally makes a great effort to keep them in mind for many of the reasons you posted, but from a business standpoint and trying to launch a system, it's a wrong focus to put forth publicly the way they focused on it at Gamescom.

But they didn't just focus on them. They continue to maintain an extremely powerful launch in sheer potential big movers terms, and their first party lineup - Knack, Driveclub, Killzone - offer a little something for every age group. Third parties filled in the rest of the gap. Exactly how many games do you believe is too many before it becomes pointless? There are like 20 games launching for XBO and PS4. Do you genuinely believe they should add more? What good would that do? Sony has more AAA products in development than Microsoft, they simply have chosen to let other types of games have the spotlight while it still remains pointless to showcase the others due to limited first few months of allotment.
 

Amir0x

Banned
Isn't Helldivers a Sony-developed game?

I think so, but that original 5 games wasn't meant to be a list of indie games, but a list of games Sony announced from their studios or with close partnerships with their studios. The next list you see in the OP with the large group of games is the indie list.
 
My man!
What a great OP.
I agree. It's quite shocking if I remember that most of SONY's 1st Party AAA games and 2nd Party AAA games haven't even been announced yet.
And a lot of their big studios have 2 teams already.

Sony has a huge luxury here. There's already a fervor with no ND, SSM, MM titles announced for it. They don't have to spread their units sold thin for their huge franchises just to launch the console, and the indies they get onto the platform, rather cheaply I might add, are going to be thrilled with 10K or more digital sales. Next year, they'll have some major 1st party titles to hit when their install base is more than 5M.
 

Ricky_R

Member
I also see this strategy as a way for Sony to keep a close eye on these developers to see if they can find some future potential for a proper PS4 game and a possible contract.

Great thread btw.
 
But they didn't just focus on them. They continue to maintain an extremely powerful launch in sheer potential big movers terms, and their first party lineup - Knack, Driveclub, Killzone - offer a little something for every age group. Third parties filled in the rest of the gap. Exactly how many games do you believe is too many before it becomes pointless? There are like 20 games launching for XBO and PS4. Do you genuinely believe they should add more? What good would that do? Sony has more AAA products in development than Microsoft, they simply have chosen to let other types of games have the spotlight while it still remains pointless to showcase the others due to limited first few months of allotment.

But they did focus on it. Their press conference was pretty much geared toward Indie development announcements and not a single new big budget game was announced. I think they could have definitely had several Indie games shown, but also show something on the other end.

As great of a job as Sony has done, their first party launch line up has been a weak link. I think there's a strong argument that favors Microsoft for having the better exclusives at launch. So I think you need to keep pushing that there's a continuous flow of major first party or exclusives coming down the line to further strengthen that the library will be solid early on and in the near future.

Microsoft gave Sony a bit of breathing room based on their idiotic moves, but doing something like they did at Gamescom with a focus on Indie games sort of does not take advantage of that gap and gives Microsoft more time and more room to come even or even pull ahead.
 
Sony has a huge luxury here. There's already a fervor with no ND, SSM, MM titles announced for it. They don't have to spread their units sold thin for their huge franchises just to launch the console, and the indies they get onto the platform, rather cheaply I might add, are going to be thrilled with 10K or more digital sales. Next year, they'll have some major 1st party titles to hit when their install base is more than 5M.

See, this is what I think the case is. Sony doesn't have anything else any time soon, and they need to rely on Indies to fill in the gap. It's certainly good to have in your corner to at least help with the slow period, but it also speaks volumes on where everything else is at.
 
See, this is what I think the case is. Sony doesn't have anything else any time soon, and they need to rely on Indies to fill in the gap. It's certainly good to have in your corner to at least help with the slow period, but it also speaks volumes on where everything else is at.

What does Microsoft have to offer to fill the gaps?
 

chogidogs

Member
Don't want to take away anything from Sony but promoting indies is also a good way to delay announcing any more first party titles than they have to.
 

Bundy

Banned
See, this is what I think the case is. Sony doesn't have anything else any time soon, and they need to rely on Indies to fill in the gap. It's certainly good to have in your corner to at least help with the slow period, but it also speaks volumes on where everything else is at.
Who says that? You?
They already said at E3 what you can expect from them in 2014.
A lot of their studios already have 2+ years development time behind them and haven't announced anyting. There is PAX, VGA's, their japanese PlayStation Meeting, TGS, etc.
SONY's already announced 1st Party Games, exclusive Indie Games, exclusive F2P games, etc. are a big PLUS for them, at launch. And don't forget the price advantage.
 
