It's been apparent since the announcement of the PlayStation 4 a year and a half ago that Sony is focusing on indie games in addition to AAA titles. Its past two E3 press conferences have been full of indies. In May, Sony vice president Adam Boyes even said that indies are the "heartbeat of the industry."
According to Sony executives, this isn't just a surface-level commitment. They say that anyone can put money into indie publishing, but few can match the love for small developers that exists even on the corporate level.
In a recent interview with Gamesindustry International, software product development head Scott Rohde described the depth of commitment to indies that Sony has fostered in the past few years. He argues that, while the acts can be copied, the spirit of Sony's indie policies cannot. "Sure, it could be replicated by someone else, but it can't be replicated in a corporate-style way," he explained. "It's not something you put on your business plan and say 'Let's go make this happen.' It's because the people--Shahid [Ahmad], Adam Boyes, Nick Suttner, Brian Silva, myself, Shu Yoshida--there's a genuine love there, and people feel that."
"Whenever folks from any of the Worldwide Studios America team would show up at any room, any event, whatever," he continued, "the quote they used was they felt like the prettiest girl in the room. When the PlayStation guy would walk in the room, the indies would flock to them, because there's a genuine love there and they want to be part of that."
How did Sony stimulate this change in attitude? The PlayStation 3 was notorious for having difficult development cycles that weren't conducive to indie developers. Rohde explains that it was not so much a shift in corporate policy as it was a change in personnel. "To be quite frank, within the [Sony Computer Entertainment America] walls, there's been some turnover of staff. In the past there might have been some people who were more inclined toward the corporate side of business who would manage those relationships."
To me, it seems like the new focus is working for Sony. I'm excited by No Man's Sky and The Witness, and I enjoy the increasing number of excellent indie games being ported to PlayStation systems. What do you think of Sony's commitment to indie titles? Let us know in the comments!