Mike Bithell's excellent Thomas Was Alone found a new lease of life on the Playstation Vita when it was ported over to Sony's portable platform earlier this year.
With the Japanese company really pushing indie games this year, and developers themselves lining up to offer up praise for Sony's approach to indie development and the accessibility of their support systems and dev tools, I asked Bithell exactly what it was Sony had that had encouraged him to bring TWA to their platforms and release his upcoming game Volume for PSV and PS4 as a timed exclusive of sorts.
"I think they showed up to the party a little early," he replied. "Indies were hitting the point where we were starting to sell quite a large number of copies of some games. We were starting to become a sector that gamers cared about when it came to purchasing decisions and Sony, about six months to a year ago, were in a position where the Vita needed games for it and basically said, 'Let's talk to some indies.' And so they encouraged several developers to port their games over to Vita, and that started a relationship and a chat. Then, inevitably, we all went on to make other games and we started chatting and meeting at their offices and saying, 'Oh hey! I'm making this new game now. Is that something you might be interested in?' And that conversation started about six months to a year ago.
"With Microsoft, they wanted to do a similar thing, but they wanted to do it for the Xbox One, which just meant that they entered the conversation a little bit later. And that's all it is. Sony came to us a little bit earlier and got us onboard. Microsoft are now talking to us and it's fantastic, and I'm sure you're going to see all of us making games for the Xbox One, but it's just a little bit further behind because the conversation started later, that's all."
So there you have it. Still, in this world of fast-moving enterprise, and faster-moving PR, being first can be so very important indeed, and Sony have been carefully identifying and nurturing talent for years. Just look at their wealth of first and second-party talent.