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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.

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User Comments (14)



3Above said:

Its definitely encouraging that Sony is being so dev friendly. It bodes well for indie games to reach a broad audience. And given the PC like architechture of PS4 alot of PC indie games could make their 1st appearance on console wit the 'Only On PlayStation' tag next to their name.



get2sammyb said:

@Majin-Naruto Yeah, Sony's knocking it out of the park at the moment. And while I focused this article on the PS4, it's probably a good time to add that it's doing a great job with PS3 and Vita too. I understand that games like Hotline Miami and Thomas Was Alone aren't going to improve the latter's commercial fortunes, but as an existing owner, I'm stoked about the current line-up.



ShogunRok said:

I'm intrigued by the fact Sony have begun reinforcing the PS4 now - before E3. It makes me wonder how many big announcements we'll get in the summer. Needless to say I think the PS4 is looking superb right now, and we don't know everything on offer just yet.



Zombie_Barioth said:

@Majin-Naruto Exactly, I've been a bit skeptical about these new consoles but the more I hear about the effort Sony has been putting into everything the more excited I become. If they announce a solid lineup of RPGs then they'll pretty much have me sold (along with many others).



GraveLordXD said:

Yeah I agree with y'all, Sony has definitely stepped up their game I'm looking forward to the ps4
I plan on getting a vita soon too



Solatorobo said:

Both Sony and Nintendo are pushing themselves to make improvments over their last mistakes. Of course I'm still not won over, but they still will be things I end up buying at some point.



brendon987 said:

Sony had a branding issues. Which is partly caused by the orginal price tag of the PS3, partly caused by just being a big successful companies at the time. Even before the PS Vita was released alot off gaming website wanted it to failed because of the sony name.
Now by Sony becoming very Indie friendly, I looks like they are over coming there branding problems. An Playstation is being seen as a positive thing again.
Sony timing is perfect at the moment. Announce the PS4. Then get headline again with GDC, then E3. Very smart.



InsertNameHere said:

Keep it up, Sony. If you continue down this path, I have no doubt that you'll make your way back to the top.



shingi_70 said:

Well Nintendo is also being pretty proactive about publicly grabbing developers. They recently announced every Dev Kit comes with unity and is having a GDC panel on HTML development.
Its encouraging to see Sony go hard to garner support for its system. You also have to remember they can publicly talk about stuff unlike Microsoft. I just wish these cofrences would be live streamed as well.

One thing to note is Paul Thurrott and Tom Warren who are pretty reputable Microsoft bloggers are pretty sure that the xbox reveal is next month. Alongside that Microsoft is hosting its three day Build Developer conference in June two weeks after E3.



Zetrayrus said:

Woah, It's nice to see Sony going for such a friendly stance. This is making me really optimistic for the future of the company~



meischoice said:

I am 70% sure that I'm going to get a PS4. But I don't think I'll be getting it a launch. I'll get it eventually though!



Pikminboy said:

As a Nintendo/Sony fan it's nice to see my favorite companies both coming up with unique stuff .

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