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  1. #1
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    Sony: We don't do mid-sized games any more

    A lot has been written about PlayStation’s remarkable journey over the last few years.

    It has turned PS3 into a winner after a tumultuous launch, and has seemingly denied Xbox an easy win on the start of the next generation.

    But its real victory lately has been reengaging with the people making games for its platforms, not the platforms themselves.

    At Gamescom, the firm spent 90 minutes building up to the PS4 release date by talking about 15 smaller indie games coming to PS3, Vita and PS4. No Uncharted 4, no VR headset. The focus was largely on games that were built outside of its empire of 14 internal studios.

    Of course this is testament to the huge share of attention indie games are getting these days, and Sony’s the first to admit this sudden wave of talent has taken it by surprise.

    After E3, the firm wasn’t planning to flex its development support muscle so prominently in Cologne, explains studios boss Shuhei Yoshida.

    “As soon as E3 ended we started planning for Gamescom’s conference, but because we had a huge indie section at E3 I was not expecting we would have as much new games as we showed,” he admits. “But working with indies… well, they are so fast! We cannot anticipate everything because of how fast they move.”

    "The immediacy and the quickness of these
    teams is incredible – some of them are just
    one person. They don’t have to go through
    all the approvals or presentations we do.
    They just make things. That’s the difference
    between them and us."

    Shuhei Yoshida - president, SCE Worldwide Studios


    The wider step-change in the industry, with the ‘middle’ of games crumbling away to form a swathe of smaller studios (almost all of them opting for open platforms and their big digital stores like iOS or Steam) has prompted deep changes at PlayStation. Concept approval is gone, plus it is actively inviting indies to port PC hits to its platforms (and footing the bill). Plus, even if Sony always did work with outside studios, it has been more prolific in terms of its portfolio and PR to prove it.

    It’s all for a good reason: fact is those teams can easily go elsewhere (and have previously) if PlayStation isn’t open for them.

    Says Yoshida: “We are trying to make our platform more accessible because those studios have choices, right? If we make things difficult they can go elsewhere and find another place to put their games. The immediacy and the quickness of these teams is incredible – some of them are just one person. They don’t have to go through all the approvals or presentations we do. They just make things. That’s the difference between them and us.

    “Nothing has changed in terms of our mindset – we have worked with small companies to release games like Sound Shapes, Unfinished Swan, Flow and Journey in the past. But what changed was that whole boom of indies. Many of them are experienced developers and many have years of experience. There are just more great guys making more interesting things than before.”

    A lot has also been written about PlayStation’s remarkable Journey (upper case J). It’s this game Yoshida points to when we ask if these games actually make any material commercial difference.

    At the crux of platform holders’ new-found love of upstart microstudios is the contradiction of a big guy/little guy relationship. The people in charge of things like PlayStation and Xbox love the giant third-party publishers because they create games of such ferocious popcorn munching scale that they promote a platform (and pay handsome licence fees) as much as anything. Can an brainy indie game be a system seller too?

    “I think Journey is a system seller in terms of the impact it makes,” says Yoshida. “It may not be that people buy a PS3 to play Journey, but they hear about other people playing it. It proves the breadth of the platform, and I think it proves to non-gamers how broad games can be. That’s a wonderful thing.”

    Investing in indies is also an investment in the future of industry talent. Some of these up and coming microstudios of today may become the Rockstars of tomorrow.

    “Some of the studios want to stay small and want to make the titles they want,” says Yoshida. But some will want to grow and try triple-A, he adds, but “if a company is small it has relative control over the destiny of their title. But when they become larger they need someone to fund it, and that’s where they give up some of their freedoms.”

    On the eve of a release like Grand Theft Auto V – purportedly developed by a team in the four-digits, and a budget with around eight zeroes at the end – it’s worth understanding how the industry landscape has been redrawn around the evergreen blockbusters.

    “Development has polarised now. Our bigger
    teams are getting bigger and we are not doing
    many mid-sized games any more. So we are
    either working on larger projects, or very small
    ones – many of the latter. I think that trend will
    continue because people like the big budget,
    huge experiences. And I love them too."

