Global Game Industry News Blog

Friday, June 01, 2007

GameDeveloper Magazine and Gamasutra 3 Months Behind

At least I beat someone to the punch. Of course if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to listen, does it make a sound? Apparently not for Gamasutra or GameDeveloper Magazine.

At least it is someone respected in the industry saying these things, but for the most part his punchline is one in the same with my own, "So, Sony? Nintendo? The time has come for you to feel the winds of change. It's your game to lose, and your princess is going to be in another castle if you don't choose wisely. It's time to open things up a bit."

Gamasutra - Opinion: Why Indies Can't Thrive On Consoles
Imagine the following unlikely scenario: the movie theaters of America are divided into three groups, each of which requires a different aspect ratio and delivery format for any movie showing in it. Perhaps the three different formats don’t actually encourage easy conversion between them.

Just think what a chilling effect that would have on some filmmakers who wanted a shot at showing their independent movies nationwide.
The ham-fisted point I’m trying to make is that the same chilling effect is currently happening with downloadable games for consoles. While Microsoft has a clear outreach channel for independent games with Xbox Live Arcade, the company hasn’t been working with Sony or Nintendo to create standards so that those games are available to PlayStation 3 and Wii owners.
It seems that Sony’s PlayStation 3 E-Distribution Initiative is keenly focused on first-party or second-party exclusives, such as Super Rub-A-Dub, fl0w, and Blast Factor, which take advantage of the PlayStation 3 hardware in some way. These are all fine titles, but they’re emblematic of a Sony-centric portfolio.
Why isn’t that happening? I can only presume it’s because Sony has not set up a good mechanism for more loosely tied indies to easily and swiftly convert their games. Things are even worse in Nintendo’s corner, where retro titles are spouting out by the gallon, but new downloadable games are completely absent as of press time.
Oddly, both Nintendo’s and Sony’s reluctance to come out swinging in this area seems to be down to insularity or issues relating to corporate control. Why not relax a little and give the consumer a bit more choice and make indie development much more viable along the way?

The Wii-volution will not be Televised: The XNA-cution of a Business Model
But we can now. All we have to do is sell our souls to Microsoft's C#, Windows Vista, and Direct X 10 API for this opportunity. All Microsoft gets out of it is an ability to disrupt the business model that has until recently kept them at the middle of the pack and gain the efforts of the hordes of developers itching to try their game development skills on a piece of next generation console hardware. Does it mean that they've given up control of distribution? Heck no. But there is a contest if you're interested.

So, Sony? Nintendo? The time has come for you to feel the winds of change. It's your game to lose, and your princess is going to be in another castle if you don't choose wisely. It's time to open things up a bit.

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  • Makes you wonder if MS blindsided sony and nintendo with XNA or do they just not want homebrew :)

    Ziggyware XNA News and Tutorials

    By Blogger Zygote, at 6/01/2007 11:29:00 AM  

  • I think it is a mix of both. Sony and Nintendo have gotten used to how they used to do things.

    I think MS got XNA Express out there fast in part because of their experience making development tools. Sony and Nintendo have largely left it to developers to put together their IDE's or used someone else (like Codewarrior) to do the work.

    They're probably worried to some extent that if they put out a version of GCC or whatever that they might somehow lose control.

    I don't get it really...

    By Blogger Casey, at 6/01/2007 02:59:00 PM  

  • Frankly I can't see Sony, or Nintendo catching up to or competing with MS in the indie game dev scene.

    It's there lack of competitive tools that would keep me from attempting to write games for those consoles.

    If Sony or Nintendo does attempt to fuel indie development for there platforms it will absolutely need to be as easy to use and feature rich as xna and Otherwise I can't see too many people other then the die hards making indie games for those systems.

    XNA is almost at a point where joe blow off the street with a copy of "Learn C# in 24 hours" and a few hours of messing with xna could make something simple but fun to play with in xna.

    Now that's saying something about the tools and platform MS has made availible.

    By Blogger Created by: X, at 6/01/2007 09:30:00 PM  

  • Yes, the dev-tools side of thing is huge. Most developers I know developing for Nintendo and Sony platforms use VS.NET and have tool chains to do the compilation on other systems.

    MS Definitely has the indy/homebrew advantage. I just wish there was more opportunity.

    By Blogger Casey, at 6/07/2007 02:29:00 PM  

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