BitSummit aims to raise awareness of Japanese indie scene

First international game dev summit will bring Western media to Kyoto in March to meet with Japanese development community.

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Today, organizers announced the first BitSummit, an international game developers gathering aimed at raising awareness for the Japanese independent development scene.

Disclosure: GameSpot is a media partner for the event

More than a dozen Japanese game developers will be in attendance at the event on March 9 in Kyoto, including Pixeljunk studio Q-Games and Hidetaka Suehiro (director of Deadly Premonition).

The BitSummit is aiming to create a bond between the Japanese indie developer community and Western media in an effort to spread awareness of the nation's development community. GameSpot will be in attendance at the event.

The event will feature keynote addresses and interview sessions, allowing Japanese developers to speak with Western media through translators, if necessary.

Speaking with GameSpot, BitSummit director James Mielke said the event is a necessity because the Japanese game development scene has been largely ignored.

"There are so many great indie games coming out on a monthly basis in the West--to the point where they garner as much coverage as the next Grand Theft Auto--but stuff like this is happening in Japan, too. Basically I got tired of all the post-TGS 'Japanese gaming is dead' discussion. Yes, there may not be as many high-impact games like there were in the late '90s when Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil 2 were dominating headlines. But there is so much cool stuff being created in Japan; the problem is no one knows about it. I hope BitSummit can help to shift the momentum and shine a light on some of these games. I'm not talking free-to-play Farmville clones, either. I'm talking about real games."

If Japanese and Western indie game developers can better communicate, what does that mean for the future of indie games?

"It's a pretty simple formula, really. If BitSummit can help Japanese independent developers make connections with the Western media, then they can build long-lasting relationships. If the Western media knows these guys on a first-name basis, then they'll be better prepared to write about something new and fresh, instead of the same old Call of Duty headlines," he said.

Mielke added that a healthy and successful Japanese development scene is beneficial to all gamers, saying he hopes BitSummit can help achieve this.

"The more exposure these indie games get, the more interest comes of it, and hopefully we see some success stories emerge from this effort. I'd love nothing more than to have played a part in some great, independent game becoming successful outside of Japan. If Cave Story was one of the first modern-era independent success stories, I'm confident there can be a dozen more of those in the near future. A healthy, successful, thriving independent Japanese development community is good for all of us, because it will help change the notion that the 'good old days' are gone for good."

More information is available at the BitSummit website.

Discussion

19 comments
immanuel_aj
immanuel_aj

"...because it will help change the notion that the 'good old days' are gone for good."

I'm pretty sure the 'good old days' are gone!  We'll just have to make something better going forward!  I don't think there's much point in recreating the past when the rest of the world has moved on.

Bregzeinkul
Bregzeinkul

Japanese indies like Recettear and Cave Story are great.

Hope we will see more games like these.

sidzero
sidzero

"I'm not talking free-to-play Farmville clones, either. I'm talking about real games."

Yeah, I'm not talking free-to-play Farmville clones, I'm talking about paid generic galges!

JohnnyGT1
JohnnyGT1

Sounds fun and interesting; I'm looking forward to it.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Japanese Devs primary platforms are Consoles and Handheld.

Consoles certification is expensive, while Handheld already destroyed by Smartphone and Tablet.

and most Japanese don't play games on the PC, unfortunately PC are the largest base for hardcore indie developers, so yeah good luck with that

King9999
King9999

Looking forward to watching this!

Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

This makes It all sound like Its purely the the fault of the Western media. A lot of It Is Introversion, Its a big world and onus Is on those with something to show to do just that.

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

I have a feeling that without the massive budgets of AAA Japanese developers, localizing is going to be a major barrier to actually get these games over to the west for English speakers, whether we know about them or not. We still have a ton of AAA Japanese titles that have never been localized in the US, mostly because they fear we won't buy them.

JamesCoote
JamesCoote

I thought indies were all about social media marketing and word of mouth. If the problem is language barrier or lack of social network connections between Japan and the rest of the world, is the occasional bit of western media coverage really going to effectively bridge that?

Chui_GamingX
Chui_GamingX

Plain Simple! Japanese Games Sucks Hard this days! No more MasterPices Like Resident Evil 4 and Shadow of the Collossus ! Only trash like Resident Evil 6 and Ninja Gaiden 3 Japanese Gaming is Dead!!!

shadowboy88
shadowboy88

Uuuhh i don't know, in one way it's nice for the two regions to try and understand each other but the audiences.....the two region's audience are COMPLETLY different...it's not going to be easy.

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

@Ladiesman17"most Japanese don't play games on the PC, unfortunately PC are the largest base for hardcore indie developers"

You know that the 90% of indye devs in Japan makes doujin games , Visual Novels and stuff like Touhou for the PC right?

Also Hentai gamesare for PC :3

jamesmielke
jamesmielke

@Sanguis_Malus It's definitely not the fault of the Western media. I dunno where you got that idea from, but we're proactively trying to help the Western media gain access to these guys, and Gamespot is going to be a big part of it. 

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@Chico_Azteca

I aware of that, but I don't consider ero as hardcore indie, you know, I mean about hardcore indie is something like Wasteland 2, Bastion or Terraria, you know, those kind of games.

I would love to support games like Persona 4: Golden or Zero Escape on PC, specifically on Steam platform, Big picture is perfect fit for those games, but who knows.

and by the way, Steam in Japan is horrible, you can't purchase games from EA, SEGA, Rockstar, Activision etc. digital distribution is absolute nightmare in there.

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

@Ladiesman17 @Chico_Azteca What if those guys who lock themselves away in their rooms started spending their time working on indie games!? We could have some amazing stuff!