With Sony recently announcing the highly anticipated fourth generation PlayStation, and Microsoft heavily rumored to be working on its own next generation Xbox, all the talk if the town right now is very much centered on what the new game consoles will be able to offer to not just games, but also game developers.
Developers have long been less than happy about the costs associated with creating games for home consoles, and just recently Double Fine’s Tim Schafer went on record as saying that it costs around $40,000 just to push an update out for a console game. With the PS4 around the corner and next Xbox not far behind it, developers will no doubt be hoping that such a cost will be reduced.
According to Overkill Software’s Simon Vikland, they may be in luck. In fact, that cost may not just reduce, but actually be eradicated completely.
Speaking to the Official Xbox Magazine in the UK. Vikland said that the current rumor doing the rounds amongst those in the gaming industry was that the next generation of consoles may make it possible for developers to push updates out themselves, without the need to get first parties involved along the way.
Vikland says that the move would be welcomed by just about everyone in the business, but he also understands why things are the way they are right now.
"At the same time I understand why first-party wants to keep control of everything – they want to play-test, they want to make sure that it doesn’t crash. Because that’s the whole idea of a console – it’s for the casual gamer, it works all the time."
Others in the industry have been commenting on the fact that pushing games out to the likes of Steam involves next to no costs, assuming the developer already owns a PC. Comparing that to the home consoles where developers need expensive development units as well as certification by first parties leaves many wondering why they bother. The move away from expensive updates is a step in the right direction, at least.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 is expected to land on store shelves this Holiday season, and although the next Xbox is yet to be announced, a similar timescale is expected.