Indie Developers Voice Why They Are Sticking With The PS4

The creators of Oddworld and DayZ both agree that the Playstation 4 is the way to go.
Big shocker since Xbox One has become a no fly zone for indie developers - that was sarcasm, but it's starting to seem that way.
Microsoft is keeping with its policy of forcing developers to partner with a publisher in order to bring games to their platform. This is very different from Sony's policies, which allow indies to self-publish their games on the PS4 and are even allowing them to do so virtually for free until September.
Sony even had a great indie game showcase during their press conference at E3 earlier this week. 

In interviews with Eurogamer, Lorne Lanning and Dean Hall tell us why they are only publishing their games on the PS4, for now.

Lorne Lanning, the boss over there at Oddworld - who helped launch the first Xbox back in 2001 with exclusive Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee - said, "There are those who are looking at next quarter's profits, and maybe one of these big guys looks like that's all they're doing right now."

"If they're looking at the world that way, you've got the obvious, enormous titles. They're going to be the big revenue generators," said Lanning. "If the company's purely about profit, profit and profit, they're looking at those, and then they're looking at the little guys saying, 'oh, they only make this much.' They're not interested."

After having trouble getting Stranger's Wrath HD onto Xbox Live Arcade and being shut down, Lanning knew that trying to get Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! to Xbox One was going to be a challenge.

"For Xbox One [Microsoft has] granted us a license for New 'n' Tasty! but they still say you need a publisher. We don't have a publisher so we're not officially on the platform, even though we're compatible, even though we'll be ready to do it. Period.

"Why do we need a publisher when we self-finance our games, we build our own IP, we manage our own IP and we've turned nearly two million units online as indie publishers sold – not free downloads? Why? What's wrong with us?

Lanning On Why Indie Developers Choose PS4

"Who's in touch with their audience? And who seems out of touch with their audience? All we know is we've tried to get our games on their platform and we can't do it – and I even helped them release the box."

"[PlayStation] recognizes the real innovations are going to come out of this space where people have the freedom and the insanity to try crazy new stuff."

So, for now, Oddworld won't be gracing the Xbox One any time soon. Lanning looks very optimistic about the PlayStation's policy in comparison.

"I believe, because there are so many seasoned, long-term game builders involved with the new PlayStation, they recognise the real innovations are going to come out of this space where people have the freedom and the insanity to try crazy new stuff," Lanning continued. "I mean, look at Octodad!"

DayZ creator Dean Hall has similar views when it comes to taking his game to the market.

"Yeah, we talked to both of them," he revealed. "But, as I'm sure you're aware, Sony lets you self-publish and they don't make you pay for updates. Microsoft requires you to have a publisher. They have no digital distribution strategy and they require you to pay $10,000, or whatever it is, for updates.

"We like [Sony]. I like what I saw on the PS4. I like what I saw on the Xbox in a lot of cases as well. I'm not s***ting on them. I'm kind of hopeful that Microsoft has just forgot to talk about its indie support. Maybe I'm being a bit naive."

I guess time will only tell if Microsoft will allow indie developers to self-publish. Microsoft's games boss Phil Spencer told Eurogamer that Xbox is open to the idea of self-publishing in the future.

"Our ears are open on self-publishing and other changes and advancements in our publishing ecosystem," he said, "but I don't want to stand up and commit to things that aren't plan of record now. That would be wrong."

After hearing that the Xbox One would not be indie friendly, I was seriously disappointed in Microsoft. During their press conference, they decided to talk about indie games like Minecraft...what what? Minecraft did have it's indie beginnings but Minecraft is now so mainstream you could call it Katy Perry. I know that was just trying to save some face by having a moment dedicated to indie developers and games...but come on. We can see right through you, and it honestly upsets me.

Some thoughts from twitter:

Ultimately, I agree with these lovely people on twitter. Sony is definitely in the right direction when it comes to indie development. Making an indie developer find a publisher takes away one of the main things an indie game has going for it, the fact that it's indie and deserves our support.

I suggest checking out the trailers for Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! and Day Z, as well as the other indie games coming soon to a PlayStation 4 near you.

Featured Contributor

Better dead than a damsel. I'm a Magazine Journalism student at the University of Georgia. I enjoy shooting bullymongs in the head while I'm not cuddling my cat.

Published Jun. 14th 2013

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