I disagree that Sony continue's to have a massive mindshare advantage. Not sure if that's considered off topic in here, but that's how I feel, and I could explain it further.
I think it's purely based on pre-order numbers...there's no way of knowing what the general gaming audience/public will feel until the consoles are launch no matter how good your pre-launch events goes. But generally speaking, websites in the U.S has been more favorable to PS4, and it will be really hard for MS in certain foreign markets, so U.S/UK is a very important deciding factor for the two boxes.
 

Thorakai

Member
Not just Sony, but all the major players in the console space need to do more to blur the line between indie games and retail (AAA or not) releases. It's great that Sony has been aggressively pursuing the indie market, but I'm not a fan of how the games are being lumped together during their unveiling. These games should be given the chance to breathe and stand on their own merits instead of being a small part of Sony's indie game strategy portion of the presentation. I'm have no trouble keeping track of AAA releases even if I have no interest in the game, but it hasn't been so easy to figure out what indie games are coming out and their gameplay premise. I hope that this shotgun approach to indie game unveiling is only a temporary strategy to start off the PS4 hype by instilling a "so many games!" mindset. In the future maybe hold off on revealing games that obviously won't be releasing soon and alternate between retail/indie/retail/indie/etc. reveals for major conferences.
 

Amir0x

Banned
But they did focus on it. Their press conference was pretty much geared toward Indie development announcements and not a single new big budget game was announced. I think they could have definitely had several Indie games shown, but also show something on the other end.

I'm not so sure that's correct, although I'm a bit incredulous to say so completely since I don't know what your definition of 'big budget' is. Shadow of the Beast and Rime were both announced, both of these games are being done with a relatively sizable budget of multiple millions, although I suppose if we're defining AAA only by games that are budgeted like Halo or Battlefield, then we'd be limiting the discussion even further and would have to exclude even most of the XBO and PS4 launch games :p

As always, it's a bit about perspective, a bit personal interpretation, but I would say that given that Sony is trying hard enough to supply launch demand, there's no reason to go and reveal more than this, considering they're going to continue to come up against a company like Microsoft which will outspend them hard in marketing bucks. For Sony, these games are their ace in the hole and their trump cards, because Microsoft has never been able to match their output. And Sony knows this. Strategically, it's been brilliantly done.

As great of a job as Sony has done, their first party launch line up has been a weak link. I think there's a strong argument that favors Microsoft for having the better exclusives at launch. So I think you need to keep pushing that there's a continuous flow of major first party or exclusives coming down the line to further strengthen that the library will be solid early on and in the near future.

Microsoft gave Sony a bit of breathing room based on their idiotic moves, but doing something like they did at Gamescom with a focus on Indie games sort of does not take advantage of that gap and gives Microsoft more time and more room to come even or even pull ahead.

I don't really think there are strong arguments that Microsoft's is much better at all. If anything, amongst the lineup, they both have games that have been heavily criticized and games that are starting to come into their own and be praised again (see Ryse vs. DriveClub, both games heavily criticized for their bumpy first hands on showings, both games which are now starting to get real positive buzz). Microsoft i would say has a slight advantage in first party games at launch, because they simply have one or two more of their first party games there, but considering the launches are basically identical third party wise outside of that, and considering Sony also has some exclusive indie games of their own during this time, I'd say it's extremely close and comes down squarely to personal taste. Therefore, it's pointless to try to suggest something like this in any definitive fashion.

My argument is that it is pointless for even Microsoft to have as many games as they do now. Hell, I'd argue it's pointless for even SONY to have as many launch games as they do now. These games are going to be selling to an absolutely miniscule audience. Better wait for your big guns when there's an actual audience. See: inFamous.
 
Indie games almost never cost as much as a full game.
I would change 'full' to 'retail' as it kind of undermines your point about indie games being treated like second class citizens. ;)

Still reading through, good thread Amir0x.
 
See, this is what I think the case is. Sony doesn't have anything else any time soon, and they need to rely on Indies to fill in the gap. It's certainly good to have in your corner to at least help with the slow period, but it also speaks volumes on where everything else is at.

I don't see why you're interpreting that as a negative. It's deliberately their strategy to not unleash too many AAA games (think 10M and higher budget) until the install base is high and units actually start sitting on shelves. Right now, according to FM (linked in OP), Sony thinks they'll sell every unit through March. And infamous launches in February. No reason to start unleashing those system sellers until there's actually systems on the shelf to sell.
 

