Shuhei Yoshida is a decades-long video game industry veteran, serving as president of SIE Worldwide Studios through a crucial era in PlayStation history and occupying a special place of affection in the hearts of legions of fans. He was honoured with a BAFTA fellowship for his many achievements within and promotion of the gaming industry.
He currently serves as head of Sony's Independent Developer Initiative, supporting indie devs as they bring their projects to life by making partnership and marketing deals a reality. But there is a perception that the PS5 is not as welcoming of an environment for indies as previous generations, something that we have written about at length previously.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Yoshida discussed the challenges involved in getting the message out and what he hopes to achieve in the future, stating: "We’re trying to change the perceptions of the challenge of developing and publishing games on PlayStation. It's a communication challenge we've been working on."
This is being accomplished through something of a PR blitz, which Yoshida describes: “We’ve been doing conference tours, going to events and doing talks and keynotes and things like that to send the message that we're open for developers to bring their games to PlayStation."
The biggest issue indie developers face is discoverability, which Yoshida acknowledges, noting: “There are so many great quality games that no one knows about. The challenge to get funded has always existed, but there's more and more money coming into the industry all the time. Digital storefronts can have unlimited numbers of games because they're digital, but there's only so much space at the front of the storefront."
Subscription services like PS Plus could help with this issue, offering an alternative method of enticing players to take a chance on a title they otherwise wouldn't. Yoshida explains: “People who have subscribed to the service already have access to all these games that are available, so there's a better chance for your game to be tried by people who never knew it existed," he says. "So subscription services have a role to play in surfacing quality games to more people."
It remains to be seen whether the glory days of Journey ever return, but we wish Mr Yoshida all the best in this endeavour. How do you feel about the state of indie games on PS5? Let us know in the comments section below.
They have a very long way to go for this. Nintendo has a huge Fanbase that loves Indies and a very popular Indie Direct Show, Xbox has Gamepass, a Store that features Indie Games for free and Sony has...eeeh not much so far. Not suprised that many Indie Devs still skip Playstation for the other Consoles.
Shu is also over 60 already so he wont be at Sony for long now. And I doubt someone better will come afterwards
This guy spreads so much more excitement, inspiration and passion than Jimbo. He should become CEO of SIE.
From a consumer standpoint. The always seem to be more indie games launching than I have time to check out.
Seems to be a generational thing. Indies were a massive part of PS4 and that's just switched over to Xbox because Microsoft are cutting checks to day one them into Gamepass.
If the PS Plus Essential tier had at least one guaranteed new indie release every month, possibly part-funded by Sony, they could flip the discoverability problem on its head. This would be a solid way for them to invest in the indie space and become synonymous with it.
They are making limited steps in this direction right now - thinking of Tchia coming to to Extra day one - but it will take a more regular cadence of included releases to achieve what Uncle Shu (I wish he was my uncle) says they are working towards.
Get an indie program running like Xbox and Nintendo have. Also have an dedicated indie section on the PlayStation Store and run more regular indie sales. And finally create some indie sized games of their own to help push their fans towards similar games.
could’ve sworn the storefront on PS5 was plagued with $1 indie garbage at one point
Good luck to him. The core PS fanbase only cares about spectacle, and are constantly dismissive of indie games.
@Sakisa Sony created this fanbase by themselves. While Xbox also has games like Cuphead, Ori and Pentiment, PlayStation nowadays means cinematic third-person action-adventure.
I don’t really care about indie games anymore like I did in the ps3 days and early ps4 days. Sony just need give me a first party showcase to make me happy.
Sony is cool to indies in the first half of ps4 era, then there's the changing guard and they become arrogant. Now I usually playing more indies than AAA games since most AAA games has become stale, I do hope sony can make ps5 the home of (great) indies again.
@nomither6 that's part of the problem. Discoverability doesn't mean 'put everything on the front page', it's about getting the great indie games highlighted. Otherwise people switch off and dismiss the great alongside the mediocre.
