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The State of Indie Gaming


April 30, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next
 

PlayStation 3

The PS3 is the platform that is catching up, and some interesting trends are emerging on it. Let's take a look at the top 10 sales in downloads in 2007 (revealed by Sony at GDC):

1. flOw
2. Mortal Kombat II
3. Tekken 5
4. Pain
5. Warhawk
6. High Velocity Bowling
7. Super Stardust HD
8. Calling All Cars
9. Aquatopia
10. Everyday Shooter

Many of the games in this list can be considered "indie". Does this mean that PS3 owners are more interested in original experiences? I'm not sure if we can claim that. Look at MK II and Tekken 5 up there in the list. If the PS3 would have had 100 more retro games, would this ranking be different? Time will tell.

One thing is for sure: there is less competition in PS3 right now (very few titles released per month), and if you hit it with a successful game there, you can get pretty good exposure. It seems that for now you still need to be individually picked by them as a first-party published indie game to get the most exposure. Also, if there isn't a group set up to take games worldwide, the submission process will be more cumbersome than in other platforms.

One problem that may arise in the future is the fact that Sony doesn't have plans to restrict the number of games they will release every Thursday. You'd better save some money for marketing, then. Offer a demo of the game (Sony encourages it). Use the web, create a blog, be smart in making awareness of your game before you release it.

One potentially good thing about PS3 development right now is that with Sony's development of the Phyre Engine, in theory you won't need a dev kit - as you can test things out on PCs and use the debug kits to test out your game in Sony's hardware.

At $1,200 for each debug kit, it's the cheapest development hardware you can get for a next-generation platform. I'm not that convinced of the "bring your own multiplayer platform" approach, though. If you are a small company, it's one additional component that you have to deal with.

WiiWare

Will Wright said the Wii was the only next-generation console, and he has a point. The platform that is bringing a new group of gamers of all ages may not be the most advanced technologically, but it's the simplest and the easiest to operate.

And with the fact that more than half of the Wii consoles connect to the internet every week, there will be a lot of users who can be potential buyers of WiiWare games.

XGen Studios' WiiWare title Defend Your Castle

As May 12th approaches, and with the launch of WiiWare in Japan a more than a month ago, there is a lot of excitement around this platform. One concern is that WiiWare games won't have trials, and many small studios would feel that's a deal breaker for them (as the trials is what put us on the map when we compete against something like EA's marketing budget).

But if Nintendo is right, and the games sales perform better because of that, then the better for all of us. If it doesn't work they can always backtrack, whereas the other way around would create a huge backlash among their users.

And frankly, the jury is out about what online features will matter the most. Again, this article may make you feel that the Wii can't compete. How many readers keep the mic on while playing on Xbox Live? If you want to regress your mind 10 to 20 years, then sure.

But frankly the most effective communications and leaderboard features in games right now are not available on any next-generation platform -- it's Facebook's. And WiiConnect24 is the closest thing to it.


Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

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