Sony’s E3 2017 Conference was all about the games, but compared to Microsoft’s ID-led indie showcase, the PS4 was relatively light on independents this year.
Gamasutra spoke with several indie developers at E3 2017 to shed some light on Sony’s current relationship with the smaller devs that add so much personality to a gaming library.
David Condolora of Brain & Brain – ‘Burly Men at Sea’ PS4/Vita
About working with Sony
Condolora: “Actually it’s been very very good. We’re actually not doing the technical work of the porting ourselves, so Sony is helping us do that. And it’s been very smooth. Ports came together very fast. Communication’s been fast. Really, Sony America, at least, has been very very good.
Navigating the Sony ecosystem has been a little more difficult because there’s so many different parts—Sony Europe, and Japan, and Asia. Just getting a handle on all that has been a little more difficult. But they’ve been very supportive.”
On Sony vs Microsoft
“I think that Sony is still the biggest game in town. You want to be on a platform that has the most eyeballs on it. Our experience with Microsoft has sort of been the opposite of Sony and sort of what you’re describing. They may be a little more out there, but for a developer like us, where maybe our game is a little bit too small or niche for them to care too much about it behind the scenes. So there wasn’t the interest there.
But I will say, as far as console is concerned, the platform we are looking forward to seeing how it develops is the Switch to see how that fits into this equation. We’re talking about a binary thing, Sony and Microsoft, but then you have a third platform that’s becoming more valuable. I wonder how that’s going to change the market as well.”
Justin Ng of Gattai Games – Stifled for PSVR
On Sony’s indie priority
“The way I look at it is even though I’m a bit bummed out that we didn’t get showcased, but I think it really boils down to them as a business. The bottom line is they need to do what’s best for their business. And unfortunately maybe doing indies is not that right now. And that’s unfortunate, but there’s not much we can do. We just try to get help other places, basically.”
James Marsden of FuturLab – Tiny Trax PSVR
On completely changing a Sony-approved PSVR game
“Would you like to make a VR game?” So we said, “Yeah, absolutely, we’d love to do something, but we’re really busy on another project.” And they said, “Well, the window of opportunity to sign a game with us, for this particular moment is quite short. So we need a pitch quickly.” And this was around the time that drone racing videos were being shown on Facebook.
Having spent no time in VR we thought that was a good idea, so we pitched that. And they agreed, they signed it up. And then we spent some time in VR and realized that would be a disaster, because there would be so much motion sickness.
So rather than go back to Sony and say, “We’ve got no faith in the game we signed with you,” we had to come up with a Plan B. So that’s when we really started thinking about what works in VR. And Dave, our tester at the time, we basically tasked him, we loaded him up with hardware, all different headsets that were available. Gave him a Steam account and just said, “Figure it out.”
So, he came back and said, “Look, the things that really work in VR in these early days are games where the action comes to you.” So he proposed Scalextric. We just thought, that’s a genius idea. So we prototyped this in parallel to the other project, the drone racing. Because we wanted to be able to show Sony two examples: One that was not going to work and one that would work. And fortunately, they agreed with us. So this is the result of that.”
These are just a few highlights form Gamasutra’s investigation into Sony’s relationship with their indie developers. Check the article here for more.