Microsoft embraces indie games, owning claim to the largest selection of indie games on any platform. The reasoning behind this is because on the Xbox 360 & Xbox One there in the XNA Developer Kit. This kit, free to anyone who wishes to download it allows for anyone to craft a game from their personal computer. Released back in 2008 at the Game Developers Conference, Microsoft revealed “Xbox Live Community Games” which anyone in the community could sell their titles. Xbox released this new community in hopes of driving their popularity to new heights & it did exactly that, allowing for the company to reach new strides.
However, back in 2010 everything changed for indie developers as the Xbox Dashboard received an update which caused for indie games to be moved to the “Specialty Shops” tab of the Xbox Live Store, this caused for indie game sales to decrease drastically. Luckily, after developer exposed their outrage for a week, Microsoft made the decision to move indie games back into the main dashboard. This was a minor incident that in the long run shows that Microsoft is willing to do what’s needed to make their indie developers happy.
The only aspect about indie games was that the developers were limited as to what they could do with their games. Each game could only be a maximum 500 megabytes. A regular demo for a game at that time was 1.2 Gigabytes, meaning that indie games couldn’t even comprehend to match blockbuster titles. Each game was only allowed to be sold for $10 in Microsoft points. Over the last couple of years, due to these limitations, indie developers have begun to move their products to the Steam Network. Through this, network developers can release a game of any size, any length and any price. It is simply up to the consumer to purchase it or note.
The PlayStation Network was first launched alongside the PlayStation 3, one of the highest selling consoles in history. Before PSN, Sony hadn’t made any efforts to create an interconnected network. The closest thing to multiplayer was plugging your internet connection into the Ethernet Port for Call of Duty or Battlefield. Independent Developer quickly made their way into the PSN Market by releasing games like The Unfinished Swan, Tokyo Jungle and various others that have gone down as classics. The only issue was the poor infrastructure on which PSN ran. When the PSN was hacked a number of years ago it made international news, since then it has fallen to many DDOS Attacks which has lead to indie developers moving away from the network, rightfully so.
Unlike Valve or Microsoft, Sony doesn’t offer a special program for indie developers to craft their games on. Instead there isn’t much information about how releasing a game through Sony during the PS3 era or now even the PS4 era works. It’s always been suspected that Sony themselves contacts the developer, not the other way around. It seems that for the foreseeable future it will be the Steam Network that provides the best indie developer games while Xbox & Sony fall behind.