    Shuhei Yoshida - president, SCE Worldwide Studios


    And this is being reflected inside Sony’s studios, says Yoshida.

    “Development has polarised now,” he says. “Our bigger teams are getting bigger and we are not doing many mid-sized games any more. So we are either working on larger projects, or very small ones – many of the latter. I think that trend will continue because people like the big budget, huge experiences. And I love them too. So maybe we may not be able to make more of these in terms of numbers but there is always a demand for the ‘wow factor’.

    “That’s where there are some relations between the larger triple-A games and the indie boom because consumers are always wanting something new.”

    But the real reason indie titles have become so important is not just for their sales potential, but their meaning, says Yoshida.

    It’s without question that the indie games on the market today tackle areas that big box game publishers just won’t touch, be that a contentious topic or theme, or a genre considered too niche for a triple-A gamble.

    Yoshida says that by promoting games like this – many of them are timed exclusives to PlayStation, with IP kept by the studios – elicits a different feeling from an audience spoon-fed Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed.

    “If we are just doing big budget triple-A sequels the industry doesn’t have a bright future. We need new ideas to be tried out. And while of course the big teams are trying new ideas too, the amount of resources needed and the financial risk is so large that they have to set a certain limit on that. That’s where the indies come in.”
    http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/sony-...y-more/0121195
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  2. #2
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    Nice smart future planning for the industry, not just trying to one up the competition
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  3. #3
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    agreed. the ingenuity and creativity will only benefit us gamers.
    but here's a question, he says the indie guys came out of nowhere. I don't see that, I see a bunch of talent that's been there all along. maybe they just werent being listened to or taken seriously. what, if there is one event that triggered it, was the "thing" that caused the indie boom?


    moving on tapatalk



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    These decisions are making gaming itself better. This is why a lot of people agree with Sonys direction right now, and it has MS scrambling to keep in line. Fundamentally, Sony is doing everything right to grow their business and improve the position of the industry. I'm glad they are taking an Evergreen approach this time around instead of mushrooming.

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    I like mid teir games... Stuff like Lollipop Chainsaw, Klonoa, Fire Emblem, Mini Ninjas, Knights Contract, WipEout, Katamari, Brutal Legend etc etc wouldn't exist... I don't want my only gaming options to be AAAA and indie...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkVincent07 View Post
    I like mid teir games... Stuff like Lollipop Chainsaw, Klonoa, Fire Emblem, Mini Ninjas, Knights Contract, WipEout, Katamari, Brutal Legend etc etc wouldn't exist... I don't want my only gaming options to be AAAA and indie...
    And the good news is, all of those games you listed are third party except WipeOut.

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  8. #7
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    Uh... I don't like this news. I like mid sized games.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefein View Post
    And the good news is, all of those games you listed are third party except WipeOut.
    true true, but I fear it will become a trend... nothing wrong with some good B grade games here and there... this industry is so extreme

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mael Duin View Post
    Uh... I don't like this news. I like mid sized games.
    Agreed. Medium sized games, or AA games if you like, were the life blood of the industry for a long time. The slow death of these games has dovetailed with the gaming world becoming the unhealthy entity it is now. We have mind bogglingly expensive AAA games... and we have indie games. With very little in-between. This is not a good thing

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    This is not good at all.

    This seems to mean I won't be getting another attempt at Playstation All-Stars.

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  13. #12
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    We don't do mid sized games anymore............

    We do mid sized and a quarter half games instead lol


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    Im fine with this because Sony sends their mid sized games like Puppeteer to die.

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    I never spent money on mid tier games anyway




  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn View Post
    Agreed. Medium sized games, or AA games if you like, were the life blood of the industry for a long time. The slow death of these games has dovetailed with the gaming world becoming the unhealthy entity it is now. We have mind bogglingly expensive AAA games... and we have indie games. With very little in-between. This is not a good thing
    Agreed, AAA or indie is not a big option. Some former mid-budget games going AAA has killed them.

