There’s been lots of interesting media discussion around PlayStation Minis recently which seems to have been kicked off by the guys over at FuturLab. So I thought this would be an opportune time to stick our oar in and talk about our experiences on the Minis platform.
Unlike many developers we actually came to Minis via the world of boxed games. Our first two releases, Road to Vegas (DS) and Mary King’s Riding School (Wii) were released by our sister companies Midas & Ghostlight for whom we have also been involved with several localisations. Details of which can be found on our games page.
From a technical standpoint Minis have been a great route into self publishing as it has given us the opportunity to learn about the complexities of publishing on console, but in a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. Of course making your games available for people to buy is only one part of self publishing. Being on PlayStation Minis has also given us the opportunity to learn about promotion of our games whilst receiving great marketing support from the platform holder itself.
While it’s possible to drop off the radar soon after release on some platforms, the support from Sony combined with their structuring of updates means that all Minis draw attention in the approach to and upon release. This guarantees us an opportunity to build some serious word of mouth marketing.
Furthermore the Minis programme has allowed us to build a stronger relationship with Sony. With help from our account manager (thanks Neil :)) we have been able to make several games part of the PS+ programme leading to many gamers playing our products who might not otherwise have done so. This has then lead to gamers investigating some of our other products which has ultimately pushed our company’s sales further. Minis have also given us the opportunity to have our games published in territories outside of Europe, Australia and New Zealand as we’ve now had games published in both North America & Asia. Lastly, the success of our Minis has paved the way for us to take the next big step in publishing our own full PS3 titles on PSN. Last year we released our first PS3 title on PSN, the mighty Cubixx HD, which was in fact the sequel to one of our earlier Minis, Cubixx. We’re now hard at work on another full priced PSN title, the infamous “Mystery Game X.”
The smaller size of PlayStation minis have given us a chance to experiment creatively which has lead to some of our most critically successful Minis. For example, OMG-Z, which is not only in the top ten PSP games of all time but the highest rated Mini according to Metacritic, and Hungry Giraffe which was the first Mini to get 10 out of 10 in Official PlayStation Magazine UK. Since the projects are relatively small, we’ve been able to create and experiment with games in many different genres which has helped us grow as a company and develop our very own Laughing Jackal style of gaming.
Our Minis have also been successful in terms of raw numbers. At this point in time we are approaching 1 million PSN downloads worldwide. While at this point we are moving away from Minis with a full PSN title in development (among other things), they are certainly not something we regret getting involved in and have given us a great start as a developer.