On PlayStation 4, Self-Publishing Indies Control Their Own Destiny

PS4 Dual Shock

In a perfect world, the success of a given developer’s game, from 2D Boy to Treyarch, would be determined solely by the title’s quality. Of course, this ideal is likely fully not achievable, but it seems that Sony is at least trying to help indies realize their longtime fantasies with the PlayStation 4.

At the recent Develop conference over in the UK, SCE Europe developer-relations exec Agostino Simonetta outlined the company’s vision for its “four pillars of self-publishing.” As someone who has dabbled in game development, I’ve gotta say that these sound pretty magical. Simonetta says that going forward these pillars will be part of a fundamental process to getting your game on PS4, and that Sony has no plans to “segregate indies from traditional publishers.”

You can check them out below – if this is the real deal, and I’m taking an innocent until proven guilty approach here, then the potential for more great indie games than we know what to do with on PS4 is quite high. Which is, of course, a good thing.

“Every Single Developer is a Publisher”

Developers will have full control over their game’s release date, and even have oppurtunities to work with Sony accross various promotional channels, be it Facebook, Twitter, or even the PlayStation blog itself. Of course, this will depend on the title’s “objective quality,” but that’s no surprise. Make a great game, and Sony will help you sell it.

“Equality of Opportunity”

From a business standpoint, Sony says its support will be offered to all publishers (aka developers in some cases) regardless of history. This means that whether you’re That Game Company or operating out of your parent’s garage, Sony will strive to put everyone on a level playing field and leave considerations regarding past revenues or units sold at the door. This sounds pretty tough for an entity that is undeniably a business first to pull off, but perhaps the dividends will be paid back in spades when PSN is swimming in great games. Fingers crossed.

A “Personal Relationship” With Developers

Simonetta stressed that Sony doesn’t want developers’ interface with them to resemble that of a “faceless portal,” and to prove it Sony will communicate with developers literally as often as needed, from the sounds of it. These communications will come at no extra cost to game makers, and even include real life meetings at Sony’s own studios. Essentially, developers can come and talk to Sony “at any point that they want.”

“No Hurdles, Just Games”

Perhaps the most exciting of the four pillars (though leaving incessant daily voicemails to Sony execs with no penalty does sound fun) is the extent to which Sony has streamlined the submission process. It’s been condensed to a single-stage application, with criteria that must be met in a standard template format. Additionally, the company will issue a response within the week, letting developers know one way or the other faster than ever before.

If Sony can actually deliver on all four claims, then the PlayStation 4 could end up being an unprecedented indie haven, combining the freedoms of PC development with the promotional and content delivery advantages of a console. Whether the company can actually maintain these under all circumstances remains to be seen, but at the very least their efforts are both encouraging and a hop-skip-jump in the right direction.