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Cerny: PS4 Will Fundamentally Alter the Landscape of Gaming

Posted by Sammy Barker

Sony wants to recapture the variety of the PSone

While it’s always easy to look back on the past with fondness, the PSone really was a special time for gaming. Development budgets were relatively manageable, so publishers could get away with launching titles such as Incredible Crisis, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino, and Vib Ribbon on the machine. Such variety didn’t stop on the PlayStation 2, but there certainly wasn’t an abundance of Mr. Mosquito-esque releases. However, Mark Cerny hopes that indie titles will spark a “gaming renaissance” on the PlayStation 4.

"With PSone, there was no way to make an indie title," he said at the Develop conference in Brighton, as reported by "The hardware didn't support digital downloads, and all games were distributed on CD-Roms. There was no way for creators to directly reach their audience. But AAA game development was very different than it is today. Crash Bandicoot, which sold six million units, was created by just seven people. A typical individual would contribute broadly in the creation of a game.”

Cerny continued: “Due to small team sizes the barriers to creating new types of experiences were quite low, and consequently the diversity of games available at retail was quite high. As a result, there was a certain fun factor that was an intrinsic part of the PlayStation DNA in those years. Concept-driven titles like PaRappa the Rapper, Devil Dice, and Intelligent Qube were well received by the game playing audience, and each went on to sell over a million units."

However, with the PS4, the Marble Madness creator believes that Sony has an opportunity to “fundamentally alter the landscape of gaming”. He explained: “I believe that the indie paradigm will have the hardware as enabler, not as the central player, which is to say that Octodad: Dadliest Catch isn't about the triangle count, it's about keeping your cephalopod nature a secret from your human family.”

According to Cerny, the company’s new indie approach has been spearheaded by publisher relations specialist Adam Boyes. “Since [he] joined SCE, pretty much the whole process has been overturned,” he said. “He wanted us to look at the day in the life of an indie developer, and challenged us to explain whether our processes were helping or hindering the creation of the diverse titles that we were looking for.”

The company has since seriously relaxed its policies, making it easy for anyone to publish games on the platform. Cerny added that the firm has also worked on improving its accessibility in the public space. “We've gone from putting our process out front to putting people out front, which is to say that your indie journey on the PS4 as a developer begins by tweeting Shahid Ahmad, not by filling out a form."

Cerny concluded with one powerful point: “We believe that a renaissance of gaming is coming on the PS4. Heavy content will thrive on the platform, but in many ways we will also be returning to the creative freedom and broad content that made the early years of PlayStation so unforgettable.” We think that we’re in love.


User Comments (10)



redd214 said:

Wow, even though i have no personal interest in developing games, i have learned a hell of a lot from this guy over the last few months. Really glad he is leading the playstation brand!



get2sammyb said:

@redd214 He's pretty unbelievable. Such a fascinating and intelligent man — and I say that as a gamer with my fanboy hat off.



JGMR said:

Back in the day ('ere we go again)...there wasn't even a distinction between games (like the AAA-talk nonsense nowadays): it was all games. And, sad to say, I am not very impressed by games that are made by -really- gigantic teams these days. It is as if smaller teams/developers have the greater minds and love, just like "back then"...



rjejr said:

Doesn't anybody think the guy is over-selling the revolution a bit? It's like he's taking credit for all the causal $9.99 PC games made by Popcap et al and all the 99c iOS games and the free Facebook games. The indie revolution has been going on for a few years now, PS4 is jumping on the bandwagon, not building it.

Sorry if I'm being over critical, but the games statement was - and I quote copy and paste - “fundamentally alter the landscape of gaming”

It's like Al Gore saying he invented the internet.



Subie98 said:

I hope we can get back to how things were when the first PlayStation came out, there was a lot more quality back then and even farther back than that. Harder to find more worth while games now. .02



Zombie_Barioth said:

He could just be talking within the context of the console market. The console market isn't anywhere near as indie friendly as the PC so they actually could "fundamentally alter the landscape of gaming". Not saying your wrong it could very well just be him grandstanding.

I think that could mainly be due to budget sizes, theres a lot more middle-ground these days. Back then there wasn't much difference between, say, Square and Atlus or game A and game B than popularity but now not so much. I agree with you though and I hope the release of the PS4 means more games like Monster Rancher, Tomba, and Dark Cloud.



charlesnarles said:

He's right; too many chefs ruin the stew. The beurocratic stew of successful business practices in the 2010s...
The sun also rises, as they say. It's been long enough since the last proverbial dawn. Must. Preorder.

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