Strong start for Resogun and Contrast on PS4 – but Sony must maintain indie support

Resogun 2

Resogun was among the top-rated PS4 launch games; we awarded Housemarque’s PS4 debut an 8 in our review.

Indies Housemarque and Compulsion Games have hailed the early success of their PS4 launch titles Resogun and Contrast, giving fellow indies hope that smaller titles can thrive on the new console.

The indie duo enjoyed little competition on PS4’s storefront at launch, available for download in amongst some very highly-priced blockbuster games. Resogun and Contrast’s inclusion as free downloads for PlayStation Plus subscribers also ensured that indie games were among the first titles many new PS4 owners played on their new hardware.

Only Sony knows the real sales figures for each, but judging by other metrics, Housemarque’s Resogun is getting as much attention as some triple-A games – if not more, says the studio.

“We know Resogun has a great retention rate, people keep going back to it,” Housemarque community manager Tommaso De Benetti told us. “Last time we checked, it was on par with much bigger budget games. Also, we have the highest number of community ratings on PSN at the moment – over 18,800 reviews. In comparison, Killzone Shadow Fall has 1,200 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has 1,700. It looks like a lot of people are liking Resogun more than much more hyped games, though of course it is free with PlayStation Plus.”

Compulsion Games, which released Contrast for 360 and Steam as well as on PS4, told us that Sony’s platform had been the most successful of the three, thanks again to PlayStation Plus and few competing titles on day one.

Contrast fared less well critically but remains a commercial success. Read our review here.

“It’s still early and we don’t have accurate sales data for all platforms yet, but we’re definitely most active on PS4,” said Compulsion Games’ studio head Guillaume Provost. “The game is free for all PlayStation Plus subscribers until January 7, so there’s a much larger user base on that platform.

“Our experience on PS4 has been really good, but then again, we’re currently free on that platform. It’s also easier to get attention on a new platform when you’re out at launch because there’s fewer games for players to choose from.”

But can indies attract this kind of attention on PS4 in the long-term? Though Housemarque and Compulsion are delighted with PS4’s launch, they each acknowledge that they have each had strong support from Sony – and they urge the platform holder to continue that investment.

“Sony seems to have a solid strategy for indies on PS4, and we are aware of a number of cool things that are coming on the platform sooner or later,” said De Benetti. “It’s not just a stunt for the launch, they want indies to have a specific role in bringing new customers in on the hardware.

“Hopefully the response we are having will push Sony to invest even more in smaller titles – there’s clearly demand for them on other platforms, and there’s no reason why they couldn’t do extremely well on the new consoles as well. Also, indies are often a great fit with people that cannot dedicate 100 hours to a single game because of work, family constraints or just general time availability. The audience is out there, and Sony knows it. So far, we are really pleased with their attitude towards new ways to enjoy games.”

Housemarque and Compulsion have both urged Sony to continue its support of indies long-term, and not just for launch.

Compulsion Games’ Guillaume Provost agrees. “I think Sony has been doing a very good job at welcoming and embracing independents, and that’s something that you’re seeing reflected in their store policies,” he added.

“I hope it holds. There is a growing appetite for all digital downloads, be they retail games or indie games. The market is also getting more crowded, but I still think that a lot of unique games are shining through and seeing strong sales.”