A few days ago Sony Computer Entertainment released an official fact sheet for the PS4. Many, blinded by the price, the specs, the #NoDRM celebrations and the Xbox One mudslinging, didn’t notice a very relevant detail mentioned at the bottom of the release.
PS4 has earned great support from a wide variety of game publishers, including many indie developers. Since February 2013, the number of developers joining has increased from 126 to 505.
505 studios (that have nothing to do with the Italian publisher named 505 Games) currently working or planning to work on the PS4 are an extremely impressive number, and have the potential to slingshot Sony’s upcoming console into the new generation, but truth is that we don’t yet know a whole lot about most of them. As a matter of fact we know something only about little more than a third of them.
With a few hours of research I added to the list released by Sony itself in February the studios that announced games in development for the PS4 since then. This allowed me to identify 160 studios. You can see them in the table at the bottom of this post (feel free to add your own discoveries in the comments if I missed any). I also included the titles of the games that have already been announced (or that are rumored with any semi-solid backing) and color coded them to identify the games that have already been confirmed as exclusive or multiplatform for reference.
It’s also interesting to notice that since the announcement in February, two studios that were confirmed as working on PS4 were closed, even if those that joined the bandwagon obviously more than made up for the loss.
The presence of indie developers is very solid, considering the self-publishing program that is drawing them in like a jar of honey would attract a hungry bear, and I’m quite positive that the indie movement is behind a large slice of the massive increase from 126 to 505 studios. They may very well end up making the difference in the number-slinging battle that will naturally take place at the onset of the next generation.
It’s also quite noticeable that, while many Japanese developers are listed, very few of them have revealed their plans yet. That’s possibly due to the fact that we still don’t know if the console will be released in Japan this year. We can only hope that this won’t cause a delay in the adoption of the next generation platform in the archipelago of the raising sun. It happened with the current generation and the local industry suffered sensibly, losing its competitive edge. Even large publishers like Sega or Namco Bandai are on board, but they are still tight-lipped on their detailed plans.
The number of Japanese games that will get localized for the western market might also impact rather heavily the number of games most of us will actually be able to enjoy. Hopefully the further shift towards digital distribution will encourage more localizations from smaller publishers like it did for the PS Vita.
That said, the abundance of developers that still didn’t come out of the woodwork is staggering, not to mention the number of games that haven’t been announced even by the developers that we do know. One thing is for sure: if what we’ve learned so far sounds impressive, the full picture could be even more momentous, especially given the healthy mix of genres, Indie and AAA titles, the push for MMORPGs and the presence of studios hailing from many different nations and cultures. An exceptional degree of diversity (that is somehow lacking in the current generation) should be ensured.
Of course we can only wait and see what will happen, as details are still scarce, but it’s hard not to wonder and dream at least a little on what the future holds.