PlayStation 4 dev kits ‘being handed out like candy’, Xbox One self-publishing ‘not black and white’
posted on 07.25.13 at 10:09 AM EDT by (@salromano)
Developers speak out on next-gen indie matters.

PlayStation 4 developer kits cost about $2,500, according to “various development sources” speaking to Polygon.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced support for independent developer self-publishing. Rather than sell developers a separate dev kit, however, it will allow developers to turn their retail Xbox One into a dev kit. According to Polygon, developers must also pay a few hundred dollars as a fee to Microsoft.

Although a $2,500 price tag for the PlayStation 4 kit is being cited among developers, Polygon’s development sources all said Sony had lent them dev kits for a limited one-year period, free of charge. As of now, dev kits aren’t being sold.

“All the indies I know got them for free,” said one developer. “Sony has been amazing about kits and development thus far.”

Another developer said Sony is focused on loaning kits, rather than collecting fees. “They are handing them out like candy,” he said.

Additionally, Develop revealed Sony will begin hosting quarterly indie developer events at its London offices this year, which will be open to the entire development community.

Meanwhile, Brian Provinciano, developer of Retro City Rampage, told Engadget Microsoft’s shift in policy isn’t as black and white as it seems.

“I’m very happy to see this,” Provinciano said. “After all of the developers have spoken out, they’re finally listening. However, this is yet another example of them changing policy, but it sounding better than it is when the whole story is revealed.

“Make no mistake; while this is a great thing, it’s again not the equivalent to what other platforms offer. On PS4, for example, developers can tap right into the system; use every bit of RAM and all of its power. Indies have access to everything that the AAA studios do, from platform support to development and release.

“The indication on Xbox One is that it’s essentially [Xbox LIVE Indie Games] 2.0. Instead of XNA, it’s Windows 8. Windows 8, which is already struggling to gain developer interest, will gain a boost from developers wishing to target the console. However, it won’t be as full-fledged as published games on the system.”

Provinciano added that his bad experience porting Retro City Rampage to Xbox 360 led him to have no interest in purchasing an Xbox One, “let alone developing for it.”

“The policy changes are great, but they don’t undo the experience I had,” he said. “I’m not ready to forget what I went through. Working with Microsoft was the unhappiest point of my career. Policies are one thing, but developer relations are another.

“It’s important to me that consumers don’t see things as black and white. There are still strings attached to this policy change.”

Before officially announcing indie self-publishing, known NeoGAF insider CBOAT said Microsoft would allow indies only to self-publish on the Windows 8 store, and limit their RAM usage to three gigabytes. (Update: Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has said the “goal is to allow devs access to full pool of resources available, no indie RAM limit.”)

Microsoft is expected to further detail its indie policy at Gamescom next month.

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  • bloodiOS

    Of course things will never be black and white. In this world, we have more shades of colours than the eye can perceive. That said, I still think Sony should adopt the idea and turn each PS4 into a debug console. They’re doing great right now, but they can still be even better.

    • りんごタルト@エスカのアトリエ

      More inclined to this. However, don’t you think turning any of these retail consoles into dev kits will compromise their security? Like what happened to the PS3 a few years ago?

      • Zackasaur


      • bloodiOS

        Perhaps, but it would be more convinient to the indie devs that way. Beside, nowadays, a console being hacked is only a matter of time.

      • Prungy

        Pretty sure the PS3 only got hacked to restore the Other OS functionality that Sony patched out fearing it might compromise the system.

        Anyway, console makers may have closed the door to indie devs in the past, but now indies can freely develop for PC and smartphone and self publish. They don’t need consoles, and Sony is starting to realize that if they close their system to developers that the game industry will move on without them.

  • shogunknight

    Wasnt ps3s dev kit about $20k? the difference is huge, and its great Sony gives devs the kit for a year loan. We dont know the additional cost Microsoft would add to theirs but their own is pretty much going to be lower than ps4. I have a feeling MS is not doing this for X1 but primarily to get them apps on Windows8. In time we will see, for now both offers are brilliant

    • bloodiOS

      Last time I checked, the price dropped, it’s only ~$2K nowadays.

  • Bob Obb

    Nice. I think indie is the future and I’m glad Sony’s being proactive about it. A lot of the stuff in the 360’s indie/xbla section is better than the crap that fills store shelves.

  • Lelouch Vi Britannia

    SKipping Xbox One next gen.

    • Zackasaur

      Good call.

  • Zackasaur

    Microsoft never changes, fundamentally. They just put some paint over the rust until it seeps through again.

  • gerald

    All these 180s by MS are too little too late for many people who’ve lost trust in them or simply see PS4 as the stronger “gamer’s console”.

    Sounds like indie devs feel the same.

  • miyamoto

    Damage Control again.

    Xbone aping the PS4 ….again and again. I believe it when it actually happens. But I feel its another empty promise by MS.

  • MadFerret9

    Maybe this is a dumb question.. why is there a price at all on the development kit?