Sony Kills Indie Game Approval Process, Opens Up PSN to Indie Developers
For a while now, gamers and independent developers alike have been complaining about the submission process for indie games on console digital distribution platforms like the Nintendo eShop, XBLA, and PSN. The process was simply too tedious and cost too much money to be beneficial to small time indie developers, which is why one of the biggest indie markets out there is the much less complicated Steam. Well, Sony has taken notice of this and has decided to streamline their content submission process as part of their company wide push toward digital distribution.
This news comes by way of Gamasutra and a recent interview they had with Sony’s Adam Boyes, lead Sony’s publisher and developer relations teams. “We’ve just changed our whole concept submission process,” Boyes said. “It used to be two stages, and all this feedback, and now it’s just one, and it’s optional feedback, so there’s no greenlighting process, no voting, no weird stuff.” These new open and lax guidelines for content submission will extend not only to indie developers but to AAA developers who will be publishing indie titles as well.
The process, according to Boyes, started with approval of the concept alone, followed by a submission of a build, and throughout this entire process Sony would give you feedback on your game development process. However, Boyes said that game development teams, small and large, never used that feedback. “We talked to bigger teams, and even mid-sized teams,” Boyes said. “We said, how helpful was that feedback, and as we sat down with them they said, “We’re paying 300 people to make a game,” or 80 people, or 100 people. “We have a market for it, we have a publishing and marketing team, we do focus testing. Why do we need your feedback?””
Boyes went on to say that Sony is also looking to streamline the certification process for indie developers and that Sony has a policy of waiving patch fees for indie developers. The new certification process should allow developers to do things such as fix bugs very easily, while bigger changes will still require something of a content review.
According to Joystiq, Sony is dedicated enough to indie developers that it will be willing to pick up games still in their alpha stages. “[CCP's Dust 514] is a great example of putting out content that you know is not final,” Boyes said. “If you want to monetize it, that’s fine. I mean, if you want to put out a game that’s playable and does pass the checklists and stuff, you can. If it doesn’t sell and you can’t support, you may not want to support, but we absolutely support that.”