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Steam, XBLA, PSN key to indie success - Murray

"Without the support of at least one of those outlets, the chances of success are reduced from tiny to almost non-existent"

Hello Games CEO Sean Murray has spoken of the importance of services like PSN, Steam and XBLA to the success of indie development - arguing that they represent a near-vital part of the publication process.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz after his presentation at Develop earlier this month, Murray touched on a number of topics surrounding the UK development industry. One of the key issues, he believes, is the continuing support of those services which allow developers to get games in front of huge audiences at minimal cost, but also their ability to promote a game once released.

"I think without the support of at least one of those outlets, the chances of success are reduced from tiny to almost non-existent," Murry said when asked about the role of XBLA, Steam and PSN.

If you talk to indie developers, they might say, 'we've been turned down by Steam, or XBLA or PSN'. It's often a real finishing blow for any studio

Sean Murray, Hello Games

"I think that if you talked to other indie developers, they might say, 'we've been turned down by Steam, or XBLA or PSN'. It's a really common thing to hear, but it's also often a real finishing blow for any studio.

"Often people are 100 per cent relying on it. Not just their approval process, but with someone like Apple you are 100 per cent reliant on them promoting your game. Without that, the service is nothing. It's the same for Steam, it's the same for XBLA, PSN - being on their services is only worth the amount of promotion that you're going to be blessed with.

"I think they are also in complete control of that scene, in complete control of the output of indie developers. It's kind of a scary place, but I think we're certainly lucky to have them. If you look at the last generation, you couldn't make a PS2 game unless you were with a publisher and had a pretty sizeable team. There were no other options."

Murray's comments also reflect those of fellow Develop speaker, ngmoco co-founder Alan Yu. He made clear in a panel discussion the importance of highlighting the distinction between self-publishing and self-distribution.

"You can self distribute, but everyone else can too, right," Yu told GamesIndustry.biz. "That's like saying that if you get the key to Walmart then you can get in and put your product on the shelf with everyone else.

"Whether or not you work with a publisher or you do it yourself, I think you have to have competence in differentiating your product, knowing your audience, learning how to speak to them and getting the word out - whether that's a publisher or you doing it yourself. Self distribution doesn't mean self-publishing - they're two different things."

For the full interview with Sean, head over to the features section.

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