Sony’s PlayStation 4 boasts an early lead in the console wars, having sold 7 million units in its first five months of release (along with 20.5 million games). Compare that to its biggest rival, Microsoft’s Xbox One, which has sold 5 million units since its November rollout.
Both Sony and Microsoft encourage third-party developers to build games for the online store that accompanies their console. But what does it actually take to build an indie game that becomes profitable? Adam Boyes, vice president of publisher and developer relations at Sony’s U.S. Games division, offered GamesBeat some tips.
For Sony, developers should keep watch on the Twitter feeds of Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) and other PlayStation executives. “Social media is a great place,” Boyes told the publication. “They have trailers and videos and stuff. There’s our website, where people can register and reach out that way, too.”
What sort of indie games will succeed on a crowded platform? Boyes’ answer to that question is vague and uplifting: “Crazy-new-fresh ideas. That’s the stuff that resonates. When people are playing things and talking about them on Twitter or Facebook. Sharing livestreaming.”
As an example of a crazy-new-fresh game, Boyes cited Don’t Starve, a title with a surreal art style reminiscent of Tim Burton’s work: “We talk about Don’t Starve, how with every person who’s streaming, at least 50 people are watching. That’s a great example of how the word’s getting out wider than it ever did before.”
Many of these tips—create something original and broadcast it through all available channels—will doubtlessly apply to Xbox One development, as well. The bigger question, for the indie developer with relatively limited resources, is which platform will translate into greater profitability; and that’s a question that might take time, and further console sales, to answer.
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Image: Klei Entertainment