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    It's sad to see mid tier developers dropping by the wayside, however many indie games are freaking amazing and so creative. I think games are only going to get better, we're going to have our big triple A titles coming out and in between tons of smaller more creative projects. Bring on the future!
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  18. #17
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    A while back Sony said something about looking at what MS was doing in terms of few releases, but bigger titles. They have closed most if not all of their medium size companies, and it's pretty clear they would rather have a few big companies, than middle sized companies.

    RIP, Zipper, Lightbox, Big big, Relentless, Eat Sleep Play,Game Republic, Sony Liverpool, Incognito and 989.

    Caught in that horrible place where no ones can breath these days.

    The industry has to change, and middle sized games/companies is where it needed to flourish.
    Unfortunately, what we have is the haves and the have not's, the haves continue to make the same old IP's, and the have not's are destined to make mostly crap indie retreads.

    Any-one who thinks the indie teams are going to make creativity flourish is fooling themselves. You just don't have to power to make the vision you truly wanted. and 95% of indies games are retreads. Christ, I know it might be new to you, but defender has been around for years, remaking it into an indie game an throwing voxel graphics at it isn't creativity.

    The industry has had the pressure put on in the middle and we have effectively squeezed the middle out of the industry, leaving us with a bulge at either end, which isn't good at all.

    Not good at all.

    Just remember guys, most of those game you loved, came from middle sized companies with the power to create. (eg. team ico).
    Last edited by mynd; 09-19-2013 at 22:55.

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    RIP Team Ico. I'm still dismayed over the death of The Last Guardian. Team Ico was one of my favorite studio. I still play the HD collection to this day.

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    This is something interesting, but very specific to say. I understand the trend now and days but it makes me wonder, with this simple programmable hardware, will those type of titles eventually return. Meaning that these mid size companies can develop items while we wait for the large companies to release its masterpiece. But I guess with the quick turnaround with this new generation, it may not be needed.

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    I still think there are mid sized games out there. I imagine games like Dead Island fall into that category...its just publishers get gready with them and if they see them succeed they try to push them into AAA status on the next release and that step up is so so hard to make. It doesn't help that people say they support or want those games but those are the same people that say I will wait for the price to go down or buy it second hand....well that isn't helping developers make any money and keep making those games. The AAA games have such huge install bases that they can afford to have people buy some of their games used etc...but those middle crews....they can't go and they have too many people to be indie so they go bankrupt. I don't think a lot of people understand how many units these companies have to sell to break even...its a lot for anything outside an indie and even games that sell in the millions still go bankrupt...like Curt Schillings game....

    If I like a game I make sure to purchase it first hand...to support those that I want to hopefully get sequels or other games from. I know what most feel about it but I would say second hand games have killed the AA industry. No matter if the game launches at 39.99 instead of 60 a majority of people still wait to buy it second hand...and honestly I don't understand why people sell them back when Amazon and Gamestop are only offering pennies on the dollar for what you paid....its something I will never get.

  23. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mael Duin View Post
    Uh... I don't like this news. I like mid sized games.
    Title isn't correct.

    Our bigger teams are getting bigger and we are not doing many mid-sized games any more.


    Big difference between not doing any and not doing many.

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    It's more than a matter of publisher preference and greed. Mid size games are where they lose money unfortunately. If we don't like it we should buy more lesser known titles. The market is driven by consumers and they are adjusting to the sales figures. It's no charity work.

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    If Sony doesn't make mid-sized games, then what do you call Knack!? lol. All we are currently getting from Sony is two new iterations of their existing IPs, Infamous and Killzone, and one new but bland and ultra linear IP called Knack.

  27. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by codeninja View Post
    It's more than a matter of publisher preference and greed. Mid size games are where they lose money unfortunately. If we don't like it we should buy more lesser known titles. The market is driven by consumers and they are adjusting to the sales figures. It's no charity work.
    The losses with AAA games is a lot bigger, there are not a lot of franchises that make money back.

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