Indie Dev Says PSN Puts Small Studios in "Weaker" Position

Indie Dev Says PSN Puts Small Studios in "Weaker" Position

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It's tough for small studios to succeed on the Playstation Network, according to Introversion Software co-founder Mark Morris, because Sony's vetting process leaves them in a "much weaker negotiating position" than they have on Xbox Live.

Morris, who founded Introversion in 2001 with college friends Chris Delay and Thomas Arundel, said getting a game launched on PSN presents "different challenges" for independent developers than they'd face on Xbox Live. "With Microsoft your approval is given at the start, as long as you deliver what you said you'd deliver you're going to launch, whereas it's not like that with Sony," he said.

"Sony's clearance for launch comes quite later and you have to invest quite a lot of time before you get it," he continued. "That's a problem because it means you have to invest a lot of time and effort and then you're in a much weaker negotiating position because they could turn around and say, 'We don't want it'."

Introversion released its first project, Uplink, in 2001, followed by the better-known Darwinia in 2005. Despite a strong critical response, Darwinia flopped commercially, leaving the studio on life support until the 2006 debut of DEFCON, which met with far greater success. Introversion also benefited from a 2006 deal with Valve to offer its catalog over Steam. "Steam has made Introversion a commercial success," Arundel said at the time.

Introversion is currently working on Darwinia+, a new version of its 2008 PC game Multiwinia for the Xbox Live Arcade. While he gave no sign that a move to PS3 development is in the works, Morris did say that he'd like to see Introversion games available on both networks. "When you're a small developer you kind of have to go with whatever you're offered," he said. "I would prefer a world where we could put our content out on 360 and PSN, because I think that being able to do that is really going to enable small developers to take risks."

Source: CVG

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Somehow I'm not surprised. The indie game market was always larger on the 360, I assumed something was wrong with how Sony does these things.

Aww, I'd love to see a console version of Uplink...what a great game that was.

Its not really all that shocking. Microsoft is in the PC business, primarily. They probably have greater faith in independent software development being beneficial to their overall platform.

Sony, on the other hand, is primarily into Music, Movies and Electronics. Independent development for software, add-ons, etc., that stuff is probably most often a negative drain on their bottom line.

In a rather oversimplified example. I bet a lot of people who had Napster in the 90's "stole" millions of dollars of potential revenue from Sony. To do it, they had to have a PC, and that PC probably had a legitimate windows install.

PS - Yes I put "Stole" in quotation marks, but all that means is I'd rather not discuss piracy in this thread. DRM discussions bore the heck outta me.

Could be a payed statement.

I'm a terrible Xbox fanboy...

Teh_Doomage:
Aww, I'd love to see a console version of Uplink...what a great game that was.

Seconded, I sunk many hours into Uplink on my old laptop, and would love to see it on a console. Besides the gameplay itself, the world map with routes drawn on it would probably look pretty sweet up on the TV.

I have always wondered why the indie dude seems more attracted to XBLA, guess this explains why Castle Crashers and Braid and numerous others originated on the platform.

I would like to see more indie games for the PSN

Introversion have yet to release anything on X-Box despite working on it for quite a long time while apparently only porting an old game over. I wouldn't expect them, of all people, to be making statements about easy and painless the process is to get games on live arcade. I wonder what an even smaller indie developer like Jonathan Mak, who does have a game on PS3, would have to say on the subject.

GamingAwesome1:
I have always wondered why the indie dude seems more attracted to XBLA, guess this explains why Castle Crashers and Braid and numerous others originated on the platform.

Development normally starts on the PC but in a lot of cases the developers are approached by Microsoft or Sony to make them console exclusives.

I miss playing DEFCON, damn fun mp game!

You have to put in time and effort for them to even want the game?! Sound the alarms everyone, developers have to make something worthwhile for Sony to consider putting it on PSN!

Granted it leaves a lot up to Sony's opinion which the general public might not always share, but this just seems like whining to me. "You mean we have to show you why you should want our game? That might be a problem".

More in-depth information as to why PSN is more difficult to launch from than XBL would have made the story better.

I've actually heard the opposite, that M$ makes Xbox Live a pain-in-the-ass to release from.

Some insight into the process each company makes a developer go through would help this article greatly.

Teh_Doomage:
Aww, I'd love to see a console version of Uplink...what a great game that was.

Definetly. lol, although making it work on a console could be very intresting

I have a PS3 for big budget "holy crap" games. If I want to wade through the indie stuff, the PC is usually sufficient.

I don't see the problem, really.

But doesn't Sony a butt load of cash if you dev exclusivly for them on the PSN? it seems to me 'showing that your game is not a hunk of shit' is not to much to ask.

Any one really surprised by this though? big companies moving into teritories formerly held by smaller businesses are always going to make it hard on the competition especialy ones as large as sony.

Indie is never meant to be popular or it becomes the pop genre. Dunno why an indie games company is moaning because it is harder for them to become popular = not indie!

Sony doesn't negotiate with terrorists.

 

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