Sony has the indie development community eating out of its hand like a hedgehog hovering over a plateful of mealworms. The platform holder has turned its third-party relations around, assembling a dream team of taste-makers who have become the focal point of the brand. And during that transition, the company has learned some important lessons about communication and dealing with studios in the right way.
“We’ve been fairly indie-friendly for a while now on paper, allowing self-publishing on the PlayStation Network for more than five years,” account support manager and PlayStation Blogcast host Nick Suttner told EDGE. “In the beginning, we did a pretty poor job at explaining this, so we’ve spent the last 18 months putting the message out there that we’re a very open, easy platform holder to work with.”
He continued: “At the same time, we’ve examined the process through the eyes of an indie, eliminating every roadblock and fee that we can along the way. The indie PSN content and announcements that you’ve seen so far this year are a direct reflection of those efforts. We’ve discovered that the big secret behind indies wanting to work with you is this: don’t be jerks.” That sounds like solid advice.
Suttner added that indie talent is imperative to a healthy ecosystem. “Without indies, the breadth of creativity and innovation on PSN would shrink drastically, and that’s really important to the culture of PlayStation – you see it all of the time in our first party titles such as Journey and Hohokum,” he said. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship between Sony and indies, with players reaping the rewards. Everyone wins.”
It’ll be interesting to see whether Microsoft’s recent policy changes force Sony to adapt its approach again, though. The Redmond-based manufacturer has hinted that all Xbox Ones will be able to double as development kits, while budding PS4 programmers will need access to expensive hardware. The Japanese giant has said that it’s loaning this kit out, but that may not be good enough moving forwards.