PlayStation’s big focus on independent games started with what purpose?

It's been more than two years since Sony launched the PlayStation Indies division to curate and promote indie games for PlayStation consoles. , and entrusted the leadership of this important department to one of its most experienced and famous colleagues, Shuhei Yoshida. Yoshida has now spoken a bit about the company's plan for the division's mission in the future of PlayStation.

BingMag.com PlayStation’s big focus on independent games started with what purpose?

It's been more than two years since Sony launched the PlayStation Indies division to curate and promote indie games for PlayStation consoles. , and entrusted the leadership of this important department to one of its most experienced and famous colleagues, Shuhei Yoshida. Yoshida has now spoken a bit about the company's plan for the division's mission in the future of PlayStation.

During a conversation with Christopher Dring during GI Live: London a few weeks ago, Yoshida emphasized that the initiative It was already in its planning stages when he joined the group working on it. The goal of this new division is to make PlayStation the best place to develop, find, and play great indie games.

Shohei Yoshida explains: In the early days of PlayStation 4, PlayStation stood out because of its promotion and prominence. It was made by many well-known independent games and developers. During 2018 and 2019, the company's focus shifted more towards high-end games (AAA games), and Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan decided to change that."

BingMag.com PlayStation’s big focus on independent games started with what purpose?

In mid-2019; Jim Ryan asked Michael Pattison, vice president of PlayStation's third-party relations team, to work with Shuhei Yoshida to find a way to reinvigorate efforts to help independent publishers and developers. At the same time, thanks to Yoshida's written recommendation, Sony hired Greg Rice, the former director of Double Fine Studio, to use his experience in developing and publishing independent games.

In January 2020, Yoshida presented the plan for the new group to Sony management, detailing what his team thought PlayStation should do to better support indie games, as well as what resources it would use. To do this is needed, it was pointed out. A key priority, at least in Yoshida's mind, was finding more ways to promote indie games coming to PlayStation.

He said: There are a lot of indie games being developed and published; So what I thought we should do as a company is look at all the indie games that are coming to PlayStation and pick the best ones and show that to our audience so they know what they should be looking at and They should pay attention.

He went on to add: However, at the same time hundreds of games are released every year; So we have to improve the systems and the proper support that we provide to these hundreds or thousands of developers because we can't have one person to communicate with and help each of them. There are too many of them so we need to improve the system, tools and support for them to make their job really easier.

BingMag.com PlayStation’s big focus on independent games started with what purpose?

Structural changes in PlayStation since 2019 have helped them in this. In the past, PlayStation typically had three main offices in America, Europe, and Japan. Publishers and developers had to submit their games to PlayStation centers in these three regions, and each of these regions had their own systems, tools, and guidelines, but Sony has taken a more global approach in recent years to make things easier.

Another key factor is making sure that the tools and systems used by indie developers are the same for all other developers and publishers on PlayStation; However, Shohei Yoshida recognizes that this will create more complications for smaller studios.

He said: The big publishers have what we call account management where people can help them but on behalf of Other indie games are abandoned because we can't have people who can talk to them all; So we have to upgrade our tools. What we introduced to the PlayStation 5 generation is publishing your games to the global market, which is a huge improvement over the past. Where publishers and developers had to ship their games to all regions.

New tools for developers include analytics tools to help them understand sales, revenue and engagement a system that It took about a year to roll out to all users, and PlayStation is still looking for ways to make indie games more accessible. They are, but some other people may not be like this. So they need an easier way to understand it than Record how their games are performing, including when they do their marketing or to see how it leads to better sales and engagement or something like that. That's why we're working on training sessions and Q&A sessions, and we're trying to create some videos so everyone can watch how to use these tools."

BingMag.com PlayStation’s big focus on independent games started with what purpose?

Yoshida also talked about a new system that allows indie game developers to share game codes with journalists and critics, data testers, or even their friends. He mentioned Sony's support through its various media channels, such as the PlayStation blog, as well as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts. PlayStation developers can submit their news feed to our system so our teams can register their games for submission to various channels. We're working on different tools and systems and we're trying to improve all of them all the time." were introduced. Among these works, the expected games such as Kena: Bridge of Spirits and Stray, both of which had attracted a lot of attention, were introduced. To support this plan, Sony continuously introduced new independent games from such works at its State of Play events, and sometimes prepared separate introductions that were mostly done through the official PlayStation blog. During these special introductions, about 5 to 8 independent games were introduced at the same time.

"We did this several times throughout the year," Yoshida said. Internally we call them indie game events. There is a lot more media coverage, we have a lot of news coming out at the same time, and those media outlets get maximum coverage. "This series is very popular when considered, and it's really fun to debate which game should be the chosen title."

