Published on May 11th, 2013 | by David Arce2
Sony announces indie game category for PSN
This past week, SCEE’s Director of Publisher and Developer Relations Andrew Parsons revealed that the Playstation Network will receive a new category for gamers to navigate through: indie games. The new virtual filig cabinet — announced via the European Playstation Blog — is all part of Sony’s recent push to make it easier for developers to make and sell games on their platforms.
Parson’s explains that this will be “an exciting space where indie content can receive additional exposure. It’s an opportunity to showcase the best of these great games for PS3 and PS Vita — and for this to be constantly refreshed with the latest releases and promotions. It’s the first and best place to go for indie content (though of course content can still be found through the normal channels too).”
Supporting independent developers is one industry trend I can totally get behind, especially when you look back at how the indie games scene used to operate. Developers were left with few choices beyond that magical gateway into the Xbox Live Arcade, or the long, hard road of self promotion. Many games faded into obscurity with less than a whimper. Now? You can Kickstart your Greenlit game and release it on the eShop, XBLA, Steam, or PSN with comparably little trouble. With recent console and handheld launches underwhelming the public (looking at you PS Vita and Wii U), Sony is pretty wise to cater to the indie development scene before the launch of the PS4. It might not lead to a system seller, but having a plethora of cheap, small games would greatly benefit a new device. Particularly in a market where cheap iOS and Android games have seen big success despite being simple and light on the wallet.
It may be a pipe dream, but I’d like to see Sony sell indie games not just from North America and Europe, but from Japan, Korea and other regions with a developing video game scene. Microsoft’s indie game section already allowed a similar thing. Protect Me Knight from Japanese developer Ancient still stands as my favorite Xbox Live Indie Game.
There are potential worries. Sony’s newest interface for the PSN Store isn’t exactly that user friendly. I really hope they don’t end up relegating the indie games section to some obscure corner, just as Microsoft has done repeatedly to Xbox Live Indie Games. Parson’s note about content still being available through normal channels does temper this fear, however, as that would be a significant difference from Microsoft.
To celebrate the launch of the new category, Sony is offering pixelated indie game Retro City Rampage on the store at a 50% off. Could be a great excuse to pick it up, and it might mark the beginning of an even greater era for independent development. Or maybe we’ll just get some cool games. Either way is good.