Braid Creator: New Xbox "Not a Good Choice" for The Witness

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Braid Creator: New Xbox "Not a Good Choice" for The Witness

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Microsoft's rumored next-gen console has one indie developer very concerned.

Last month's high-profile reveal of the PlayStation 4 featured a number of presentations from big-name publishers, as expected - every AAA developer wants a piece of the next generation of gaming hardware. One surprising speaker was Braid developer and indie VIP Jonathan Blow, who took the stage to promote his upcoming title The Witness and to announce that it would be a timed PlayStation exclusive. He recently sat down to elaborate on his decision to sign up with Sony, and why he's concerned about the direction Microsoft is taking the Xbox platform.

Blow was quick to praise Sony's attention to indie developers with the PlayStation 4. "I do think they realize that downloadable games are going to be bigger than they ever have been," he said, "and I think they realize that part of success in that area is having developers who are making the most interesting games want to be on their platform."

In the past, Blow had worked with Microsoft to distribute Braid, but he isn't eager to continue that partnership. The Xbox strives to be an all-encompassing media device, and if its unannounced successor continues to move its focus away from video games, Blow isn't sure he wants to be a part of it. "We do see the same leaks as everyone else has, and they seem plausible," Blow explained. "To me they talk about a console that is not strictly about games. It's trying to be a center of the living room device ... As a place to put the best, highest performing version of our game on, it doesn't seem as good a choice."

Blow's qualms about working with Microsoft extend beyond the technical side of things. "I've had a bad time working with Microsoft in the past," he admitted. "Other developers who are friends of mine have had a horrible time, so the idea of signing up again with Microsoft isn't something I'd have ruled out, but there's a certain amount of dread I have about doing that again."

It isn't clear yet whether or not Blow's faith in the PS4 will pan out, but he's optimistic about his relationship with Sony. It's worth noting that while the console rivalry is still raging, The Witness is only exclusive to the PS4 in terms of dedicated gaming platforms, and Blow is still free to publish on PC and mobile devices alongside Sony's hardware. We're sure to hear more details about the game's availability as we near the PS4's holiday 2013 release window.

Source: Edge

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For me, as long as the Witness comes out on Steam, I am good.

So, the Playstation 4, which had about a third of it's launch event taken up by people talking about social media capability that has excited precisely nobody, is dedicated gaming device that Jo-Blow wants?

Either His Blowness is spewing crap (again), or Microsoft really is going to be even worse for that sort of thing than Sony is... which would certainly be an achievement.

John Blow:
"To me they talk about a console that is not strictly about games. It's trying to be a center of the living room device ... As a place to put the best, highest performing version of our game on, it doesn't seem as good a choice."

I don't know why, exactly, but this quote seems a little bit high-minded of Blow. I mean, he has no problem putting his games on PCs, he has no problem putting his new game on the PS4, which we know next to nothing about, but he draws the line at the Nextbox? He just seems to be coming off as a bit of a snob.

thebobmaster:

John Blow:
"To me they talk about a console that is not strictly about games. It's trying to be a center of the living room device ... As a place to put the best, highest performing version of our game on, it doesn't seem as good a choice."

I don't know why, exactly, but this quote seems a little bit high-minded of Blow. I mean, he has no problem putting his games on PCs, he has no problem putting his new game on the PS4, which we know next to nothing about, but he draws the line at the Nextbox? He just seems to be coming off as a bit of a snob.

John Blow? High minded? Stop the presses.

I agree, it seems stupid to claim the PS4 is somehow more gaming-focusses than the Xbox, despite social media being one of it's main selling points.

NinjaDeathSlap:
So, the Playstation 4, which had about a third of it's launch event taken up by people talking about social media capability that has excited precisely nobody, is dedicated gaming device that Jo-Blow wants?

Either His Blowness is spewing crap (again), or Microsoft really is going to be even worse for that sort of thing than Sony is... which would certainly be an achievement.

guess you could say he's a blow hard?
O.T. I wanted to try out his games but he comes off as a snob to me especially since his game is just a platforming game

To be fair, as far as the parts of the conference I actually watched go, Sony's social media focus is related to the gaming experience. They're not trying to be a media centre so much as they're trying to make gaming a more 'connected experience,' to use one of the terms they were spitting out. The problem with Microsoft's next console is that we saw a distinct move away from focus on gaming with the Xbox 360 in the latter half of the console cycle, to the point where gaming felt like more of an afterthought. Sony is trying to branch into the social market, yes, but it's trying to do so with games in tow. Microsoft doesn't seem to have that concern.

