PS4: how indie plugged the early days gap with resounding success

Tuesday, 14th January 2014 09:13 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Indie releases are keeping Patrick Garratt plugged into his PS4, despite his skepticism last year that smaller games wouldn’t be enough to lubricate the initial insertion of Sony’s next generation.

I keep switching my PS4 on, and it’s because of indie. I may have played some of this stuff before, but I don’t care. If I can have them again for my TV, I’m hardly going to say no.

I was skeptical of Sony’s sudden affinity to indie last year. As the PS4 promo roadshow rumbled on, the prominence given to smaller games on the bigger stages seemed forced to me, a cutesy smokescreen to cover the lack of launch triple-A. I wasn’t the only one throwing around the adage that one doesn’t spend £400 to play games you can buy on PC for the price of a few cups of coffee in any Steam sale.

As ever, I was partially wrong. Yesterday’s announcement of Outlast hitting PS4 in the February PS Plus line-up was one of the biggest stories of the day. Outlast is a great game (I played through the first few hours on PC before being distracted by whatever extraneous butterfly I’ve since forgotten), but Sony’s success with securing these indie console exclusives isn’t specifically about the nature of the content; it’s about games being released for the machine at all. How are all those new Xbox One titles working out for you?

Because it doesn’t matter if you’ve already played Outlast or Don’t Starve, the star of the January PS Plus roster. They’re new to PS4 and they’re “free,” so it means you turn on your console and download them and play for a bit (or a lot) and while you’re doing that you check all your notifications and play a bit of CoD because it’s there, and go back to AC4 and do a few more missions because why not? And there’s Zen Pinball 2. I know I bought God knows how many tables on 360 but so what. It’s free. And you’re using your PS4. Indie is keeping Sony’s next generation current in a time traditionally reserved for editorials moaning about a lack of content. No, they’re not the next Uncharted, but anyone complaining about there not being a triple-A game releasing every month for a console just after it’s launched probably isn’t that au fait with games in general. And you have a PS3, right? Maybe just settle for BioShock Infinite for now.

Sony’s need for cheap exclusives in the slow patch at the start of the PS4′s life was doomed to failure, so many of us thought, because of the likelihood of previous releases on PC, but the reality is that PS Plus is putting the likes of Don’t Starve and Outlast in front of an entirely new audience. I love PC games, but I never would have played Don’t Starve without its PS Plus release. On Steam it’s another indie game; on Plus it’s the indie game for the month and I can just press the button to try it. I’ve lost count of the impromptu streams I’ve seen popping up on social media as a result, feeds from journalists and gamers who’d never take to Twitch with a PC version. Looking further out, the games get bigger and newer: Transistor, Octodad and Abe’s Oddysee: New n’ Tasty soon. I can’t wait for the blockbusters, but turns out indie’s just as big a turn-on for the TV. Maybe all that marketese about breadth of content wasn’t bullshit after all.

I was half-wrong. You don’t drop £400 on a console to play Contrast, but it certainly helps ease the notes from your wallet if you get Contrast and Don’t Starve and Outlast and Resogun and Zen Pinball 2 and Blacklight and Warframe on top of your Plus sub, and flOw and Doki-Doki Universe and whatever else for a few quid. It’s plenty of extra stuff for very little extra money. I keep switching my PS4 on, and it’s because of indie. I may have played some of this stuff before, but I don’t care. If I can have them again for my TV, I’m hardly going to say no.



  1. Pytox

    yea i got enough to play, this is the time to continue shortening the backlog
    driveclub prolly will be there soon too and then it will be infamous, watch dogs ,… and more

    #1 11 months ago
  2. Major Mayhem 70

    I know exactly how you feel Patrick. I try to rationalize why I bought the PS4 so early as well.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. The_Red

    Haven’t gotten a PS4 yet but this is really good news. Getting new audiences to try these weird PC games is beyond great. It helps both the console (By keeping it plugging in instead of its rivals) and the developer (By creating new breed of fans on a newborn platform).

    Hopefully they keep it up and don’t drop the indie focus like MS did. Seriously, Xbox Live had a few amazing years with indie titles. Hell, even I found Spelunky through their service rather than Steam. What happened to chasing / helping Fez, Shadow Complex, Castle Crashers and other indie darlings?

