PlayStation has been a bastion of the indie game community for years now. Part of that is because Sony always took some time at their E3 conference to show off the best of PlayStation's indie stable. If you caught the 2017 show, however, you might have noticed an absolute lack of any indie games whatsoever. Everything at Sony's 2017 E3 show was an AAA game with a big budget and big names attached. Which is a very far cry from where we were just a few years ago.
Naturally, everyone noticed. And Sony Interactive Entertainment's global boss Jim Ryan has finally commented on the focal shift away from indie titles at this year's E3. The report makes its way to us from an interview with gamesindustry.biz, in which Ryan spoke about the ineffective nature of showing small clips from indie games during presentations. He explained that the method doesn't allow viewers to learn enough about the games and that "[i]t is almost viewed as wasted time."
Ryan then went on to discuss the importance of having an indie highlight reel during the early years of the PS4 to solidify Sony's commitment to bringing indie titles to the console. "You know, right now, we have tonnes of indie content on the platform. And the fact that we elected, along with many other things such as Gran Turismo and PlayLink, not to give it its own spot on the stage this week, in no way means it is not important, or it is not there, or we don't worry about it."
As for the shift in 2016 and 2017, Ryan explained that the company has other things it wanted to focus on, saying that, "It was just good to talk about in 2013/2014. It is less relevant now. We have VR to talk about now, for example."
Which is kind of a massive betrayal of what Sony's stood for the last few years, but I can't say this comes as much of a surprise. Of course indie games were included as a way for Sony to give itself a reputation and then thrown aside when something flashier came by. It just seems incredibly odd that, with such a short show, Sony decided they couldn't give one or two indie games a longer window. Microsoft devoted a solid 10 minutes to Sea of Pirates gameplay. And while, sure, Sea of Pirates isn't the most indie game to be made, it is still a bad day when Microsoft does a better job of giving indie games a platform than Sony.
And considering the hottest game at E3 wasn't a VR title, in fact, no VR game but Skyrim made it into the top 10. And lets not forget that there were about 50 different Skyrim announcements at E3 so that isn't quite a good metric. So, sure, VR is a thing. But was it worth bucking a longtime tradition that worked in Sony's favor? I think not.