Insofar as that goes, Blow at least kind of makes sense: Sony is trying to make games social, while Microsoft seems like it's making games tangential. Still don't believe that anything that comes out of the man's mouth isn't drenched in some kind of pretentious, high-minded subtext, but the core of what he's saying isn't outside the realm of plausibility.

I've yet to be convinced the new generation isn't going to be the end of gaming libraries as things become more digital and gamers own less and less of what they pay for. Sony's pushing for that hardest right now.

Many indie developers have been praising Sony recently. It seems Sony is trying to become "the place to be" for indies on consoles, and it may pay off for them in the future.

And yes, although Sony's conference talked a lot about social features and connectivity, it was about social features and connectivity in the games, and not movies, ads and other media. Turn on an xbox360 nowadays and look at the dashboard, at first sight you wouldn't think it's a gaming console, because it tends to show movies or ads or other stuff at the front. Microsoft has been de-emphasizing gaming already on the 360, and this trend may continue with the nextbox.

glitch388:
For me, as long as the Witness comes out on Steam, I am good.

Hopefully he doesn't tie it to any platform for me as I'm fed up with steam.

tautologico:
Many indie developers have been praising Sony recently. It seems Sony is trying to become "the place to be" for indies on consoles, and it may pay off for them in the future.

And yes, although Sony's conference talked a lot about social features and connectivity, it was about social features and connectivity in the games, and not movies, ads and other media. Turn on an xbox360 nowadays and look at the dashboard, at first sight you wouldn't think it's a gaming console, because it tends to show movies or ads or other stuff at the front. Microsoft has been de-emphasizing gaming already on the 360, and this trend may continue with the nextbox.

Probably has something to do with the fact that Sony tried to go with the Cell architecture for PS3, which had more power than the x360 but was obtuse to use (especially for multi-platform games) and just turned away many devs, let alone indie ones.

Now they're seeming to go back to their PS2 mentality where they should be accommodating the devs at every turn so their platform can get the most and best games. Free networking on the PS3 was nice, but when x360 offers the more popular exclusives and the console was half the price on release ($550 vs 1000) it really was a no contest. I find this even more baffling when Sony owned the PS1 and PS2 console cycles yet through their easy-to-program-for and cheapness out the window.

Nurb:
I've yet to be convinced the new generation isn't going to be the end of gaming libraries as things become more digital and gamers own less and less of what they pay for. Sony's pushing for that hardest right now.

Same here, I like having a solid copy that I can bring out at any time and not have to download just to play, etc.

"To me they talk about a console that is not strictly about games. It's trying to be a center of the living room device ... As a place to put the best, highest performing version of our game on, it doesn't seem as good a choice."

Did he attend the PS4 conference? I know he was there physically, but it sounds like his brain wasn't on stage with him.

They made it very clear in the PS4 conference that Sony's console wasn't "just" a gaming console, but rather was an entertainment system that happens to play games.

What a hypocritical twit.

William Dickbringer:

NinjaDeathSlap:
So, the Playstation 4, which had about a third of it's launch event taken up by people talking about social media capability that has excited precisely nobody, is dedicated gaming device that Jo-Blow wants?

Either His Blowness is spewing crap (again), or Microsoft really is going to be even worse for that sort of thing than Sony is... which would certainly be an achievement.

guess you could say he's a blow hard?

Even if he's right, the PS4 will still blow :P

OT: I wonder what he thought of the Wii-U?

thebobmaster:

John Blow:
"To me they talk about a console that is not strictly about games. It's trying to be a center of the living room device ... As a place to put the best, highest performing version of our game on, it doesn't seem as good a choice."

I don't know why, exactly, but this quote seems a little bit high-minded of Blow. I mean, he has no problem putting his games on PCs, he has no problem putting his new game on the PS4, which we know next to nothing about, but he draws the line at the Nextbox? He just seems to be coming off as a bit of a snob.

Blow? Being a snob? Color me shocked.

OT: So his opinion on the next console is totally based on speculation...

Yeah, seems legit.

DVS BSTrD:
Even if he's right, the PS4 will still blow :P

OT: I wonder what he thought of the Wii-U?

He said he liked the WiiU, and that the Witness, when the PS4 exclusivity deal is done, will probably be put on it.

