Rarely has a videogame executive enjoyed such an honest moment of joy on stage as Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. He delivered the news at E3 that PlayStation 4 will permit used game sales and retail for $100 less than its rival, Xbox One. This sucker punch was aimed at Microsoft’s hardware plans, but it was when Sony called a clutch of indie game makers to the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena stage that the publisher started a fight on the software front. “We absolutely love scouring the Earth for inspirational indie developers,” said Adam Boyes, VP of thirdparty relations at SCE, while the eight creators played their games in a semi-circle of giant screens, front and centre of Sony’s next-generation presentation. “We’re developing the world’s best indie game portfolio across all the PlayStation platforms, and giving developers the ability to self-publish their games.”This commitment to the independent game development scene is arguably in Sony’s DNA. Following the launch of the original PlayStation in Japan, Sony ran numerous programs to aid startup Japanese development studios. Many professional developers cut their teeth on Sony’s Net Yaroze consumer development kit for PlayStation, and the company has continued to invest in new talent with ongoing student competitions and its so-called ‘pub fund’ for original independent IP such as 2012’s Dyad. But that support has traditionally taken place backstage; Sony’s bold, brash pledge to indies was on parade at E3. So does this showboating represent a true sharpening of commitment, or is indie support merely another tick on the company’s marketing plan?“We’ve been fairly indie-friendly for a while now on paper, allowing self-publishing on PSN for more than five years,” says Nick Suttner, account support manager at Sony Computer Entertainment America, who describes his job as ‘helping cool indie games come to PlayStation platforms’.”In the beginning, we did a pretty poor job at explaining this, so we’ve spent the last 18 months putting the message out there that we’re a very open, easy platform holder to work with. At the same time, we’ve examined the process through the eyes of an indie, eliminating every roadblock and fee that we can along the way. The indie PSN content and announcements you’ve seen so far this year are a direct reflection of those efforts. We’ve discovered the big secret behind indies wanting to work with you is this: don’t be jerks.”