Microsoft and Sony Go To War For The Indies

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Microsoft and Sony Go To War For The Indies

It's something of a recent development in terms of gaming, but more and more, we're seeing development shy away from big studios pulling out triple-A titles—there's still plenty of them to be had, though—and more toward smaller, independent studios putting out smaller titles. But with the spectacular success of some of these titles, the independent game is getting quite a bit more credit, and both of the newest sides to join the console war are looking to get the biggest slice of indie cred.

Both Microsoft and Sony are rolling out the red carpet for the independent gamer. Sony, during its press event at Gamescom, showed that not only is Sony committed to working with the platforms developers use, particularly the Unity game engine, but is also putting support into indies with self-publishing options and a publishing fund to help out financially.

A good offering in its own right, of course, but Microsoft won't be outdone on that front. Not only is Microsoft offering up two Xbox One development kids to qualified developers, but also, Microsoft is opening up the full resources of Xbox Live for publishers to hit the Xbox One.

Even Nintendo has some support on this, with reports suggesting that the company is opening up development for both HTML5 and Unity on the Wii U as part of the Web Framework.

All three of the major companies seem to want in on the indie market, and are offering progressively greater rewards to get indie developers interested in getting in on the next generation of gaming. It's not hard to see why there's so much interest; consider games like “Angry Birds,” “Minecraft,” and more recent titles like “State of Decay” to see why the indie market is offering up some very exciting pieces. With triple-A gaming having a tough time making its way in the larger market thanks to the need for increasingly larger budgets—and thus increasingly larger sales to compensate—the smaller, independent market is one the systems are likely eager to cultivate as a way of keeping the larder of games constantly stocked. Systems depend on games in order to continue existing—we're already seeing Nintendo have its share of troubles thanks to the dearth of games available for the Wii U—so turning to the indie market is a great way to keep fresh titles coming in and gamers happy with the system purchases they made.

Just what will come out of the indie community, only time will tell. There could be some very exciting projects waiting just around the bend, and said projects may emerge from unlikely quarters. But either way, it's good news for gamers, who are likely to have more choices now than ever before.
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