The PS4’s happy dad Mark Cerny has very clear ideas on the potential of Sony’s upcoming console, and today, during a keynote at Develop 2013 in Brighton, UK, he explained why he feels that the PS4 will fundamentally change the landscape of gaming, especially related to the spreading appeal of indie games.
With the Release of PlayStation 4 we understand that we have an opportunity to fundamentally alter the landscape of gaming. On the technology side the supercharged PC Architecture of the platform has made it both easier to bring indie game titles to PlayStation 4 and easier to develop original titles directly on the platform.
Even if the game uses simpler graphics and engines the increased system memory means that it is trivial to support larger animation sets or more detailed virtual worlds. On PlayStation 4 I believe the indie paradigm will have the hardware as an enabler and not as the central player.
He then went on to explain how things changed on the business side of things, especially thanks to Adam Boyle, that pushed Sony Computer Entertainment to radically simplify concept approval for games:
We fully support self publishing across all platforms, so it’s now possible for developers to maintain complete creative and financial control, we now pretty much support any business model, whether it be buy to play, free to play, episodic, or micro transactions, and we’re doing what we can to support indie development financially as well, whether that be through loaner DevKits or our Incubation Program or direct support from Pub Fund.
For those that don’t know, the Incubator Program allows developers to increase their technical know-how on actual PlayStation development hardware with the PlayStation SDK, and to have access to developer support resources.
Pub Fund is an investment of $20,000,000 started in 2009 to seek out and and finance independent developers that would develop titles on PlayStation platforms. While Sony invests money into the development and marketing of titles it’s not formally the publisher, doesn’t retain any rights to any of the IPs involved and does not set the price of the games.
We also understand that accessibility is paramount, so we’ve gone for putting our process out front, to putting people out front. Which is to say that your indie journey on PlayStation 4 as a developer begins by tweeting Saheed Ahmad (Editor’s note: Saheed Ahmad is SCEE’s Senior Business Development Manager), not by filling out a form.
Finally he mentioned that the share button helps the members of the gaming community to give more visibility to the titles they like, which undoubtedly will help indie developers get the word about their games on the street.
That’s quite a solid support across the board for our brave indies, and the return has been quite visible, with 505 different development studios working on the upcoming hardware. To see how well it’ll pay out in the end, we’ll have to wait for the launch of the console and the upcoming few years after that, but for now things look quite good already.
You can see and listen to the relevant part of the presentation yourself in the video below. As usual when Mark Cerny is involved, it’s definitely worth ten minutes of your time, and then some.