A Reflection On Bitsummit

The dust has settled and we’ve finally slunk home to recover. After an insane weekend, we bit a bittersweet farewell to Bitsummit 3: Return of the Indies. There was so much that happened, it’s impossible to try and narrow it all down in a single blog post. If you were able to check out our Twitter, our Vines or even our intermittent Periscope broadcasts, you know there was a bit of everything going on.

 

One thing that we really took away from the entire event is the new face of gaming and how it’s evolving as we head towards the future. For years, indie developers and AAA studios seemed to take on personas of “us versus them.” That you stood on one team, regardless of profession or interest in the gaming world, and you needed to staunchly oppose the other side of the coin. Even in Japan, the indie scene seemed more of a “me versus them,” with doujin creators sequestering themselves away from others in the craft. The success you felt could only exist in singularity, and the shyness and suspicion of others kept all drafting and prototyping deep underground.

 

BitSummit clearly showed an amazing swing towards something new and exciting in the world of the Japanese indie scene. Everyone broke bread and came together, excitedly showing and asking about every project they could get to. Big names like Microsoft were there, but their game space didn’t show off Gears of War; instead, Goat Simulator brought in the players. The Unity space had Wii Us and PS Vitas set to play Never Alone and Octodad. People genuinely wanted feedback from the games they were making, and it was a loud, fun and safe environment to be honest without being cruel.

 

Bitsummit may never achieve the notoriety of PAX or the Tokyo Game Show, but that may be what keeps it alive for the years to come. The small atmosphere and sociable presence that ran throughout, that’s what makes it Japan and, more specifically, Kyoto. As the indie scene grows and becomes more global, there will always be some who want to play in their own backyard, and will be happy to invite friends over. I had a blast this year with BitSummit, and thanks to everyone who was able to attend. If you couldn’t come down this year, I really hope we see you next time: don’t worry, your spot is waiting.

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