How Tough is It to Develop and Release Console Games for Indonesian Developers?

By Febrianto Nur Anwari

The main challenge for Indonesian developers is not the lack of skill nor budget. What should they do first if they want to develop and release game on console?

The biggest challenge for Indonesian developers to develop and release a console game is not the lack of skill nor budget. Then what is it?

There are many Indonesian game developers that gained success in mobile platform. Even titles like Mini Racing Adventures, Tahu Bulat and Tebak Gambar already reached more than 5 million downloads across the world until now. Then, there are several developers gained their success in PC, like DreadOut, Infectonator: Survivors or Celestian Tales: Old North.

But, how about console game? The number of Indonesian developers who create games for console is too small. Recently, only one studio has created a game for console, Mintsphere from Jakarta. It already created and released Fallen Legion both for PS4 and PS Vita.

The question is, how tough is it to develop and release console game for Indonesian developers? What is the biggest challenge for them? The answer is not because of the lack of skill nor the big budget to create them. But, because it is difficult (or maybe almost impossible until now) to get access to console’s development kit.

The Need of Development Kit to Develop Console Game

console game development

Console game development is not similar to PC game development. To develop and to release a console game, the developers should have additional resources. The most important thing is to have a development kit or dev kit.

According to Toge Productions, a game developer and publisher from Indonesia, dev kit is a special hardware that is not released for public. To get the dev kit, a developer should contact and order it directly from the console manufacturer. The dev kit’s amount is very limited, even produced following orders.

Every detail about dev kit tied with NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), which means the owners are not allowed to share the details (specification of photo) to the public.

The biggest problem is, there is no way to get this dev kit in Indonesia directly due to some complex reasons. So, if developers want to develop and release console game, they must do another tough way to get this dev kit first before start making a game.

So, How to Get Dev Kit for Console Game Development in Indonesia?

Although it is almost impossible, Indonesian developers can do some ways to develop and release a console game. There are:


Partnership with Publishers or Other Foreign Developers

console game development

One way that developers can do is doing a partnership with developers or publishers from other countries that have legal access to the dev kit. Fallen Legion is a good example. The developers, Mintsphere from Indonesia has partnered with YummyYummyTummy from the US to develop and publish the game in PS4 and PS Vita.

In this case, the YummyYummyTummy has access to PlayStation’s dev kit and help Mintsphere to finish and publish the game.


Pick the Dev Kit and Bring it to Indonesia

console game development

The other solution is partnering with a foreign company, and let the dev kit ship to the company. Then, we should pick up the dev kit personally, and bring it to Indonesia. This is how Toge Productions get the dev kit according to their press release. They try to bring the Nintendo Switch’s dev kit to develop Ultra Space Battle Brawl. You can read more about their plan to make Switch version of the game through this article.

“Although it is difficult, luckily the manufacturer like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are keen to help. We have partners in other countries, so the dev kit will send to them. Then, Toge Productions will pick up personally and bring it to Indonesia,” said the press release.

But is it legal?

If the developers choose this way, they must prepare to face some risk that could appear. Getting an inspection from Customs agents and paying the Customs tax is some of them. And sometimes, the dev kit will be held by Customs until the developers finish all the legal requirements.

This is what has already been experienced by Toge Productions a couple of days back. They picked up the dev kit themselves and brought it to Indonesia. But unfortunately, the Customs hold the dev kit until Toge Productions finished all the legal requirements.

Still, from the same press release, Toge Productions said that they don’t break the rules. They only chose an unusual way to get the dev kit. To bring the dev kit to Indonesia is harder than we thought because the manufacturer doesn’t have a branch office in Indonesia. So, they can’t help Toge Productions to finish the legal things.

Toge Productions also said that they don’t have any transaction to get the dev kit from their partner. The reason is, this device is categorized as R&D, not a commercial electronic device. Also, their partner already finished all the legal paperwork in their country to get the dev kit, and then they give the dev kit to Toge Productions like a gift to help them develop the console game.

Until this article is written, Toge Productions said that the dev kit is still on hold. They now partnered with Badan Ekonomi Kreatif Indonesia (BEKRAF) to help solving this problem. With BEKRAF’s help, Toge Productions hope that they can get back the dev kit and continue their game development.


Support from Government

console game development

Head of BEKRAF Triawan Munaf (right) with CEO of Toge Productions Kris Antoni (left) and Founder of Duniaku.net Robbi Baskoro while in BEKRAF Game Prime 2017

The last thing that we can do to get the dev kit easier is asking for the government support. For example in Malaysia, Malaysia Digital Economic Corporation or MDEC helps developers to get PlayStation 4 dev kit. Then, the dev kit will place it in MDEC’s co-working space so every developer can access them easily.

Recently in Indonesia, BEKRAF already reveals their plan for this kind of support. Back in BEKRAF Game Prime 2017, Head of BEKRAF, Triawan Munaf said that they will try to bring some dev kit to Indonesia. “We hope that in the end of this year, or before the next year’s convention, we will get an update on this plan,” said Triawan Munaf.

This is How Toge Productions Brings Ultra Space Battle Brawl to Nintendo Switch

Ultra Space Battle Brawl could be the first Indonesian game released on Nintendo Switch. This is how they gained access to Nintendo Switch dev kit!

We hope that the government’s support will help a lot to bring the dev kit to Indonesia, and also make the regulation easier. So, the developers can focus on innovating and creatinhigh-qualityty games not only for PC and mobile, but also for current gen console.

Edited by Devi. Top image source: Gamespot




About Writer

Febrianto is the Senior Editor of Duniaku.net and the Lead Editor of Gameprime.org. He started his career in game industry as a game journalist since 2008, and was one of the initial members of Duniaku.net since 2011. His biggest interest is local game developer scene. Currently, his mission is to spread the news about Indonesia’s game industry to both local and international game and creative industry’s enthusiast.