If you want to change the perception, then get a new PR team. Microsoft are seen as saints for their [email protected] program. Nintendo will let any old game on their system, which results in it being considered an indie paradise. There's a whole load of indies (in the truest sense of the word) that go on the PSN every week, but because they are perceived as inferior quality, Sony is seen as being above the idea of indies.
Simple solution, let developers put early access titles on the storefront and no I don’t think every early access title should be allowed on the platform and there should be a quality bar that should outline the game is only allowed in the ps store if the developers have a clear roadmap up until version 1.0. Early access can be great for developers on steam and I hope this feature comes to PlayStation.
@GorosBat They had Early Access Games on there for quite a while tho. TemTem launched in EA and so did that new Disney Game, MultiVersus and so on
@Magnus_Selene You’re completely right! I forgot about temtem, but more or less what I said still applies in me wanting more early access then. There are so many games in early access that are better than many full release games such as things like Slime Rancher 2, Valheim or Sons of the Forest. Hades 2 is launching in early access and I know many people would jump at the bits to play that in early access on PlayStation.
I am not as hot as I was on indies these days. Braid, Dead Nation, Fez, Hyper Light Drifter, The Swapper, Hotline Miami - I was all over this stuff on PS3 and PS4.
@GorosBat Well Slime Rancher 2 and Valheim have exclusive Deals with MS so they woundnt have launched on PS anyway
WHAT? Indies are at an all time high imo. Vampire Survivors just won best game at the Baftas and look at most people best games lists they including things like Cult of the Lamb, Stray, Tunic etc.
PS+ is filled with great indies like Chicory, Toem and more. Could they do more? Sure. Game Pass is probably the best template right now.
Crazy that people once mocked the PS4 for being the IndieStation 4, and these days I see people complain about the lack of indies. Sony has been trying more with indies but improvements could still be made. The PS Store does have a section called PlayStation Indies but featuring more indies on Plus day one would help. Game Pass features a lot of indies like Tunic, Death's Door and Vampire Survivors day one which has most likely helped Xbox fans gain more interest in playing indie games.
@Magnus_Selene I was using them as examples of good games in early access and couldn’t care less if they’re timed exclusive on a platform if it helps with development. Indie exclusive contracts don’t last long and in the end they really don’t matter because they won’t stop people buying the game on their preferred platform. I doubt many people are fretting over the fact valheim is coming to PlayStation later, especially in a finished state by the time it makes it’s way over to the platform compared to something like Final Fantasy 16 which could take 2 + years or never go to Xbox. Sony have bought times exclusivity on games like Kena, Sifu, Stray and Tchia which have all been partially funded by Sony. Doesn’t matter if Sony,Xbox or a Nintendo buys timed exclusivity of an indie title, if anything it shows that title is promising if a publisher is willing to pay them for a exclusivity contract.
@themightyant He meant on Playstation obviously. Because some of the most talked about Indies are skipping PS atm. Like Valheim, Vampire S., Slime Rancher, Rouque Legacy 2 and so on
MS are giving indies $$$ upfront, meaning its relatively risk free.
Sony could do with adding one per month on Extra, or even premium.
otherwise, trial hours for indies/ if you sub to plus you get X reduction on indies etc
Indies receive negativity on the playstation platform ever since the beginning of the ps4 days, if an indie was a ps plus game the response usually was (Aww another crap indie, or is this a mobile game) Im not saying all playstation fans were this narrow minded but certainly the "dudebro" community was.
@Max_the_German Facts. If he was ceo of sie. PS5 would have all kinds of games besides the typical cinematic. 3rd person view games and relying on the same. 3-4 franchises
I’ve made a habit of palette cleansing after a big AAA release with a cool indie game. On the console front, Switch definitely seems to rule the roost when it comes to indies.
I kinda wish discoverability was the only problem here, but the underlying issue lies on the fact that Sony marketing team turned Playstation into a premium brand. People who buy premium brands usually want a perceived value with each purchase they do, and indie games perceived value isn't quite upfront if compared to an AAA game.
