Shuhei Yoshida says Sony wants to support indie titles but will not dictate the creative aspects of games it funds.
Mid-sized studios, usually of about 40 to 50 people, are struggling in the age of big game after big game, sprinkled with tons of independent games starting to gain recognition. President of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida says both big and small studios can do “something very special” in their own ways, and mid-sized studios are stuck in the middle.
Yoshida acknowledges $60 is a lot of money to spend. To convince people to spend that much money on a game means the game needs “something very special,” and Yoshida has had a harder time finding that special thing in games made by mid-sized studios.
“I think that’s the reason the bigger titles are getting even bigger, because people supported them, and the publishers can afford it, and the level of quality of these games is way beyond these mid-sized games,” Yoshida said. “On the other hand, the smaller digital games are amazing, great – because they try to do something that big teams won’t do. Because they are smart, and they won’t try to compete with Call of Duty.”
Sony is trying to ramp up support for indies because it sees the potential success in many independent developers, such as thatgamecompany (Journey, Flower, Flow). Yoshida pointed to Sony’s support for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture from developer thechineseroom (Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs). When funding a game completely, Sony is the publisher. It is a Worldwide Studios title as opposed to ports of third-party games.
“That doesn’t mean that we’re going to dictate the creative development of thechineseroom team. We don’t think that’s good for the project. We just support the team and probably help them. We have lots of resources, in terms of tech, or services, or testing – whatever it fits with the needs of the team, a small team like thechineseroom, we want to provide support so they can realize their ambitions or vision. They might become even more ambitious with our support.”