    #3 11 months ago
  4. daniel8157

    Most of this article is pretty much how I feel about PS+ and the PS4 to some extent. I’ve always bought consoles at launch so I know not to expect too much content for a while. I don’t think some people realise how long it takes to make AAA games now, its not like in the C64 days where you could knock out a game in a week or two.
    In terms of PS+ its got me to play (and enjoy) so many games I wouldn’t normally play. I know there is a load of stuff on steam that I would love but I don’t have loads of time to play so its good to just be given something cool to play rather than searching through steam for the stuff I would like. Also, it gets me to try stuff I probably wouldn’t have chosen otherwise. I think Thomas was alone was a good one, wouldn’t have give it a second look on steam but really enjoyed playing it.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. Dragon

    Great opinion. +1

    Games are always scarce at launch. This indie initiative helps it a lot.

    X1 got Spartan Assault recently, and?….

    Plus is good for me. I will buy PS4 at Christmas at the earliest, and by then I would have more than 12 PS4 games ready to be played.
    Nice deal :D

    #5 11 months ago
  6. Djoenz

    I might buy mine around august around my birthday. A friend of mine has it and after borrowing it for a day Im swept away by its controller and UI. Well the speed of the thing really the UI itself cant be optimized/customized.

    Played Ghosts and that shit game is like Camp Of Duty extreme. Lame players..Awful MP…and I have played COD since mw. Extinction is great however.

    I own Ghosts on PS3 and even the SP looks like dogshit compared to the PS4 version. Must be the frames?

    #6 11 months ago
  7. Dragon

    I still have a horrendous amount of backlog on PS3, which I used very sparingly last 2 years, since Vita came. I will only look for PS4 only after being finished with PS3. I am really bad at going bad to previous consoles. Graphics look shit. Ask my PSP what happened after Vita came :D

    #7 11 months ago
  8. Lahanas

    “How are all those new Xbox One titles working out for you?”

    You have got to be kidding. Xbox One has by far the better launch lineup and since then Max and Halo Spartan Assault have been released. Yes they are not a big deal but especially Max is an ideal game for this slow period after the launch.

    In the same time, Sony has absolutely dropped the ball with the games for PS4. Mediocre launch games, just a good arcade shooter and some indies that are already on PC. Sony hasnt even announced enough games for the console yet, while Xbox One’s lineup for 2014 looks insane.

    Never before in this industry has a company had such success like Sony with the PS4, by doing almost nothing remarkable. And the gamers, the media, everyone is praising them while Xbox One has been winning on the games front since E3.

    #8 11 months ago
  9. Djoenz

    I feel ya man. I havent played a lot of games tbh. Can you believe it that I never played RDR but only the Zombie standalone xD

    Never played Bioshock series except Bioshock 1 at a friends house on xbox for couple hours.

    Never played Resistance series.
    Only played 1 God of war game that was free on PSN+.
    Never played Far Cry or any in the series.
    Nier neither etc etc..

    My backlog is insane. Never played Demon Souls nor Dark Souls …

    Poor psp man hehe. Im the same though. I cant go back to pixelated shit even if the nostalgia hits me in the face.

    #9 11 months ago
  10. OlderGamer

    PSN+ is simply a great value and one of the main reasons I own a PS4.

    For me the indies offered don’t keep me glued to the tele. Not because there is anything wrong with them, but because I just prefer to play different games. Consoles have been losing me for years. I love the potiental of both the PS4 and WiiU. But I they still aren’t enough for me not to turn my PC on and log into Steam.

    I think my PS4 is neat. And I think down the road it could be something I get a lot of hours out of. However right now…taking an indie game and plucking it out of the crowd and placing it on a system where it can have the center stage doesn’t make it a better game imo.

    Over all I have never had so much of an “I don’t care” feeling towards gaming on consoles as I have right now. I must be losing touch. I log into Steam daily, I fire up my consoles once in awhile.

    And lol at Lahanas, sorry friend, but that was so fanboy it was funny.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. Dragon

    “I cant go back to pixelated shit even if the nostalgia hits me in the face.”

    #11 11 months ago
  12. fearmonkey

    “I never would have played Don’t Starve without its PS Plus release. On Steam it’s another indie game; on Plus it’s the indie game for the month”

    Thats a great point Pat, and it’s the same way with me. I would probably never play Don’t Starve and games like contrast on PC, because I have so many games on Steam that I havent played already. It’s not that I would avoid a good indie game, it’s more that I already own a ton of good indie games I need to invest more time in.

    However, being on PS4 as a PS PLus game means I’ll DL’d it and give it a go.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. stalepie

    I wish the categories were “A”, “AA” and “AAA” for budgets, and indies seen as “A” and then middle ground games (we need more of ‘em!) as double A.

    #13 11 months ago
  14. lolatfanboys

    I still have no Xbox or Ps4, because…there was nothing there to play, just as it was with Ps3, some people learn…or don´t have the big bucks :D

    #14 11 months ago

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