The Average Gamer

Indie Rock: IndiE3

SuperGiant Games Sony E3 Conference 2013
My highpoint of this year’s show was a brief moment, a choice in phrase, that cemented the absolute lack of necessity to own an Xbox One. It had nothing to do with the exorbitant price – which clearly isn’t a concern for someone raking in heck of ducats through a career in games journalism – nor the privacy concerns from an always active camera (just ask me, I’ll show you my penis whenever), instead it was Phil Harrison appearing on stage with his lovely accent to announce that Microsoft pays close attention to Indie Games, then showing they’ll bring out Minecraft on the new platform. Nothing quite conveys the Indie ethos like assured success from a known quantity.

To prove the point further the only additional attempt to appeal to, well… me, was a matter of seconds taken from whatever Capy Games have brewing in their office now. Sure, it was amazing hearing someone on a stage say the world “roguelike” with the kind of confidence usually reserved for a statement similar to “I’ll have the tagliatelle” or “my wife and I share our partners”, but it didn’t also come with the assertion this was something that their audience actually wanted to see. A concession to a market they know exists, but not one that they really understand.

You compare that to Sony’s presser, though? One that had Amir and Greg from Supergiant up on stage to display a console reveal trailer for Transistor? One that showed off Mercenary Kings? Had Divekick in the opening montage? Even briefly mentioning that Octodad is a thing? It was like the two companies were playing chess by mail and only one of them actually read the letters.

I don’t want to sit here and say that Sony inherently give more of a shit about fostering a DIY community than Microsoft. They’re not exactly about to put Even Cowgirls Bleed onto the Vita and pitch it as the explosive start of the Q3 release line-up. What they’ve smartly recognised instead is that there’s a low cost way to provide interesting new experiences and they’ve done everything they can to be receptive to passionate small creators.

Up at the start I could have easily said that my favourite moment was Sony revealing that they’re going to allow self publishing, which is a great in its own right, allowing for a lack of reliance on a model that isn’t necessarily conducive to greater success. It makes the platform a more viable option for teams that don’t want to get tied down in restrictive deals that potentially mean losing rights to their IP and not being able to have input on variable pricing.

But it wasn’t. My favourite moment was knowing, absolutely knowing, that the Microsoft team don’t share that same perspective. That board rooms full of Men in suits costing 100 times the budget of Gunpoint have thrown around the word “Indie” as if it’s synonymous with “Vermin” or “Cock Wart”.

Indie games aren’t going to inform mass purchases of a Sony platform. The public at large don’t want to play Hohokum (I’m not even sure I do and this sort of shit is my job), but they’ve recognised that it’s a value add and easy to include. Microsoft haven’t recognised the necessity. It’s fantastic. What a shitshow.

[I played Hohokum. It is lovely – Ed.]

Oh, Also

If you are at Rezzed in Birmingham this weekend I will definitely hang out with you. I look like the guy in the photo somewhere on this page (I’m not going to be specific, Debbie likes her re-designs). [I really do – Ed.] I’ll be there working, by which I mean probably crying my eyes out playing That Dragon, Cancer or seeing what the fuck is even up with Gun Monkeys

Please stop me at any time on the show floor. I want to play a game of The Resistance with you. They’ll have a copy there. Let’s play it. Let’s play it together. I’m not a spy.