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Sony's Loaning PS4 Development Kits to Indie Studios for Free

Posted by Sammy Barker

Keeping costs down

Microsoft’s latest Xbox One-Eighty has changed the conversation yet again. Overnight, the firm confirmed that it will allow self-publishing on its next generation platform within the system’s first year on the market. That puts the console in line with the PlayStation 4, but the Redmond-based organisation’s trump card is that it will allow budding programmers to transform their retail machines into development kits. While the details are still hazy, it could be huge news.

However, having spent the past couple of years actively coveting indie outfits, Sony doesn’t seem massively concerned by the sudden change in attitude. “Self-publishing has been available on PlayStation platforms for over five years, so it's nothing new,” a spokesperson told Polygon. “The process of developers bringing their games to market has continued to evolve, and PlayStation has led the charge in adapting and embracing new publishing rules.”

All true, but with Microsoft supposedly allowing small studios to test their code on a retail machine worth $500, does that suddenly put the PS4 at a disadvantage? Yes and no – development kits for the Japanese giant’s console supposedly cost $2,500. The thing is: none of the indie studios working on the next generation system have bought one yet, as the platform holder is loaning them out.

“All of the indie studios that I know got them for free,” an unnamed developer said. “Sony has been amazing about kits and development thus far.” Another added: “They are handing them out like candy.”

Of course, the act of giving away kits is not a direct counter to Microsoft’s newly-announced policies. Theoretically, anyone will be able to create, test, and publish content on the Xbox One, while securing the requisite hardware for the PS4 will probably depend upon past successes and prototypes. The disparity will leave the platform holder with some thinking to do.

At the end of the day, though, we still don’t really know how the Redmond-based manufacturer’s solution will work. Corporate vice president Mark Whitten has said that everyone will have access to all of the console’s features and functions, but we’ll have to wait and see if there are any caveats along the way. With Microsoft being purposefully vague, and the functionality not set to be ready at launch, Sony has plenty of time to turn the needle back in its favour while its competitor catches up.

[via polygon.com]

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User Comments (6)

ViciousDS

#1

ViciousDS said:

The company said the debug portion of the xbox one won't be available at launch, the followup statements by Microsoft are almost as long as the initial story because of how bad there PR's are.

get2sammybAdmin

#2

get2sammyb said:

@ViciousDS Yeah, the self-publishing won't be availabe at launch, either. And we still don't really know how all of this will work. Food for thought at Sony HQ, though.

ViciousDS

#3

ViciousDS said:

@get2sammyb wait self-publishing won't be there either......uh, this is a PR wreck for MS yet again lol. Everyone sees it as a positive thing but what if it never happens or gets sorted out correctly when it comes time for implementation for them.

Sonys doing the right thing by just lending dev kits out....to me its more personal because even then a company still has to buy the Xbox One for $500 while sony is giving hardware away for free.

BornOfEvil

#4

BornOfEvil said:

"Theoretically, anyone will be able to create, test, and publish content on the Xbox One..."

Can't you do this on the PS3 by downloading a tool-kit off the PSN?

evret

#5

evret said:

there is no reason to believe sony aren't/weren't already planning to let people do this on retail PS4s, they let people do it on vita through PSM and since the retail PS4 isnt out yet it's obvious why indies have dev kits right now.

shingi_70

#6

shingi_70 said:

@ViciousDS

While that's true its apparently free for only one year. (Still a pretty sound strategy depending on how many dev units one needs)

The Xbox One has the possibility to become similar to Rasberry Pi or any other modern platform. (No one complains that a dev kit for Android can cost up to $100-$600 depending on what device you buy, $220-500 if your grabbing a nexus).

For guys interested in development or even school programs the Xbox One is an interesting proposition once everything gets squared away.

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