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Japan to support indie game developers with acceleration program


  • Japan launches Sofu project to support indie game developers.
  • Program offers mentorship, expenses, and networking opportunities for next-gen creators.
  • Participants engage in lectures, receive mentor guidance, and present results in Tokyo.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has unveiled a program to support indie game developers, named the Sofu project.

This is targeted towards the ‘next generation of creators’ in the video game area who ‘have the motivation and ability to create and deliver original works,’ from the production to the full development of the project.

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

He described the program as being a ‘breakthrough,’ because “until now there has been no direct support for indies from gov in Japan even though we already have many great game companies. And so happy to tell that I’m involved in this project as an executive member of the iGi indie Game incubator team.”

According to the Sofu website, the project officially began on March 22 2024 with an offering of a mentor, expenses and the ability to create a connection and network with like-minded people.

The government has created two departments within the scheme, one being the ‘game program’ and the other being the ‘video and film’ area which will run concurrently with the gaming side.

Participants will take part in lectures, with a mentor accompanying them to provide advice and technical support in the production process.

In October 2024, in Tokyo, the program will be halfway through and the people selected will present their results ahead of the final presentation in February 2025.

People who have graduated from junior high school and are under 35 years old are eligible.

The Japanese indie game scene is growing

Japan has long been a powerhouse for the gaming scene with giants like Sega and Nintendo being based out of there, but the pathway for developers hasn’t always been so concrete.

In 2023, the BitSummit event reached the 10 year mark since its inception. This introduces games from Japanese independent developers to fans and the rest of the world.

The last BitSummit event, which is the largest indie festival for developers in the country, saw more games and developers than ever before. In its inaugural year around 200 attendees were present, with 2023 seeing over 23,000 visitors.

Featured image: Photo by Joan Gamell on Unsplash

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Sophie Atkinson
Tech Journalist

Sophie Atkinson is a UK-based journalist and content writer, as well as a founder of a content agency which focuses on storytelling through social media marketing. She kicked off her career with a Print Futures Award which champions young talent working in print, paper and publishing. Heading straight into a regional newsroom, after graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism, Sophie started by working for Reach PLC. Now, with five years experience in journalism and many more in content marketing, Sophie works as a freelance writer and marketer. Her areas of specialty span a wide range, including technology, business,…

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