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Sony sweet-talks indies at Gamescom:  'A renaissance of gaming is coming'

Sony sweet-talks indies at Gamescom: 'A renaissance of gaming is coming'

August 20, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

At Sony's Gamescom press conference in Cologne, Germany, the company unveiled a much-anticipated price drop to the PlayStation Vita, as well as a robust, indie-focused lineup for its family of consoles.

Following a global reveal of the PlayStation 4 UI, which was delivered in complete silence to a packed auditorium, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe executive vice president Jim Ryan was the first to take the stage, announcing LittleBigPlanet Hub, a free-to-play service for PlayStation 3.

Ryan then transitioned to announcing three new "megapacks" for the European PlayStation Vita market, as well as Borderlands 2, independent titles including Starbound, Murasaki Baby by recently formed studio Ovosonico, and -- to the audible surprise of the audience -- Polytron's Fez. These, Ryan said, were just the first of a "long list" of indies promised for the platform.

SCEE senior business development manager Shahid Ahmad picked up on listing off indie console debut exclusives for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, announcing Rogue Legacy, Mike Bithell's Volume, N++ and Hotline Miami 2. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is also bound for the platforms, and would be free for PS Plus users.

"We make no secret of how much we love indie games," said Ahmad.

Also announced for PlayStation 4 were Mojang's Minecraft, Tequila Works' Rime and The Chinese Room's Everyone Gone to Rapture.

PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny kept momentum going, promising that the next-generation console was designed with "quicker, economical, efficient" development in mind. "By game creators, for game creators," he said.

Cerny also stated the PlayStation 4 would be a return to form for the brand, "supporting a broad variety of experiences ... creative freedom and broad content that made the first PlayStation so enjoyable." To that end, Cerny stated that the PlayStation 4 was designed with improving the "presence and visibility" of indies in mind, adding Unity support, financial support through incubation and programs such as the Sony Pub Fund, and loaner dev kits.

"We believe that a renaissance of gaming is coming," said Cerny.

In a further overture, the conference was punctuated with a video featuring indie superstars Honey Slug, Derek Yu, Mike Bithell and others espousing the strengths of PlayStation platforms, particularly the Vita.

Sony also announced a launch date for the PlayStation 4 in U.S. and European markets.

Finally, SCE president and group CEO Andrew House concluded the conference with a thinly veiled dig at Microsoft's repeated modifications to policies and features, saying: "While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining policies and a model that is fair and in tune with consumer desires."

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