PlayStation 4 – a clean, well-lighted place for indie games?

PSN Indie

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Tonight’s reveal of PlayStation 4 was a flashy affair promising a bevy of new features for gamers and developers alike. While brand mainstays Media Molecule, Sucker Punch and Quantic Dream featured prominently at Sony’s much rumored unveiling, the event had some tidbits for indie game developers as well, promising that the new hardware will be far more accessible than its predecessor.

“While we were once changing the consumer landscape, now the consumer is changing us…today we give you an insight into the future of play,” said Andrew House at the opening of the show, “It’s conceived as the most personalized gaming experience today. It is simple and adaptive with socially enriched content.

“Playstation 4 will allow developers to explore new business models that include episodic and free-to-play.”

The banter included much talk about forging a better relationship with the developer – “By game creators, for game creators,” said Mark Cerny, creator of Marble Madness. “The hardware supports suspension and resuming of play states. The minutes that it takes to pause and resume a game are a thing of the past. It is also possible to download and update games in the background. Digital titles are able to begin playing even as they are being downloaded.”

mark cerny playstation meeting 2013
Mark Cerny – Playstation Meeting 2013 livestream

The new controller features a lightpad, 3D-spatial awareness and a dedicated Share button. The console itself comes stocked with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM and provides a further boost to the modified GPU. They then showed a million-object simulation using just the GPU. The system also includes dedicated hardware for its social sharing component. A video compression and decompression codec allows you to hit the share button while playing and instantly share video of your gameplay.

About them Indies…

PS3 arguably staggered out of the gate when it was released, with many developers claiming that the architecture was too vastly different from other platforms to program for effectively. The console would go on to host several impressive indie titles in its later years on the PlayStation Network.

Jonathan Blow was on hand to show a preview of his upcoming title, The Witness which has been announced as a launch window exclusive. From the trailer that was played at the Sony event, it has evolved into a sprawling puzzle game that spans a whimsically painted world.

the witness screenshot - playstation meeting 2013
“The Witness” by Jonathan Blow for Playstation 4 – screenshot

IGR had a chance to discuss The Witness with Jonathan at IndieCade 2011.

Though other indie titles were not mentioned, The Witness seems like a great start to what will hopefully be a more developer-friendly console launch. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the PlayStation 4 offers up even more opportunities for the indie development scene.

Here is the official launch trailer for The Witness posted by Jonathan Blow in concert with the PS4 announcement:

Watch PlayStation Meeting 2013 below

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