Reaction: PlayStation 4 Catches Second Wind at GDC
Posted by Sammy Barker
Next generation platform pushed back into the spotlight
Sony’s decision to announce the PlayStation 4 early is looking smarter all of the time. While its competitors prompt ire from parts of the media and the development community for locking their next generation endeavours behind closed doors, the PlayStation manufacturer is currently strutting around San Francisco at the Game Developers Conference, where it’s sealing deals and revealing new games.
At the platform holder’s PlayStation Indie Arcade event overnight, the company raised the curtain on two fresh PS4 titles. Primal Carnage: Genesis is a brand new episodic adventure from Lukewarm Media that finds you stranded on a futuristic island filled with dinosaurs. The title – which is being powered by Epic’s stunning Unreal Engine 4 technology – is supposedly coveting a launch release on the system. Meanwhile, the more straightforward Blacklight: Retribution is a futuristic free-to-play first-person shooter from Zombie Studios.
These titles are noteworthy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they highlight the manufacturer’s commitment to smaller studios. As far as we can tell, neither title has the backing of a big publisher; aside from Blacklight’s adoption of Sony’s popular Pub Fund scheme – in which the platform holder pledges financial support in return for a small window of exclusivity – these are next generation initiatives from smaller teams. But secondly, they also highlight the console maker’s commitment to non-conventional business models.
If you pay attention to the messaging coming out of GDC this week, you’ll be able to appreciate just how much Sony’s changed. Unlike the arrogant manufacturer of old, it’s now bending over backwards to support the endeavours of developers producing content for its machines – no matter how big or small. In an interview with Gamasutra, publisher and developer relations executive Adam Boyes detailed how the company is adapting its entire content approval process to make things slicker for independent studios. And there’s clearly no limitation to the type of content and models that it’s willing to support.
That sentiment is certain to pay dividends over the coming years, as the PS4’s content library continues to expand on the back of the platform holder’s accommodating attitude. While we’re sure that both Microsoft and Nintendo are busy communicating with developers behind the scenes too, Sony’s frank and forthright stance is sending a compelling message to studios that PlayStation is the place to be.
And the positive word of mouth that’s starting to formulate around the company is not hurting either. The number of developers singing the manufacturer’s praises seems to be increasing all of the time, with high-profile names such as Jonathan Blow and Brian Provinciano part of the chorus. If the company can maintain this kind of optimism through until launch, then its next generation system threatens to be a real force to be reckoned with. And as fans of the brand, that’s got us practically salivating over the next couple of years.
Are you impressed with Sony's refocused attitude? Have the latest batch of PS4 announcements made you even more eager to get your hands on the machine? Let us know in the comments section below.