Given the reaction to the Vampire Survivors news I'm not sure he should bother.
Sony seem to be happy doubling down on what their core fanbase wants and it is so far working for them.
I don't think there are enough people like me who would rather drop into a game of Grindstone, Hades, Stardew, Death's Door, Celeste or Vampire survivors over the big hitters.
It is a shame because I worry that the mainstream games are becoming more and more like the summer blockbusters where innovation is less and less prevalent and the same thing is churned out over and over.
He's like "tell me indie developer, have you ever thought about going live service..... "
@Marquez I agree 100% If Ps Plus Essential is used to promote more indies they will get alot attention.
It's funny to think back to the "IndieStation" days when PS having g too many indies was an actual complaint sone people had.
One way to make me feel safer to blind buy games (indie or not) would be to get ridd of Sony's censorship policies. Age ratings are there for a reason.
Discoverability and price control, is what’s needed, not communication or media blitz.
Did Shu basically just stealth argue that Playstation needs Game Pass's indie support?
"This is how you fix PlayStation?"
Will someone please give him Jim's job already? He should have had it years ago anyway.
@Smiffy01 What I don't understand about that was, it was according to Shu himself at the time, a lot of the sales at PS4 launch was 360 owners jumping ship, not PS3 owners upgrading. So most of those "dudebro" anti-indie comments were from former 360 owners, but, XB Live Arcade was one of the biggest draws of the 360 at the time, the indie service, at a time where things like Super Meat Boy hit it huge. It was a weird market change.
Another thing PS needs: a refund policy update. An automated page were they can select a purchase and get a refund within 2 weeks of purchase and with less than 2 hours of gameplay.
Consumers are a lot more willing to try new things if they know they can get a refund if they are unsatisfied.
@NEStalgia more of a separate topic, but PS4 was just in the right place at the right time to catch the ball when Xbox stumbled, fell on its nose, broke its jaw and spent 5 years in a comma.
PS4 didn’t really do much to earn its position, and I say this as someone that was PS4 first, and to this day still have more PS trophies than Xbox achievements.
@Tharsman Very true, though PS4 did one very good thing which is it read the room, it knew what the market wanted, and it made sure to communicate clearly that it was offering exactly what the market wanted. Year one had no games at all pretty much. Key features like suspend mode advertised Feb '13 didn't arrive until some time in 2015. But they communicated they were going to do what people wanted them to do. And Shu was a huge part of that.
Yeah, it was the right place at the right time, but also with the right people that knew how to use that. Heck, after the credit card hack I swore I'd never buy a PS again. Then at the end of that E3 I ordered 2 PS4's and 0 X1s. Shu's a big part of why that happened.
The last 2 years of ps3 and the first 2 years of ps4 was an indie haven on Playstation. O hope they get back to that
@NEStalgia Yeah that's a good point.
@NEStalgia In retrospect, the XBox One launch lineup was on fire, but I refused to give it any time of day because of all the [redacted].
I did play quite a bit of Reshogun, and Murdered Soul Suspect, and Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments... 😔
(Was never desperate enough to touch Killzone Shadow Fall)
They dont need to lose the hearts of indie developers. Because once this Activision deal goes through they will be there bread and butter to keep content coming. Because theirs no way Sony will ever be able to match the exclusive output MS will have in the next 10 years.
@Tharsman I'm a genuine Knack fan, so I'm the wrong person to ask about the PS4 launch lineup. I was desperate enough to buy Shadowfall even though I didn't really think much of KZ2, the high point of the series. I actually kind of liked it. It was so generic, I don't think I could compare it to anything generic, and it was so short it was obviously rushed for launch, but the moment to moment gameplay was a big step up from its predecessors IMO. In hindsight though it's clear the whole game was nothing but a prototype build for HZD's tools, which is probably why it was good.
@Max_the_German As much as I would love for him to be the CEO, I think he prefers just focusing on Indies.
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