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Japan supports independent game developers with acceleration program

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has unveiled a plan to support independent game developers called Project Sofu.

This is aimed at the “next generation of creators” in the video game space who have the “motivation and ability to create and deliver original works,” from production to full development of a project.

Game developer Takaaki Ichijo shared the news on the X platform.

He described the program as a “breakthrough” because “even though we already have many excellent game companies, so far the Japanese government has not provided direct support to independent developers. I am happy to say that as a Executive members of the iGi Indie Games Incubator team are involved in this project.”

The program, which officially launched on March 22, 2024, provides mentors, fees and the ability to connect and network with like-minded people, according to Sohu.com.

The government has set up two departments in the plan, one for the “Games Project” and the other for the “Videos and Films” area, which will run concurrently with the gaming aspect.

Participants will attend lectures and be accompanied by a mentor to provide advice and technical support during the production process.

In October 2024, the project will reach its halfway point in Tokyo, where selected candidates will present their results before a final presentation in February 2025.

Those who have graduated from junior high school and are under the age of 35 are eligible.

Japan’s indie game scene is growing

Japan has long been a powerhouse in the gaming world, with giants like Sega and Nintendo based in the country, but the path for developers hasn’t always been so concrete.

In 2023, the BitSummit event will celebrate its 10th anniversary. This will introduce fans and the rest of the world to games from Japanese independent developers.

The last BitSummit event was the largest independent festival for developers in the country, attracting more games and developers than ever before. Around 200 attendees were present at the first edition, and in 2023 there will be more than 23,000 visitors.

Featured Image: Photo by Joan Gamell on Unsplash


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