Nafai1123

Banned
See, this is what I think the case is. Sony doesn't have anything else any time soon, and they need to rely on Indies to fill in the gap. It's certainly good to have in your corner to at least help with the slow period, but it also speaks volumes on where everything else is at.

We don't even know their plans for the rest of the year, other than the fact they have many titles left unnannounced and Infamous is supposed to come out in February. I think it's more a matter of being front loaded vs. dispersed throughout the year. I have no doubt Sony 1st party is going to bring it hard going into holiday 2014.

It seems like they are happy with the pre-order numbers. I don't really see the point of reveiling your heavy hitters set to release later this year when you have more than enough customer willing to buy the product now. Reveal them later to bring in even more buyers later in the year.
 

Y2Kev

TLG Fan Caretaker Est. 2009
But they did focus on it. Their press conference was pretty much geared toward Indie development announcements and not a single new big budget game was announced. I think they could have definitely had several Indie games shown, but also show something on the other end.

As great of a job as Sony has done, their first party launch line up has been a weak link. I think there's a strong argument that favors Microsoft for having the better exclusives at launch. So I think you need to keep pushing that there's a continuous flow of major first party or exclusives coming down the line to further strengthen that the library will be solid early on and in the near future.

Microsoft gave Sony a bit of breathing room based on their idiotic moves, but doing something like they did at Gamescom with a focus on Indie games sort of does not take advantage of that gap and gives Microsoft more time and more room to come even or even pull ahead.

I've yet to really see articulated the value of first party at launch. Traditionally, we've seen first parties put out one or two titles often of dubious quality and step back. Year 1 is when first parties have historically taken over--Mario galaxy, gears of war, uncharted, etc. Except for Wii, which appears to be a strong outlier in the modern era, isn't it better to rely on third parties who will be launching with multimillion selling franchises like battlefield, call of duty, assassins creed, etc? Why send your lambs to the slaughter? Complicating this is that supply is usually limited as well, so your ability to sell hardware on software is limited.

That said, this is where I think the indie strategy makes sense. I like small plates when I eat. Not that I don't enjoy a steak now and then, but to me tapas are clearly superior. This is an 8 year long meal that will be thematically and mechanically filled by Sony with smaller titles.

And why are people going on and on about "no big budget games" announced? So what? Doesn't Rime look incredible? Doesn't Rapture look incredible? Why are we even talking about budgets? Have we become that self destructive as a hobby that we're now more interested in cost than content? In explosions than experience?

The whole tone of the discussion is somewhat upsetting to me and I'm sorry it's framed this way. But eventually it won't be because more studios will close and this will probably be what's left over.

Edit: amirox beat me.
 

McSpidey

Member
Great post!

I think this is a case of perceived loss simply due to the volume of indie games being made now. If you look at the math it's only natural that the market supports 10+ indie games for every AAA title. And given all the studio closures there is now a talent pool to support it.

Supply and demand. There is such a huge influx of newly formed game developers right now, all with their unique but professional histories and some of them will be producing very high quality games, much higher than you may expect in all sorts of varieties. If you're a platform holder right now your only choice is to grab hold and hang on right..or risk getting nothing.

Respect and audience is the currency indies seek from a platform holder. If you offer one and not the other they'll simply look elsewhere. More than anything Sony's indie play shows how well they're executing which in companies this large usually means there is a high degree of trust in the decisions being made.

That these decisions are producing policies that resonate with indie developers seeking respect speaks volumes and for me it turns into an increased level of trust and excitement on what to expect from them this generation. Good work, keep it up :)
 

Amir0x

Banned
I would change 'full' to 'retail' as it kind of undermines your point about indie games being treated like second class citizens. ;)

Still reading through, good thread Amir0x.

hahaha, you're absolutely right. You see it seeps into even my thinking lol
 
What does Microsoft have to offer to fill the gaps?

Initially, a stronger exclusive line up. A stronger initial launch line up can carry you a bit further. I haven't looked to see what's in the 1st quarter and beyond yet. It doesn't negate the point though when you focus soley on Sony.

Who says that? You?
They already said at E3 what you can expect from them in 2014.
A lot of their studios already have 2+ years development time behind them and haven't announced anyting. There is PAX, VGA's, their japanese PlayStation Meeting, TGS, etc.
SONY's already announced 1st Party Games, exclusive Indie Games, exclusive F2P games, etc. are a big PLUS for them, at launch. And don't forget the price advantage.

I say that as speculation on what their message is saying in between the lines. I'm not saying it for a fact; I'm saying that's how it comes off. We have Infamous in 1st Quarter 2014 assuming it doesn't get delayed, but outside of that, it really feels like we're not going to see anything big for at least 6 months and maybe until Fall.