OT: So, it seems that Nintendo and Sony are gonna be the actual game consoles this time around, while Microsoft is more the oddball out? I wonder if that means the new Xbox is gonna barely be stronger then the Xbox 360/on par with the WiiU? It'd be fascinating to see how much rage they could get from their fans...

Y'know, his comments on Xbox not being a good choice made a lot more sense when I thought he was complaining about Microsoft's treatment of smaller developers in general; that at least is more likely to transcend console generations.

Now? Not so much.

Good ol' Blow. I genuinely would love to go out drinking with the guy just to hear all the shit he'd start speaking. Alcohol would naturally just make him even funnier.

The justification given seems...odd. I don't know why he thinks the Xbox 720 will be more focused on general entertainment than the PS4, or why that's even a barrier to wanting to put The Witness on it. However, from what I've heard about Microsoft's relationships with indie developers, it seems like there are some very, very good reasons to not want to work with them.

rapidoud:

glitch388:
For me, as long as the Witness comes out on Steam, I am good.

Hopefully he doesn't tie it to any platform for me as I'm fed up with steam.

tautologico:
Many indie developers have been praising Sony recently. It seems Sony is trying to become "the place to be" for indies on consoles, and it may pay off for them in the future.

And yes, although Sony's conference talked a lot about social features and connectivity, it was about social features and connectivity in the games, and not movies, ads and other media. Turn on an xbox360 nowadays and look at the dashboard, at first sight you wouldn't think it's a gaming console, because it tends to show movies or ads or other stuff at the front. Microsoft has been de-emphasizing gaming already on the 360, and this trend may continue with the nextbox.

Probably has something to do with the fact that Sony tried to go with the Cell architecture for PS3, which had more power than the x360 but was obtuse to use (especially for multi-platform games) and just turned away many devs, let alone indie ones.

Now they're seeming to go back to their PS2 mentality where they should be accommodating the devs at every turn so their platform can get the most and best games. Free networking on the PS3 was nice, but when x360 offers the more popular exclusives and the console was half the price on release ($550 vs 1000) it really was a no contest. I find this even more baffling when Sony owned the PS1 and PS2 console cycles yet through their easy-to-program-for and cheapness out the window.

Why are you fed up with Steam?

Breaks every week, their sales tactics (they have you checking back daily during a sale, 75% off $90 is still more expensive than elsewhere), regional locking (only site I know of that does it and makes it a pain to get around; Amazon's is trivial), regional pricing ($90 for Dishonored when US is paying $60, what are you smoking?), games being tied to the service when I just want the bloody game, only very recently did they even bother fixing steam re-installs as I have to re-install it every month and having to redownload half my games is just an exercise in futility, not allowing Aussies to even buy their games during the last sale, all the f2p content that have ridiculous prices which people still pay.

They embody everything that has gone downhill in gaming since the early 2000s (although gaming has definitely gotten better as a whole) with the regional locking and shoving DRM down everyone's throats when the thing allows pirates to play with legitimate customers (yes that's right, pirates can use steam TO PLAY WITH YOU. Even EA aren't this inept).

The arrogance that is Steam Greenlight.

/rant

Nurb:
I've yet to be convinced the new generation isn't going to be the end of gaming libraries as things become more digital and gamers own less and less of what they pay for. Sony's pushing for that hardest right now.

I'd say Steam is pushing for it harder. But that's just me.

rapidoud:
Breaks every week, their sales tactics (they have you checking back daily during a sale, 75% off $90 is still more expensive than elsewhere), regional locking (only site I know of that does it and makes it a pain to get around; Amazon's is trivial), regional pricing ($90 for Dishonored when US is paying $60, what are you smoking?), games being tied to the service when I just want the bloody game, only very recently did they even bother fixing steam re-installs as I have to re-install it every month and having to redownload half my games is just an exercise in futility, not allowing Aussies to even buy their games during the last sale, all the f2p content that have ridiculous prices which people still pay.

They embody everything that has gone downhill in gaming since the early 2000s (although gaming has definitely gotten better as a whole) with the regional locking and shoving DRM down everyone's throats when the thing allows pirates to play with legitimate customers (yes that's right, pirates can use steam TO PLAY WITH YOU. Even EA aren't this inept).

The arrogance that is Steam Greenlight.

/rant

Wow, I am just fed up with them over the "Agree to any new TOS or lose all your games". How can anyone be comfortable with that? Since that happened last year, I just don't buy much from the anymore. As for the Daily Deals, I quit bothering even checking. It's always some indie game and I am not into indie games. It's like the Daily Deal is used to promote indie devs rather than giving customers a good deal on games we want.

