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The So-Fu program will help Japanese indie devs with product management, teach them more about game development, and how to pitch their projects to stakeholders.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 25, 2024

1 Min Read
Logo for Japan's So-Fu game program for independent developers.
Image via So-Fu/Indie Game Incubator.

At a Glance

  • Those accepted into the So-Fu program will get a crash course on how to navigate Japan's game development scene.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has created an acceleration program specifically for the country's independent games scene.

Known as So-Fu (or "create a new wind"), the program provides mentorship and financial support for indie developers. Unlike other initiatives like Screen Australia, which helps its local creators financially, this is more centered on the practical parts of development.

As noted by developer Takaaki Ichijo, this marks the first instance of direct support for indie developers from Japan's government. Ichijo is also involved with the program, which he said furthers his dream of "helping [the] rise of Japanese indie game developers."

To be eligible, individuals and teams must be of Japanese nationality, or have permanent residence in Japan. They also need to have graduated high school by April 1, 2024, and for unspecified reasons, be younger than 35 years old.

Under the program, recipients will attend lectures on industry trends, get project management and production planning advice, and speak with industry veterans like Kuukiyomi producer Koichi Takeshita and Neon Noroshi's Tomoko Miya.

After delivering an "intermediate achievement presentation" in October, accepted recipients will have a final meeting in February 2025, where they will present their project to industry stakeholders.

A similar program for film is running concurrently, and with the same general schedule outline.

Applicants for either program can sign up here from now until April 26. An explanatory seminar will take place on April 4, with signups open until Thursday, March 28.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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