Speaking at a developer conference in Brighton, Mark Cerny predicts an indie fueled “renaissance of gaming” for the PlayStation 4. Cerny believes that indie developers will use the PlayStation 4 platform to create a diverse array of games that will rival the PlayStation era.
“With PSOne there was no way to make an indie title,” he said. “The hardware didn’t support digital downloads and all games were distributed on CD-ROMs. There was no way for creators to directly reach their audience.
But triple-A game development was very different than it was today. Crash Bandicoot, which sold six million units, was created by just seven people. A typical individual would contribute broadly in the creation of a game.
Due to small team sizes the barriers to creating new types of experiences were quite low, and consequently the diversity of games available at retail was quite high. As a result, there was a certain fun factor that was an intrinsic part of the PlayStation DNA in those years.
This is all due in part to Sony’s determination and drive to court the indie developer making it easier for them to create and self publish titles on the PlayStation 4. With the PlayStation 4’s PC like architecture, larger virtual worlds can be created using a simple graphics engine along with the increased system memory.
To help get indie developed games to market faster, Sony had to simplify concept approval for self publishing across all platforms. Sony now supports the different business models of buy-to-play, free-to-play, episodic, or micro-transactions giving indie developers complete control over their titles. When it comes to financial support, Sony fully supports crowd funding and the use of loaner dev kits.
Seeing the effort Sony is making to support the indie developer, it’s no wonder people are under the assumption that they have won the next gen console war. I’m speechless at the effort they are putting into cultivating the indie developer especially considering Microsoft is doing the opposite or nothing at all. Let’s face it: as much as this helps the indie developer release a game, it also benefits Sony financially when a title is sold. Of course this means there will ultimately be the glut of games on the market but it also means there will be that shining gem of a game that stands out above the rest. I can’t wait for November to roll around and the PlayStation 4 to launch.
Here is an interview from Develop13 conference with Mark Cerny and another video highlighting the indie section of his talk.