Clever Beans talks PS Vita, PS4 and the future of the gaming industry

(continued from previous page) ...could be a good delivery mechanism for demos, which, as a lot of people have speculated, may be why Sony decided to invest in Gaikai.

11. In 2011, reports suggest that approximately 100 game studios were shut down. Moving forward into the next-gen cycle, how do you see smaller studios competing against the bigger developers and keeping afloat?

The great thing about the diversity of the industry (and the market) is that small studios don’t really need to compete with the big boys. By occupying a slightly different area of the market, smaller developers can survive simply by doing something different. In fact, small studios find it much easier to innovate, for various reasons – they are less risk-averse, and less likely to have shareholder pressure or conservative management.

A bigger problem is actually competition from other smaller developers, since from the ashes of every one of those 100 studios that shut down, there are likely to have been two or three small startups born! But we are not really complaining, since this is good for the health of the industry as a whole.

12. Electronic Arts has been very vocal about its plans to switch from retail to digital delivery. Do you think we’ll ever see the day when digital distribution will be the only way we can buy videogames? Do you think the death of retail is inevitable?

This will probably happen eventually, but in the meantime, the contents of a blu-ray is still way too much for everyone to realistically download from the internet. For a game (and a studio) like ours, digital distribution is ideal, but we think the death of retail is a long way off yet.

13. Among your credits, in previous work for other studios, we noticed you’ve been involved with a fair few racing games, including the likes of WipEout HD, Juiced 2, Blur, Juiced and Need For Speed Underground. Do you have any plans to create your own game within this genre?

In short: no. The main reason that our CVs are so rich with those sort of titles is that the North West of England has traditionally been an area where that sort of game is made (with Bizarre Creations, Juice Games, Evolution Studios and of course the Liverpool Sony/Psygnosis office all close by). But actually, after working on racing games for so long, most of us are more than ready for a change. Also, the market for this sort of game is extremely competitive. If we were to make a racing game, we would have to give it a really unique twist, to make it interesting.

14. What’s next on the agenda for Clever Beans?

We’re working on an update for When Vikings Attack! containing some features that have been most requested – for example, ad-hoc networking on the Vita version. And there may also be a DLC pack with some new levels. After that… it’s back to prototyping some new ideas for our second game!

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