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Topic: consoles attract little interest from Indie developers ... unless it's Switch

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Bonbonetti

I came across a new article on Game Industry, in which they presented a survey of Indie developer opinions:
https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-05-15-xbox-one-le...

Understandably, the PC is the preferred platform for Indie developers, given how easy it is to write and publish for it. However, I still did not expect this kind of gap, considering how overcrowded the Indie market is on PC.

The Switch is the only console platform Indie developers are keen to develop and publish for, it's attractiveness is surprisingly close to that of the PC, and might even match it one day.

Also surprising, is that the mobiles market doesn't seem attractive at all. Considering it has hundreds of milllions worth of potential customers, I thought it would be among their priority platforms.

My impression is that Sony has been pro-active in getting Indie developers to release their games on the PS4, but maybe I'm wrong, or maybe this effort doesn't really matter to an Indie developer. Perhaps the sales of Indie games on the PS4 is much lower than I imagine, dramatically lower than on PC.

I'm not sure if it even matters in the end, but I thought it was an interesting read, considering how most games being released these days are Indie games.

Edited on by Bonbonetti

Bonbonetti

KratosMD

Sony used to go all out on the indie scene a couple of years ago, but since then they have dialed it back a lot it seems. I never see "PS <3 Indies" and such on social medias anymore, and indie games never get a spot during PlayStation's E3 presentation anymore.

The reason why they went all out back then could be that they wanted to attract more developers specifically to the Vita. But as well know now, Sony is slowly killing the handheld so maybe it's not necessary for them to do this anymore.

KratosMD

BAMozzy

@Bonbonetti reading that article though, it is unclear and used a small sample size. With MS, you almost have two distinct 'indie' categories - the general 'indie' and the [email protected] indie which mat be responsible for the division. Those in the [email protected] programme may feel very different from the others - may feel they don't get the support or feel pressured to sign up to [email protected] Further down though it does also say Xbox is easier to deal with than Nintendo.

The success and buzz of the Switch, the 'go anywhere' and fact that portable gaming is more suited to indie games may also be why they are keen to launch. If you only have 10-20minutes on the bus to work, then you may not want games that require time investment and long cut-scenes - just something relatively quick and simple to play. You don't want to spend your journey just travelling from A to B and not achieve anything other than making it to B before you have to turn off - not when you can blast through a couple of levels in a game.

The over-crowding on PC is a concern BUT the developers also feel that PC gamers are much more enthusiastic towards the indie scene and more inclined to give their game a try. Another reason its beneficial, to quote that article: "It's the perfect platform for serious devs looking to build the best game in their genre," said another. "Free community building, free bug testing, free game dev consulting. There's very little not to like about working on PC at the moment." Its not easy to get their games on consoles, let alone update or bug test - Sony don't allow early access 'alpha' builds on their console - MS have been better in that regard but I bet its not 'free' and they have to submit major patches/updates to MS before they can implement them in the game.

It does surprise me that Sony got a good mention - mostly because in recent years, its appeared that Sony have been less keen to promote their 'indie' scene. Sony made a lot more of t at the start of the generation but since their AAA games have been more prolific and quality too, it seems that their Indies have taken more of a back seat - unless they are VR too. At E3 in the last couple of years, there hasn't been much made of their indies - MS on the other hand had quite a few - maybe making up for the lack of big AAA and quality first party games - the most successful of last year was Cuphead of course.

Anyway, its still interesting but as the article states, the selection was too narrow to draw definitive conclusions...

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NathanUC

Personally, I think it's because of the lack of AAA games that make Indie games stand out more on both the Switch and Vita. I'm not saying AAA games are better or worse than Indie games, but they have a far greater reach and appeal. If you see a list of indie games and God of War, what is the standard consumer more likely to remember?

I do agree that portability probably plays into it as well, but I don't think that would be the leading factor. Playing a Vita or Switch in handheld mode for too long is unbearable for me. Naturally, I'm not going to load up a game that I'll be playing for an hour or two, but I don't think that is a AAA/Indie argument. I would still load up Monster Hunter on a Switch before I would load most indie games.

In general, I'm probably a bit biased since I don't tend to enjoy pixel art or 2d platformers

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LuckyLand

There is not a lack of AAA games on Switch, there is a lack of classic Nintendo games on Switch. If Nintendo published at least some SNes Virtual console games on Switch since launch day most indie games would have sold less than half than they actually sold and ALL of them would have sold at least a little less.
But Nintendo does not want to publish its own retrogames on this console they want to keep them and use them to promote their ******* online service. Giving the possibility to play those games (not to own them, just to play them) to subscribers, obviously only as long as they pay the subscription.
But as time passes and more "traditional budget" games will be available on Switch the harder it will be for indie developers to be as succesful as they have been in the beginning.
At first the only Nintendo game on Switch was Breath of the wild, for a very long period the only "AAA" platformer on it was Rayman legends... People who buy a Nintendo console expect many more Nintendo games available and since there were few at first and no Virtual console at all they bought the things that reminded them of the Virtual console the most: indie games.

PS: when I say "they" I mean myself included

Edited on by LuckyLand

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Bonbonetti

Thanks for all the comments.

I can see the appeal of the Switch, it still seems to be growing quite well for one thing. If certain Indie developers don't want to make games for mobiles, the handheld market could be a substitute for them. While it is nice that Sony is regarded in a positive way, I don't think it matters that much since developers, in this survey at least, will prioritize more practical factors.

From Sony's perspective everything is about selling units, and having AAA games, especially exclusive ones, are much more effective than multiplatform Indie games. So it does make "business sense" for them to focus on exclusives, and on AAA games. The exception being Indie games that are exclusive to the PS4, like Dragon's Crown.

Bonbonetti

cheetahman91

It does make sense. The PS4 has a lot more major titles out and coming out compared to the Switch which would make it harder for those types of games to get noticed. I also believe that your average Nintendo gamer is more interested in indie titles compared to your average Sony gamer. As the article points out though, the one good thing that the PS4 has going for it is it's VR which has been getting great support from indies.

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Kidfried
  • Switch has less games. And less AAA games for sure. So, as an indie dev you have less competition.
  • Sony's PS4 has way too many games now. So, for a small dev it's less interesting to get on there.
  • The absence of Virtual Console is great news as well for Switch.
  • Some indies (Golf Story, Stardew Valley) are perfect for playing on the go.

PS Vita also had pretty good indie sales. Reason? Not many other games. Same goes for the Switch. It will be interesting to see how and if this will change in the future.

It's not about a choice or how much Sony cares about indies on their side. From what we've heard from devs in interview, and also from this article, Sony offers a great deal of support to Indies. But there is just too much greatness on the platform.

Kidfried

JohnnyShoulder

PS+/GWG can also be good for indies, getting them noticed a bit more.

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Kidfried

Well, it's not like there aren't a lot a lot a lot of Indies on the PS4. Almost all of them are coming to the console as far as I'm aware.

You pretty much never have to buy a AAA title and still play quality games all year long.

Kidfried

JohnnyShoulder

PC maybe the most popular for devs but there is also loads of garbage released, more so than on consoles imo. And some days there could as much as 30 games released which is just ridiculous. I prefer quality over quantity. A point what I got from the below vid.

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