Perhaps a bigger innovation about the PlayStation Store. , to introduce the list of interests. While the system allows players to see announcements when upcoming games are released or discounted, Yoshida realizes how valuable and important this has become for indie games on PC. .

BingMag.com PlayStation’s big focus on independent games started with what purpose?

He continues: "This feature is becoming more popular and we have to Let the publishers know that this feature is now also available on PlayStation. When you promote a game, just like a wishlist on Steam, can you have a wishlist on the PlayStation Store? This is a new thing and we're working on it in different departments to make sure that when we do indie game shows or State of Play events, publishers have the game page ready when people see the announcement or blog posts. read, get excited and click on the wish list on the store page.

Indie games are also getting attention with the revamp of PlayStation Plus this year. Yoshida says he and his team were keen to make sure there were indie games that Sony could wholeheartedly recommend to people. Both in the items added to the essential level and in the library available in the extra level. In fact, he estimates that Extra tier subscribers already have access to about 100 high-quality indie games, and the team is constantly looking at possible new ones to add to the list. The background of the game is Stray, which is a game with a cyberpunk atmosphere in which you will play the role of a cat. The game was also made available for the PlayStation Plus service at the same time as its launch in July.

Yoshida says that PlayStation had also tried to some extent this way of supporting independent games with games before the evolution of PlayStation Plus. like Rocket League and Fall Guys. These games were also very successful works that were released for PlayStation Plus service at the time of release. Since these two games were online works, their release on PlayStation Plus helped grow their audience in the short term. These online games help build a great community from day one. You know, we believe that putting these games on PlayStation Plus has helped the success of these titles."

For the PlayStation Plus Extra level, Shuhei Yoshida believes that the way PlayStation has adopted It helps publishers manage the life cycle of a game. He compares this approach to the approach in movies. Films are often released in theaters first, and then after a period of time, they are released on DVD or Blu-ray, or maybe on a subscription service, which in this way gives the audience a second chance to pay attention to these works. Their sales will attract and can increase its profitability.

Shohei Yoshida explains: Similarly, we believe in releasing games at full price at launch and maybe six months or ten months later. In a year or two, their entry into a service like PlayStation Plus Xtra could help revive these games for a wider audience; People who may have neglected to play these games when they were released. Again, this is a great chance for the name of the game to hit the tongues again. In this way, if there is an additional package or a sequel for that work, we can increase the border of attention to that work or franchise. Therefore, we encourage publishers to use these services in managing the lifecycle of each title.

BingMag.com PlayStation’s big focus on independent games started with what purpose?

However, Stray's case was different. This game, which was first introduced at the PlayStation 5 unveiling ceremony in 2020 and attracted a lot of attention, was released on the day of the launch for the PlayStation Plus Extra service and was available to owners of this service at no additional cost. Especially considering that Yoshida says the Extra level is a smaller subset of the service's 50 million users.

He said, "By introducing Stray as one of the main faces of the service over the past months, he said. I hope that when this title was released, we helped promote it and make it more visible. The game did very well in terms of sales. But it's still early days, and as I explained earlier, this is a subscription service to help publishers manage the lifecycle of their games. So, in this case it was more of an experimental process for us.

Ultimately, Yoshida expects indie games to play a big role in the success of the upcoming PlayStation VR2. The VR market is still small compared to consoles, though he noted that it's growing thanks to Meta and other VR headset providers. See, it's really exciting from a technical or gameplay standpoint. Independent games have been waiting to make virtual reality games since the 1990s, waiting for these technologies to become available to them to make games. There are great games like Horizon: Call of the Mountain and Resident Evil Village. Yes, they're great, but it's the indie games in my mind that are really taking the risk because they want to make games on VR.

He added that while 2016 saw a huge boom Virtual reality existed around the original PlayStation VR and Aculus Quest, after a few years investors moved on to other things. Yoshida describes it as a very difficult time, but in the years that followed, innovative developers and publishers continued to experiment with virtual reality.

BingMag.com PlayStation’s big focus on independent games started with what purpose?

He acknowledged: Various companies have released new games in virtual reality and are exploring this knowledge and experience of how to use this new technology. They are making better and better games and now they are busy with metaverse and other things. Money and capital is coming back and now some of them are investing a lot of money and becoming new publishers to help other developers as well. So you're going to see more good VR games coming from these newly energized publishers who are willing to invest more in the space.

As Yoshida pointed out, PlayStation It will continue its mission to better support indie studios through new tools and promotions, and indie studios are eager to explore what's next as soon as possible.

He concluded: We're big fans of seeing games in their early stages and looking at games from the concept stage. We'd love for indie publishers to show us early how they're going to accomplish their goals, and we'll see if there's a good opportunity to help them out and showcase and promote their games." p>

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