I'm not saying Sony doesn't have the overall edge right now; I'm saying they shouldn't waste the advantage if they can help it. Things change so quickly in this industry and we've already seen how things can drastically change in the matter of weeks.

What I would like to see is a steady drip of information and announcements that keep you constantly excited. I think focusing on Indie games sort of dampened that a bit because it caters more to a niche audience than the mainstream right now. You could have had a good focus on it, but still had an announcement or tease, or something to excite at Gamescom so that both audiences are excited. Regardless of what people think about how great Indie games are, clearly there are plenty of people who felt turned off by the focus on it at the press conference.
 

Victrix

*beard*
Indie development is the future lifeblood of the industry, it creates a healthy churn of new ideas at non-megabudget prices, and influences future blockbuster design.

Some of the best selling and most influential games on the PC came from modders, and while that scene took a big hit in the face of DLC and unfriendly mod tools, more friendly development tools and new funding models have given us a new renaissance of really great indie games.

I'm very curious to see if Sony or MS embrace any sort of Greenlight style development model, or even allow 'beta' (a depreciated word) software to be sold and actively developed.

One thing though - from a consumer standpoint, I have zero interest in any sort of exclusivity. I don't care what platform the game is on, and there are rarely any good reasons for a game to be exclusive besides moneyhats. I wonder what sort of licensing agreements indie devs will have to get to publish on their platforms.

Another issue - I'm rapidly growing weary of double dipping, I'd be very interested to see one-price-fits-all purchases, that would be an *enormous* value-add for me. Even if its only in the same family, it'd be sweet as hell to get PS4-Vita-PC versions for one price (I'd probably even pay a little more for a 'global' key over a solo key... just not triple the price).

Similarly, online accounts for multiplayer games are another issue, when progression is involved. I was very happy to see the new Call of Duty will have platform agnostic accounts, which means I can play on my 360, my PS4, my bone, my friends PC, whatever, and I'll still have my same dude no matter where I go. That sort of online universality is wonderful from, again, a consumer perspective, but I'm not so sure that tiny indie devs will have the muscle to get MS and Sony to agree to share users.
 
I've yet to really see articulated the value of first party at launch. Traditionally, we've seen first parties put out one or two titles often of dubious quality and step back. Year 1 is when first parties have historically taken over--Mario galaxy, gears of war, uncharted, etc. Except for Wii, which appears to be a strong outlier in the modern era, isn't it better to rely on third parties who will be launching with multimillion selling franchises like battlefield, call of duty, assassins creed, etc? Why send your lambs to the slaughter? Complicating this is that supply is usually limited as well, so your ability to sell hardware on software is limited.

That said, this is where I think the indie strategy makes sense. I like small plates when I eat. Not that I don't enjoy a steak now and then, but to me tapas are clearly superior. This is an 8 year long meal that will be thematically and mechanically filled by Sony with smaller titles.

And why are people going on and on about "no big budget games" announced? So what? Doesn't Rime look incredible? Doesn't Rapture look incredible? Why are we even talking about budgets? Have we become that self destructive as a hobby that we're now more interested in cost than content? In explosions than experience?

The whole tone of the discussion is somewhat upsetting to me and I'm sorry it's framed this way. But eventually it won't be because more studios will close and this will probably be what's left over.

Edit: amirox beat me.

Well said. Ubisoft is in fact in a great position to capitalize on people with new systems hungry for titles. I know I'll be getting Watch Dogs and AC IV.
 
Sony may hasve a really good indie strategy, but they need a better strategy with mainstream publishers. They lag behind MS in that regard.
 

Bundy

Banned
And why are people going on and on about "no big budget games" announced? So what? Doesn't Rime look incredible? Doesn't Rapture look incredible?
Everybody is gone to the Rapture will actually be bigger than an "ordinary" indie game.
 
Great post am. I wrote something similar on my blog.

What I find funny is that the people who say "I don't care about indie games, I want big games" don't seem to understand is that indie games don't mean there won't be big games as well. What did microsoft show at gamescom? The same exact shit they showed at E3. What did Sony show at gamescom? The same exact shit as E3 and tons of new indie games. How is adding tons of new indie games a bad strategy compared to adding nothing new at all...?


If you only like AAA games - fine. You'll get them on whatever system you purchase. Sony is differentiating itself with the breadth of games available. This doesn't somehow invalidate the big games they do have coming...
 
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