Shahid Kamal Ahmad is the most important man in PlayStation gaming right now. And you don’t even know who he is.
Well, you probably don’t, but if that’s the case, you most certainly will.
Think about how big the last few months have been for Sony and indie development. Dozens of titles on display at GDC 2013. Gems like Thomas Was Alone, Hotline Miami, Terraria, Lone Survivor, Super Crate Box, Ibb & Obb, CounterSpy, Hohokum, Doki-Doki Universe, and more, all arriving on PS4, PS3, and/or PS Vita. Scores of developers–from The Witness’ Jonathan Blow to Brian Provinciano of Retro City Rampage fame–singing Sony’s praises and eager to jump onboard. Waiving the publishing fee for PlayStation Mobile games, thereby removing absolutely all barriers of entry for indie devs to put their games on PS Vita and certified devices.
Shahid Ahmad is responsible for most of it.
At least, that’s the impression you get from the man’s Twitter account, where, as SCEE’s Senior Business Development Manager, he can be found courting developers with his glowing passion for bringing PlayStation customers what they want–games. Yesterday, he teased an "AMAZING big title" coming soon to PS Vita. Earlier in the day, IGN ran a feature on Sony’s push for indie developers that highlighted Shahid’s role in the process. As I write this, NeoGAF is exploding with speculation about his projects, having lobbied to get him a GAF membership.
He’s as close to an overnight celebrity as you’ll find in this business.
In the last 24 hours, Shahid’s passion for games has been evident in the way he’s treated fans and developers on Twitter. It’s utterly refreshing to watch this process unfold; the transparency of a Sony employee chatting with indie devs and inviting them to email him directly has me more excited for the immediate future of PlayStation than anything. This is the kind of support that sells systems, that guarantees the best surprises. Braid and LIMBO came to Xbox 360 first. Bastion, Fez, Super Meat Boy, and Minecraft have yet to come to PlayStation at all. But if things keep up like this, the next generation will look very, very different. PS4 will rule the indie roost.
in no particular order:
Still not convinced? Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail, creator of Super Crate Box (pictured below), told IGN that when his demonstration PS Vita was stolen during an expo last year, Shahid gave Rami his personal Vita so the demos could continue.
PlayStation needs this man.
Kyle Prahl couldn’t be more excited about the future of PlayStation game development. You can follow him on Twitter for the ravings of a college student that writes about video games.