Mike Bithell talks about the value of Sony’s indie recommendations for their consoles.
Thomas Was Alone and Volume creator Mike Bithell recently spoke to Gamasutra about the success of his first game. According to Bithell, Thomas Was Alone really saw success when it came to the PlayStation platforms and that Sony is quickly edging Steam out in terms indie game curation.
Bithell explained that in the old days, “Steam meant you were going to be sorted, as long as your game was quite small, you’d be sorted for a year or two, bare minimum.
“I struggle to believe that Thomas Was Alone would have been successful were it to come out now on Steam. It was on the front page of Steam for a week. It was released right before that final moment where being on Steam meant Valve thought you made a great game. That used to be what that meant. I guess it’s not dissimilar to the Nintendo seal of approval they have on the boxed games.”
But when Greenlight debuted, it made the platform all the more open – which might eventually be the direction that Valve takes. “I think that’s what’s coming – something like the App Store, with very simple checks to make sure you’re not uploading a virus, and that’s it.
“Steam meant something at one point, and being on Steam said something to players that allowed a lot of people with weird, esoteric games to get an audience. That’s going to be harder to find now. You’ll require more traditional marketing and talking to press.
As for Sony, Bithell states that, “I think they’re working towards making it as easy as possible to make games for their platforms, which is a great plan. Same with Microsoft.
“But for now with those curated shops, you’ve got people like Shahid [Ahmad, Sony UK] saying ‘I like that game, I want it on the console.’ Which is going to benefit people in the short-term because it’s a badge of honour, and if you’re a PlayStation fan who likes the indie games that are out on PlayStation, you’re going to say ‘If Sony think this new game is good enough for their console, it’s good enough for me.’ And that’s very powerful.”
Volume is Bithell’s next game and will be out on PC and PS4. Stay tuned for more details.