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Sony courting 'continuous stories' with indie devs

by Steve Watts, shacknews.com, May 14, 2013 9:15AM PDT

Sony has been actively pursuing indie developers lately, and made a point during its PlayStation 4 announcement to highlight indie developers like Jonathan Blow of The Witness.

"I guess what has happened over the last year is that we've just engaged with a lot more people that we previously have, simply because there are more people to engage with. It's meant that we've had to reach much more broadly that we've ever done before," SCEE senior business development manager Shahid Kamal Ahmad told Gamasutra.

He says that when he first saw Honeyslug, they were working on Kahoots, then Frobisher Says. Now the studio is working on Hohokum for PlayStation 4 in conjunction with Sony Santa Monica.

"Here was a developer I went to see, and I expected to be out of there in half an hour, having been bored witless by a couple of Flash demos. Nothing could have been further from what I expected to see. I came out three hours later absolutely buzzing, because these guys had so much energy," he said. "So that's a beautiful story, but it's a continuous story, right? It's not like back in 2009 I even knew what the indie space was! It was just by exposure to this type of developer who was active in a different space that it all started to fit in."

He says that they don't have current plans for some other indie developers like Futurlab, but he says a long-term relationship is important to foster. "Now, we don't currently have any plans with them to do PS4 stuff," Ahmad said, "but who's to say that they won't be the next people to bring content to PS4? It's a continuous story, and you know, we're going to have many more platforms I would imagine, and who knows what form they'll take. Hopefully the partners we've had for many years will be with us in years to come."

Ahmad said it's "not necessarily" all about the game pitches, but rather connecting with studios that have a certain degree of energy. "It's about the people who make those games, and their sensibilities and credibilities. That's really exciting to us," he said. "Obviously if someone comes to you with some ridiculous flight of fancy, you can say 'not this one, maybe another one' -- but that hasn't happened so far."