I also think that the success of Steam is why publishers and console makers believe they can kill the used game market for consoles. They believe they can recreate the success of Steam on Live and PSN.

tautologico:
Many indie developers have been praising Sony recently. It seems Sony is trying to become "the place to be" for indies on consoles, and it may pay off for them in the future.

And yes, although Sony's conference talked a lot about social features and connectivity, it was about social features and connectivity in the games, and not movies, ads and other media. Turn on an xbox360 nowadays and look at the dashboard, at first sight you wouldn't think it's a gaming console, because it tends to show movies or ads or other stuff at the front. Microsoft has been de-emphasizing gaming already on the 360, and this trend may continue with the nextbox.

Might just be me, but if that's the way the wind is blowing then I actually prefer Microsoft's way of doing things. Sure, I never use most of the capabilities that my 360 has these days, and if the Nextbox is going to be even more than that, it may be more than a little irksome to pay hundreds of pounds for a console who's price-tag is bloated by features I couldn't give a shit about. However, I can put up with that on two conditions...

1) The console can still play games (which it will)

2) All the other shit I don't care about won't interfere when I just want to play games.

Yes, the social features displayed on the PS4 were in relation to the games, rather than their own separate thing, and that was precisely what bothered me. It seemed to me not that the social features were a passive edition to your gaming experience, but rather it was the social features themselves that were the be all and end all, and that what games you are playing and how you were playing them was just another part of the social media experience, for the braying hordes of generation facebook to pass judgement on you for.

I don't care that my Xbox 360 dashboard seems to put my Netflix membership in far more prominence than what game I have in the disk drive, so long as when I select the game, the console lets me play the game and doesn't keep butting in to remind me how great it is that I can use Netflix on it. So long as Microsoft keeps it this way, me and Microsoft don't have a problem. But if Sony will only let me play games their way, and not my way, then me and Sony will have a problem.

Newsflash, Mr. Blow. Nobody gives a flying toss about your pretentious, snobby, artsy ass.
'course, that isn't to to say M$ can't be stupid and draconian...

NinjaDeathSlap:
So, the Playstation 4, which had about a third of it's launch event taken up by people talking about social media capability that has excited precisely nobody, is dedicated gaming device that Jo-Blow wants?

Either His Blowness is spewing crap (again), or Microsoft really is going to be even worse for that sort of thing than Sony is... which would certainly be an achievement.

No, it's not social media; it's social gaming. The PS4 is being prepped to provide a more social gaming experience. Built-in streaming/recording/screencaps, direct uploading of footage, that sort of thing. It may employ social media and its elements, but the PS4 is very much a game console above all else.

Seeing as the 360 is already trying to jack-of-all-trades it up as it is, the idea that Microsoft will push that even further with the next console is very probable, if not entirely expected.

I don't see what the point is with sticking with consoles. Based on the stats for the next gen consoles, they won't beat out the latest cell phone. My Nexus 4 is so much faster then my Xbox.

captcha: Skynet Watches

tehroc:
I don't see what the point is with sticking with consoles. Based on the stats for the next gen consoles, they won't beat out the latest cell phone. My Nexus 4 is so much faster then my Xbox.

captcha: Skynet Watches

0_0

Son of a bitch... it's taken over Captcha! THE END IS NIGH!!

On Topic: I see his point, but to me it looks like both MS and Sony are going for the "does everything approach" to their systems. If he really wanted the most game-focused console, then he probably should've jumped on the Nintendo bandwagon. Still, I like hearing that Sony is focusing more on Indie devs this time around. I've only recently gotten into Super Meat Boy and wound up hearing about Team Meat's issues with MS for the first time the other day, so hearing that Indie devs are now getting better alternatives to MS sounds like a good thing to me.

Overall though, I still think the PC market is going to become much more dominant this next generation, especially when the new consoles are seeming more like PC / Smart TV hybrids that don't perform either task as well as an actual PC or Smart TV. Add the rise of digital retailers like Steam and GoG as well as the increasing popularity of Indie games (which are more common on PC) and things are looking promising for the PC market.

I'm with Mr. Blow on this as a consumer. Between the red ring of death and the far inferior console pure processing wise, and now if blow is right and that they want the 720 or whatever they're going to call it to be a gaming device secondarily then I probably with make a PS4 my primary console. IF sony really wants to seal the deal with me they'll make make PS network completely free for multiplayer support. Paying ANY amount on top of the base 60 dollar price to play games online and then the ISP price to maintain that connection and then simply buying the PS4 $599 or whatever their release day price tag for the console will be, is absurd and has been for a more then a few years now. It only serves to make PC gaming look even more attractive even with the high price for entry of PC rigs.

