The time is nearly upon us for the largest gathering of Japanese indies this side of Comiket: BitSummit 2015 is just around the corner! Running two days in Kyoto, BitSummit is the most amazing combination of a gaming exposition and a celebration of the indie scene, not just in Japan but around the world. There is joy and art within, and the atmosphere is akin to an enormous party being thrown in honor of the very idea of gaming. For many, BitSummit is more important than the Tokyo Game Show: without the heavy hitters to overshadow the event with glitz and glamour, the voices of the community can be heard and processed much easier.
It’s hard to believe that this will only be the third ever BitSummit. Starting from humble beginnings, BitSummit was originally coordinated and orchestrated by James Mielke as a place for all the doujin devs to come together and proudly display their works, which, in essence, is who they are. The event as expanded exponentially in this short amount of time: the first ever BitSummit had only about 200 attendees, which is admirable for a launch event. This year will see thousands from all over the globe, with developers flying in from Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania to showcase their games.
Additionally, outside supporters of BitSummit have also increased. The first BitSummit saw Epic Games, Unity and Valve throwing their hats in: companies that have pioneered and driven the indies to expand their scope and enjoy more autonomy. This year, Microsoft, Sony and GungHo (of Puzzles & Dragon fame) join the show, exemplifying the impact that indie games have had both in Japan and on the scope of gaming in general. It’s an idea that BitSummit helps to coax and cultivate: that the hobby and personalization of indie devs can be turned into a very real career if they wish. Rather than try and curtail the hobbyist lifestyle, BitSummit is the encouragement and communal gathering that shows there can still be unity in independence.
If you can’t make it out to Kyoto this weekend, we’ll be doing our best to share as much of the excitement and camaraderie as we possibly can. Hope to see you then, and, if not, don’t worry: BitSummit will definitely be there next year.