((It also appeals to me because I've got no PS3 library to be backwards compatible with))

This is why I'm keeping an interest on new xbox announcement. Either it will intrigue me or it will be a train wreck.

TheRightToArmBears:

thebobmaster:

John Blow:
"To me they talk about a console that is not strictly about games. It's trying to be a center of the living room device ... As a place to put the best, highest performing version of our game on, it doesn't seem as good a choice."

I don't know why, exactly, but this quote seems a little bit high-minded of Blow. I mean, he has no problem putting his games on PCs, he has no problem putting his new game on the PS4, which we know next to nothing about, but he draws the line at the Nextbox? He just seems to be coming off as a bit of a snob.

John Blow? High minded? Stop the presses.

I agree, it seems stupid to claim the PS4 is somehow more gaming-focusses than the Xbox, despite social media being one of it's main selling points.

To be fair the social focus is about sharing your gaming experience, I and many are skeptical at best, have no interest at worse, in the idea but it's focused on gaming as is the PS4 itself, compared to the xbox 360 and (reasonable to presume) the nextbox

Well pretty much every indie developer have voiced their issues in regards to Microsoft and downloadable games. Pretty much everyone unless you developed Minecraft.

I wouldn't walk across the street to play a "Blow game". I'm damn sure not going to pick a console based on his work (or his words).

I watched Indie Game: The Movie and it left me with one core feeling. "These guys are broken husks with no interpersonal skills and a very inflated sense of self". If he had problems working with Microsoft, I'd put as much of that on him as I would them.

This is the guy who feels so intelligent for calling Mario mainstream and uncool right? meh! Anyways, I won't buy a microsoft product ever again as the 360 was just too unreliable. I prefer consoles that actually work.

Okay, this has come up again. Jim Sterling raised this point awhile back and I just want to know, what is wrong with a console being more than just a gaming device? I have seen the specter raised that having a console that is about more than games is a negative thing, but it has never been explained to me. Can someone care to elaborate?

TheRightToArmBears:

thebobmaster:

John Blow:
"To me they talk about a console that is not strictly about games. It's trying to be a center of the living room device ... As a place to put the best, highest performing version of our game on, it doesn't seem as good a choice."

I don't know why, exactly, but this quote seems a little bit high-minded of Blow. I mean, he has no problem putting his games on PCs, he has no problem putting his new game on the PS4, which we know next to nothing about, but he draws the line at the Nextbox? He just seems to be coming off as a bit of a snob.

John Blow? High minded? Stop the presses.

I agree, it seems stupid to claim the PS4 is somehow more gaming-focusses than the Xbox, despite social media being one of it's main selling points.

Thats not quite why really, I mean we haven't seen the next Xbox yet so we don't know where it's focus lies. Whilst the PS4 has all the fancy social stuff going on that social stuff itself is gaming-focused social stuff about gaming and for games, it's also something you can totally ignore. I was interested by it all but not excited over it.

If Microsofts current plan of focusing on advertising on the dash and extraneous crap like netflix is anything to go by then we should be concerned over the next Xbox and what direction it will take, because that direction will help shape the market for the next half a decade or so. It's too early for anything but speculation but given Blow's whole indie dev thing it's possible microsft has introduced some unpleasant fees or something for independently published things or has some horrible exclusivity clause for them or something. Or it's possible that while Sony and Nintendo have both made moves to make things easier for indie devs, Microsoft has not and is thus less of a temptation.

I think we need to wait and see what Micrsoft throw out at us, but to get my interest it needs to be cheaper than or equal in price to the PS4. It also needs to make a Live subscription worth my money and not just a £40 shake down to play parts of games I already paid for and netflix (which I don't use and if I did I can has for free on PC or PS3 or whatever) and twitter (which i have on my phone for free...), and finally it needs to come up with a few new first party IP's or dig up some old ones from somewhere; Halo on it's own can't justify a hardware investment.

Edit: Oh and the nextbox needs to be reliable and not melt after 13 months of relatively casual use.

Also, I don't really like Mr Blow too much, find him pretentious and annoying. Mario is mainstream and uncool right? Cool story, we already knew that, thing is Mario games tend to be pretty fun and creative and Miyamoto's work has probably influenced a lot more people than Braid has.

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